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(Source: Federal Railroad Administration press release, December 7, 2023)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is proud to announce its proposal to advance a freight rail safety provision of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) amending the Freight Car Safety Standards (FCSS). This proposed amendment, on which FRA is seeking public comment, aims to further enhance the safety and security of the U.S. freight rail industry by introducing crucial restrictions on newly built freight cars placed into service within the U.S.

The infrastructure law requires specific measures to ensure the integrity and security of freight cars operating within the U.S. These measures limit the use of sensitive technology or components that originate from a country of concern (COC) or are sourced from a state-owned enterprise (SOE).

The BIL, signed into law November 15, 2021, places great importance on strengthening the nation’s rail equipment infrastructure and safeguarding it against potential vulnerabilities. BIL provides safety and security standards aimed at preventing the exploitation of freight cars for illicit purposes and the potential compromise of sensitive technologies within the industry.

FRA is committed to ensuring strict compliance with these new safety and security standards. As such, FRA has proposed amendments to the FCSS that will facilitate the implementation of these requirements by establishing a robust framework for monitoring and enforcing industry compliance.

The proposed amendments will serve as a comprehensive regulatory mechanism to support BIL’s objectives. The proposed regulations would require manufacturers to document the source of materials used in newly built freight cars and establish auditable procurement processes that avoid using materials originating from COCs or SOEs. The proposal would also implement stringent controls to prevent the use of sensitive technology that could compromise national security.

FRA Administrator Amit Bose expressed his commitment to progressing the safety initiatives of BIL, stating, “The safety and security of our nation’s freight rail system are paramount. By amending the Freight Car Safety Standards in accordance with BIL section 22425, we are taking a significant step forward in ensuring that our rail infrastructure remains resilient and safe for the transportation of vital goods and commodities.”

Further information on the proposed amendments to the Freight Car Safety Standards is published in the Federal Register here.