Jurisdiction » Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines & Hazardous Materials

The Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials has jurisdiction over the economic and safety regulation of railroads and the agencies that administer those regulations.  Economic regulation is administered by the three-member Surface Transportation Board (STB).  This independent agency also has the authority to address national emergencies as they affect the nation’s rail transportation system. 

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is responsible for administering railroad safety laws, railroad infrastructure and development programs, possesses responsibilities relevant to homeland security, and has federal oversight of Amtrak.

Amtrak is the nation’s major provider of intercity passenger rail service.  Also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak was established by law in 1970, required to assume the responsibility for the money-losing passenger services of the private sector railroads in the United States.  The Subcommittee continues to oversee efforts to increase efficiency and accountability in Amtrak’s operations.

The Subcommittee also has jurisdiction over the railroad retirement and unemployment systems, as well as rail labor relations.

The transportation of hazardous materials and the issue of pipeline safety also fall under the scope of the subcommittee.

Issues and agencies under the jurisdiction of the Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee include:

  • Economic regulation of railroads
  • Surface Transportation Board (STB)
  • Railroad safety, including safety practices, equipment, and reporting
  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
  • Railroad development programs, such as high-speed rail, state-supported intercity passenger rail, and research and development
  • Rail infrastructure programs, including those financed through grants, loans and loan guarantees
  • Rail security
  • Amtrak
  • Railroad retirement (regarding the benefit aspects) and unemployment
  • Railroad Retirement Board, which administers the retirement and unemployment programs unique to railroads
  • Railway Labor Act
  • The National Mediation Board, which administer the Railway Labor Act
  • Hazardous materials transportation
  • Pipeline transportation safety
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
For a more complete description of the Subcommittee's jurisdiction, click here to link to the official Jurisdiction and Activities document for the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials as approved by the full Committee at the beginning of the 112th Congress.

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