FRA Extends Public Comment Period By 60 Days for Interim Final Rule on the Use of Locomotive Horns
Friday, February 13, 2004 (Washington, DC) The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced that it has extended the public comment period on the agency’s Interim Final Rule on the Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Crossings by sixty days. Comments on the proceeding may be submitted until April 19, 2004.
FRA Administrator Allan Rutter said, “We believe it’s important to provide communities more time to share with FRA their views about the new Train Horn Rule, which the Administration believes will improve the quality of life for residents throughout the country.”
The Interim Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 18, 2003. Under that notice, the public comment period for the rule was to conclude on Feb. 17. FRA received several requests for an extension of the comment period from members of Congress as well as other interested parties.
The extension announced today will allow interested communities, groups and citizens additional time to review the rule and submit written comments to the official docket for the proceeding. Comments may be submitted by mail or the U.S. Department of Transportation online Docket Management System (DMS) website at http://dms.dot.gov. The docket number for the proceeding is 6439.
A public hearing on the interim final rule was held in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 4. The FRA does not plan to hold another formal public hearing on the rule, but encourages interested parties submit comments to the public docket.
Under the rule, local governments will have the first-ever opportunity to establish quiet zones at designated public highway-rail crossings, of which there are approximately 150,000 nationwide. The rule will take effect on Dec.18, 2004, one year following the date of its publication. Communities and jurisdictions with existing whistle bans will have at least five years and perhaps as many as eight years, to undertake any safety upgrades required under the rule. During this time period, train horns will remain silent in these communities.
The Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994 requires that locomotive horns be sounded on approach to and while traveling across public highway-rail crossings, except under specified conditions. More information about the Interim Final Rule is available at www.fra.dot.gov.