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FRA Is Nearing Completion of Rules Required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act, but Needs to Improve Oversight

Requested By
Self-Initiated
Project ID
CR2013070
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On April 17, 2013, we issued a report on the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA)  progress in implementing the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA). Congress passed RSIA in response to several high profile accidents between 2002 and 2008. RSIA requires FRA to undertake several wide-ranging tasks that broaden its safety responsibilities. Among these new responsibilities are requirements that the Agency issue 17 rules to improve railroad safety. We found that FRA has issued 8 of the 17 RSIA-required rules and has made progress on finalizing the remaining 9. However, weaknesses in FRA’s planning for its rulemaking work delayed rule issuance. We also found that FRA did not provide its oversight staff with the guidance, training, and supervision required to oversee compliance with certain RSIA rules. We made six recommendations to improve FRA’s rulemaking process and strengthen the Agency’s oversight of railroad safety. FRA concurred or partially concurred with all six recommendations.