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The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act

We use oil and natural gas to heat and cool our homes and businesses, produce electricity, transport commercial products, travel to work or recreation, and provide the feedstock for many other commodities. These materials are essential to our economy and to our way of life. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) works to protect people and the environment from risks associated with the transportation of hazardous materials by developing regulations, taking rigorous enforcement actions, collaborating with stakeholders, and educating emergency responders and the public. The FAST Act seeks to improve PHMSA's ability to oversee the safe and efficient transportation of hazardous materials.

Below are highlights of the PHMSA priority issues from the FAST Act:

Improves the Effectiveness of the Hazardous Materials Grant Programs: The FAST Act streamlines and seeks to maximize the impact of grants for emergency responders, hazardous materials professional and local communities. The Act makes several changes to the grant programs to promote greater accountability and give grantees more flexibility in administrating grants that help emergency responders prepare for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials.

The Act also creates a new competitive grant program - Community Safety Grants - to allow nonprofit organizations to provide outreach and training programs to help communities prepare for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials, and providing training for State and local hazardous materials professionals who enforce hazardous materials safety regulations.

Improves Emergency Preparedness and Response: The FAST Act clarifies the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) authority to facilitate the movement of essential hazardous material during national emergencies and disasters and will improve the government's ability to carry out emergency response and relief efforts.

Improves the Safe Transportation of Flammable Liquids by Rail: The FAST Act requires that all tank cars used to transport crude oil and other hazardous liquids meet the new, safer tank car specifications outlined in DOT's High Hazard Flammable Train Final Rule to strengthen the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail, regardless of train composition. The Act would require that an estimated additional 40,000 tank cars be retrofitted to meet the new DOT-117, DOT-117P or DOT-117R specifications outlined in DOT's final rule, and establishes a new timeline to phase-out tank cars that do not met the new specifications.

For more information, go to: https://www.transportation.gov/fastact.

Updated: Thursday, October 26, 2017