The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is not putting much stock into the House of Representative’s five-year, $494 billion Investing in a New Vision for the Environmental and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act.
“The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee continued down the unfortunate path of divisive policy rather than choosing common sense, pragmatic solutions to fund the nation’s public infrastructure,” AAR said in a statement. “Freight railroads are extremely disappointed in the deeply partisan, backward-looking rail title of the bill. If enacted, this legislation would undermine the ongoing modernization of the rail industry through outdated operational restrictions and capacity constraints, weakening the industry’s ability to serve its customers and the economy.”
A hot issue in the rail industry is the safe movement of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in tank cars. The INVEST in America Act contains an effective prohibition of the safe movement of LNG by rail, and AAR points out that the U.S. DOT has ongoing rulemaking on the issue and has completed a real-world tank car test, in addition to more research on the transportation of the LNG by rail that is being undertaken pursuant to the FY 2020 appropriations bill.
AAR also believes sections on Private Right of Action and Yardmaster Hours of Service are not necessary.
The INVEST in America Act also has a 10-minute Blocked Crossing Standard, which AAR believes is skewed because each of the nation’s 200,000 grade crossings are different. AAR also does not like language in the measure dealing with a two-crew mandate and the section on Effective Prohibition on Certain Crew Operations, stating that the effective prohibition on the limited ability of certain Mexican train crews to continue to operate safely in the U.S. will decrease safety and security of operations, among other things.