[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 247 (Tuesday, December 24, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 77601-77603]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-30807]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration

49 CFR Part 225

[FRA-2008-0136, Notice No. 6]
RIN 2130-ZA12


Adjustment of Monetary Threshold for Reporting Rail Equipment 
Accidents/Incidents for Calendar Year 2014

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule increases the rail equipment accident/incident 
reporting threshold from $9,900 to $10,500 for certain railroad 
accidents/incidents involving property damage that occur during 
calendar year 2014. This action is needed to ensure that FRA's 
reporting requirements reflect cost increases that have occurred since 
the reporting threshold was last published in November of 2012.

DATES: This regulation is effective January 1, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kebo Chen, Staff Director, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office 
of Safety Analysis, RRS-22, Mail Stop 25, West Building 3rd Floor, Room 
W33-314, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-
493-6079); or Gahan Christenson, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Chief 
Counsel, RCC-10, Mail Stop 10, West Building 3rd Floor, Room W31-204, 
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-
1381).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    A ``rail equipment accident/incident'' is a collision, derailment, 
fire, explosion, act of God, or other event involving the operation of 
railroad on-track equipment (standing or moving) that results in 
damages to railroad on-track equipment, signals, tracks, track 
structures, or roadbed, including labor costs and the costs for 
acquiring new equipment and material, greater than the reporting 
threshold for the year in which the event occurs. 49 CFR 225.19(c). 
Each rail equipment accident/incident must be reported to FRA using the 
Rail Equipment Accident/Incident Report (Form FRA F 6180.54). 49 CFR 
225.19(b), (c) and 225.21(a). Paragraphs (c) and (e) of 49 CFR 225.19 
further provide that the dollar figure that constitutes the reporting 
threshold for rail equipment accidents/incidents will be adjusted, if 
necessary, every year in accordance with the procedures outlined in 
appendix B to part 225 (Appendix B) to reflect any cost increases or 
decreases.
    Aside from periodically reviewing and adjusting the annual 
threshold in accordance with Appendix B, FRA has also periodically 
amended its method for calculating the threshold. In 49 U.S.C. 20901(b) 
Congress required that the threshold be based on publicly available 
information obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), other 
objective government source, or be subject to notice and comment. In 
1996 FRA adopted a new method for calculating the monetary reporting 
threshold for accidents/incidents. See 61 FR 60632 (Nov. 29, 1996). In 
2005, FRA again amended its method for calculating the reporting 
threshold because the BLS ceased collecting and publishing the railroad 
wage data used by FRA in the threshold calculation. Consequently, FRA 
had to substitute railroad employee wage data collected by the Surface 
Transportation Board for the BLS data that was no longer collected (70 
FR 75414 (Dec. 20, 2005)).
    In this rule, FRA is merely adjusting the reporting threshold based 
on the currently published formula in Appendix B. Following the 
adoption of this 2014 reporting threshold, FRA intends to evaluate and 
amend, as appropriate, its method for calculating the monetary 
threshold for accident/incident reporting and, as a result, the formula 
utilized to calculate the threshold may change. FRA intends to 
reexamine and amend its method for calculating its reporting threshold 
because, since 2006, new data sources and methodologies for calculating 
the threshold have become available and updating the formula to include 
these advances will ensure it appropriately reflects changes in costs, 
wages, and inflation.

New Reporting Threshold

    Approximately one year has passed since the rail equipment 
accident/incident reporting threshold was revised. 77 FR 71354 
(November 30, 2012). Consequently, FRA has recalculated the threshold, 
as required by 49 CFR 225.19(c), based on increased costs for labor and 
increased costs for equipment. FRA has determined that the current 
reporting threshold of $9,900, which applies to rail equipment 
accidents/incidents that occur during calendar year 2013, should 
increase by $600 to $10,500 for equipment accidents/incidents occurring 
during calendar year 2014, effective January 1, 2014. The specific 
inputs to the equation set forth in Appendix B (i.e., Tnew = Tprior * 
[1 + 0.4(Wnew--Wprior)/Wprior + 0.6(Enew--Eprior)/100]) are:

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        Tprior                  Wnew                  Wprior                  Enew                 Eprior
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           $9,900              $26.93344              $25.56943              197.23333              191.50000
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[[Page 77602]]

Where:
Tnew = New threshold; Tprior = Prior threshold (with reference to 
the threshold, ``prior'' refers to the previous threshold rounded to 
the nearest $100, as reported in the Federal Register); Wnew = New 
average hourly wage rate, in dollars; Wprior = Prior average hourly 
wage rate, in dollars; Enew = New equipment average Producer Price 
Index (PPI) value; Eprior = Prior equipment average PPI value. Using 
the above figures, the calculated new threshold, (Tnew) is 
$10,451.83, which is rounded to the nearest $100 for a final new 
reporting threshold of $10,500.\1\
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    \1\ On June 12, 2013, Union Pacific Railroad Company filed a 
revised 2nd Quarterly Report of Wage A&B Data (Form A Wage 
Statistics Summary--0100) for 2012 with the Surface Transportation 
Board, following the publication of the 2013 threshold. Based upon 
the revised data, the 2013 threshold would have been $10,000 (Tnew = 
9500*(1+0.4*(26.10-24.93)/24.93+0.6*(191.5-186.37)/100.00) = 
9970.76) . The current method for calculating the current threshold 
requires using the prior threshold as published in the Federal 
Register. Even though the corrected threshold for 2013 would have 
been higher at $10,000, leading to a higher Tprior in the 
calculation for 2014, the end result for 2014 is still $10,500 using 
the current formula.
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Notice and Comment Procedures

    In this rule, FRA has recalculated the monetary reporting threshold 
based on the formula discussed in detail and adopted, after notice and 
comment, in the final rule published December 20, 2005, 70 FR 75414. 
FRA has found that both the current cost data inserted into this pre-
existing formula and the original cost data that they replace were 
obtained from reliable Federal government sources. FRA has found that 
this rule imposes no additional burden on any person, but rather is 
intended to provide a benefit by permitting the valid comparison of 
accident data over time. Accordingly, finding that notice and comment 
procedures are either impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the 
public interest, FRA is proceeding directly to the final rule.
    FRA regularly recalculates the monetary reporting threshold using 
the formula published in Appendix B near the end of each calendar year. 
Therefore, any person affected by this rule should anticipate the on-
going adjustment of the threshold and has reasonable time to make any 
minor changes necessary to come into compliance with the reporting 
requirements. FRA attempts to use the most recent data available to 
calculate the updated reporting threshold prior to the next calendar 
year. FRA has found that issuing the rule no later than December of 
each calendar year and making the rule effective on January 1, of the 
next year, allows FRA to use the most up-to-date data when calculating 
the reporting threshold and to compile data that accurately reflects 
rising wages and equipment costs. As such, FRA finds that it has good 
cause to make this final rule effective January 1, 2014.

Regulatory Impact

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and DOT Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures

    This rule has been evaluated in accordance with existing policies 
and procedures, and determined to be non-significant under both 
Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 in addition to DOT policies and 
procedures (44 FR 11034 (Feb. 26, 1979)).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601-612) requires 
a review of proposed and final rules to assess their impact on small 
entities, unless the Secretary certifies that the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Pursuant to Section 312 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), FRA has issued a final policy 
statement that formally establishes ``small entities'' as including 
railroads that meet the line-haulage revenue requirements of a Class 
III railroad. 49 CFR part 209, app. C. For other entities, the same 
dollar limit in revenues governs whether a railroad, contractor, or 
other respondent is a small entity. Id.
    About 738 of the approximately 782 railroads in the United States 
are considered small entities by FRA. FRA certifies that this final 
rule will have no significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities. To the extent that this rule has any impact on small 
entities, the impact will be neutral or insignificant. The frequency of 
rail equipment accidents/incidents, and therefore also the frequency of 
required reporting, is generally proportional to the size of the 
railroad. A railroad that employs thousands of employees and operates 
trains millions of miles is exposed to greater risks than one whose 
operation is substantially smaller. Small railroads may go for months 
at a time without having a reportable occurrence of any type, and even 
longer without having a rail equipment accident/incident. For example, 
current FRA data indicate that 2,482 rail equipment accidents/incidents 
were reported in 2008, with small railroads reporting 334 of them. Data 
for 2009 show that 1,911 rail equipment accidents/incidents were 
reported, with small railroads reporting 325 of them. In 2010, 1,904 
rail equipment accidents/incidents were reported, and small railroads 
reported 304 of them. In 2011, 2,023 rail equipment accidents/incidents 
were reported, with small railroads reporting 308 of them. In 2012, 
1,742 rail equipment accidents/incidents were reported, with small 
railroads reporting 288 of them. On average over those five calendar 
years, small railroads reported about 15.5% of the total number of rail 
equipment accidents/incidents, ranging from 13% to 17% annually. FRA 
notes that these data are accurate as of the date of issuance of this 
final rule, and are subject to minor changes due to additional 
reporting. Absent this rulemaking (i.e., any increase in the monetary 
reporting threshold), the number of reportable accidents/incidents 
would increase, as keeping the 2013 threshold in place would not allow 
it to keep pace with the increasing dollar amounts of wages and rail 
equipment repair costs. Therefore, this rule will be neutral in effect. 
Increasing the reporting threshold will slightly decrease the 
recordkeeping burden for railroads over time. Any recordkeeping burden 
will not be significant and will affect the large railroads more than 
the small entities, due to the higher proportion of reportable rail 
equipment accidents/incidents experienced by large entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    There are no new information collection requirements associated 
with this final rule. Therefore, no estimate of a public reporting 
burden is required.

Federalism Implications

    Executive Order 13132, entitled, ``Federalism,'' signed on August 
4, 1999, requires that each agency ``in a separately identified portion 
of the preamble to the regulation as it is to be issued in the Federal 
Register, provide[] to the Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget a federalism summary impact statement, which consists of a 
description of the extent of the agency's prior consultation with State 
and local officials, a summary of the nature of their concerns and the 
agency's position supporting the need to issue the regulation, and a 
statement of the extent to which the concerns of the State and local 
officials have been met.'' This rulemaking action has been analyzed in 
accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive 
Order 13132. This rule will not have a substantial direct effect on 
States, on the relationship between the National Government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and the responsibilities among 
the various

[[Page 77603]]

levels of government, as specified in the Executive Order 13132. 
Accordingly, FRA has determined that this rule will not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant consultation with State and local 
officials or the preparation of a federalism assessment. Accordingly, a 
federalism assessment has not been prepared.

Environmental Impact

    FRA has evaluated this regulation in accordance with its 
``Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts'' (FRA's Procedures) 
(64 FR 28545 (May 26, 1999)) as required by the National Environmental 
Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), other environmental statutes, 
Executive Orders, and related regulatory requirements. FRA has 
determined that this regulation is not a major FRA action (requiring 
the preparation of an environmental impact statement or environmental 
assessment) because it is categorically excluded from detailed 
environmental review pursuant to section 4(c)(20) of FRA's Procedures. 
64 FR 28545, 28547 (May 26, 1999). In accordance with section 4(c) and 
(e) of FRA's Procedures, the agency has further concluded that no 
extraordinary circumstances exist with respect to this regulation that 
might trigger the need for a more detailed environmental review. As a 
result, FRA finds that this regulation is not a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Pursuant to Section 201 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Pub. L. 104-4, 2 U.S.C. 1531), each Federal agency ``shall, unless 
otherwise prohibited by law, assess the effects of Federal regulatory 
actions on State, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector 
(other than to the extent that such regulations incorporate 
requirements specifically set forth in law).'' Section 202 of the Act 
(2 U.S.C. 1532) further requires that ``before promulgating any general 
notice of proposed rulemaking that is likely to result in the 
promulgation of any rule that includes any Federal mandate that may 
result in expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or by the private sector, of [$143,100,000 or more (as 
adjusted for inflation)] in any one year, and before promulgating any 
final rule for which a general notice of proposed rulemaking was 
published, the agency shall prepare a written statement'' detailing the 
effect on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. 
The final rule will not result in the expenditure, in the aggregate, of 
$143,100,000 or more in any one year, and thus preparation of such a 
statement is not required.

Energy Impact

    Executive Order 13211 requires Federal agencies to prepare a 
Statement of Energy Effects for any ``significant energy action.'' 66 
FR 28355 (May 22, 2001). Under the Executive Order, a ``significant 
energy action'' is defined as any action by an agency (normally 
published in the Federal Register) that promulgates or is expected to 
lead to the promulgation of a final rule or regulation, including 
notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices 
of proposed rulemaking: that (1)(i) is a significant regulatory action 
under Executive Order 12866 or any successor order, and (ii) is likely 
to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or 
use of energy; or (2) that is designated by the Administrator of the 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy 
action. FRA has evaluated this final rule in accordance with Executive 
Order 13211. FRA has determined that this final rule is not likely to 
have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 
of energy. Consequently, FRA has determined that this regulatory action 
is not a ``significant energy action'' within the meaning of Executive 
Order 13211.

Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all our comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). See http://www.regulations.gov/#!privacyNotice for the privacy notice of 
regulations.gov or interested parties may review DOT's complete Privacy 
Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 
FR 19477).

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 225

    Investigations, Penalties, Railroad safety, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

The Rule

    In consideration of the foregoing, FRA amends part 225 of chapter 
II, subtitle B of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

PART 225-[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 225 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 103, 322(a), 20103, 20107, 20901-20902, 
21301, 21302, 21311; 28 U.S.C. 2461, note; and 49 CFR 1.89.


0
2. Amend Sec.  225.19 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (c) 
and revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  225.19  Primary groups of accidents/incidents.

* * * * *
    (c) Group II--Rail equipment. Rail equipment accidents/incidents 
are collisions, derailments, fires, explosions, acts of God, and other 
events involving the operation of on-track equipment (standing or 
moving) that result in damages higher than the current reporting 
threshold (i.e., $6,700 for calendar years 2002 through 2005, $7,700 
for calendar year 2006, $8,200 for calendar year 2007, $8,500 for 
calendar year 2008, $8,900 for calendar year 2009, $9,200 for calendar 
year 2010, $9,400 for calendar year 2011, $9,500 for calendar year 
2012, $9,900 for calendar year 2013, and $10,500 for calendar year 
2014) to railroad on-track equipment, signals, tracks, track 
structures, or roadbed, including labor costs and the costs for 
acquiring new equipment and material. * * *
* * * * *
    (e) The reporting threshold is $6,700 for calendar years 2002 
through 2005, $7,700 for calendar year 2006, $8,200 for calendar year 
2007, $8,500 for calendar year 2008, $8,900 for calendar year 2009, 
$9,200 for calendar year 2010, $9,400 for calendar year 2011, $9,500 
for calendar year 2012, $9,900 for calendar year 2013, and $10,500 for 
calendar year 2014. The procedure for determining the reporting 
threshold for calendar years 2006 and beyond appears as paragraphs 1-8 
of appendix B to part 225.
* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 20, 2013.
Karen J. Hedlund,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-30807 Filed 12-23-13; 8:45 am]
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