FRA recharters RSAC for two years

Nov. 22, 2021
The safety-focused advisory committee returns with new vote members FRA says will increase the diversity of perspectives.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has renewed the charter of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) for a two-year period. RSAC includes industry representatives from stakeholder groups, including freight and passenger rail, transit, contracting, labor, supplier and manufacturing entities. RSAC was first formed in 1996 as a forum in which federal officials and the rail industry could collaborate through the rulemaking process and program development.

“This Railroad Safety Advisory Committee plays an important role helping the FRA improve the safety of passengers and workers throughout our rail industry,” said FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose. “The steps we are taking today to renew the committee’s charter and expand its membership will help [US]DOT address key railroad safety challenges in the years ahead.

RSAC’s voting members will increase from 34 to 51 and will include 26 organizations, which is an increase from the previous 23. FRA says the additional voting members and increase in organizations will improve RSAC’s “ability to provide inclusive and balanced recommendations to FRA on key rail safety matters.” The three new represented organizations are the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners, Association of State Rail Safety Managers, both previous members of RSAC and the Commuter Rail Coalition (CRC).

In addition to the three additional organizations mentioned, the remaining stakeholder organizations involved with RSAC include:

  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • American Chemistry Council
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • American Public Transportation Association
  • American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
  • American Train Dispatchers Association
  • Association of American Railroads
  • Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
  • Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division
  • Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
  • The Chlorine Institute
  • The Fertilizer Institute
  • HeritageRail Alliance
  • Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME)
  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • National Conference of Firemen & Oilers
  • National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC)
  • Rail Passengers Association
  • Railway Supply Institute (RSI)
  • SMART Transportation
  • Transportation Communications International Union/BRC
  • Transportation Workers Union of America

RSAC establishes expert working groups, with a balanced representation of perspectives, to generate advice and recommendations for the FRA administrator regarding the development and revision of railroad safety regulations, as well as the identification of non-regulatory alternatives for improvement of railroad safety. In its history, RSAC has addressed 58 tasks and conducted almost 600 full committee, working group and task force meetings on critical issues such as: passenger equipment safety; locomotive engineer and conductor certification; risk reduction and system safety programs; track safety standards; and positive train control.

FRA explains the recharter of RSAC will be similar to the one in effect prior to May 2018 and will restore RSAC membership numbers to its previous level and remove the cap on membership limits in working groups. FRA expects this action to build upon the legacy of accomplishments in issuing consensus-based rulemakings to ensure a safe rail transportation system and advance rail safety.

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