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18 CHAPTER 3 What Public Policies Can Affect the Freight Transportation System? Chapter 2 introduced the role of government at the Federal, The primary safety functions of the Federal Railroad Admin- state, and local level in funding, operating, and regulating the istration (FRA) are inspection procedures and standards for freight transportation system. Many government policies were equipment (cars and locomotives), track, and signals. These developed with the intent to directly affect freight carriers include standards to be met for different track speeds. In the or shippers. Although the magnitude of freight system effects past, Congress legislated some safety rules, such as requiring may be different than expected, and the policies may have that brakes be in operating condition, but most of these (except other unintended spillover effects, the primary cause-effect HOS) are now managed by FRA. Standards for materials and relationship for these policies is usually clear. Other govern- the design of equipment, track, and signals are set by an indus- ment policies affect the freight system more indirectly, in that try body for equipment (the Association of American Railroads the intent of the policy was not to cause a freight system effect. [AAR]) and by a professional association of engineers for track An example of such an indirect impact is the growth in rail- and signals (the American Railway Engineering and Mainte- road transport of Power River Basin coal resulting from the nance Association [AREMA]). HOS rules for train crews are, Clean Air Act. for the most part, set by Congress. In this section, the research team illustrates the many gov- Hazardous materials transport is the focus of much Federal ernment policies that have had or could have freight system policy debate, including the safety of hazmat transportation in effects. The research team has organized this review around general, liability costs to carriers, safety and security risks, and the following nine policy categories: community concerns over hazmat passing through localities. FAA sets safety policy for aircraft that can affect the air cargo Safety industry. Coast Guard safety rules affect barge operations. Security The states make decisions regarding highway speed lim- Land Use its (albeit they are constrained by Federal laws) and play an im- Environmental portant role enforcing size-and-weight rules for trucks, FMCSA Energy and Climate Change rules regarding truck operations, speed limits, and other reg- Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance ulations. State and local governments have recently been in- Infrastructure Investment volved in policy decisions affecting the use of locomotive horns Infrastructure Finance at grade crossings and funding for grade-crossing improve- Trade and Economic Regulation ments using Federal grants. Local governments may establish truck parking policies or other access restrictions in the name of improving pedestrian or vehicle safety. Table 3-1 lists exam- Safety Policy ples of safety policies that may affect the freight system. Safety is a broad area with significant policy-making roles for both the Federal government and states. Much of the reg- Security Policy ulatory decision making is at the Federal level. FMCSA, for example, sets safety rules for trucking, including the hours- Following the events of 9/11, the Federal government has of-service (HOS) rules for drivers and rules for electronic proposed and implemented new rules and regulations related on-board recorders. The National Highway Transportation to transportation security, some of which affect freight. Many Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets vehicle-design standards. of these policies focus on screening workers and restricting