Hazardous Materials: FAST Act Insurance and Liability Study; Request for Comments
Notice and request for comments.
On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed legislation entitled, ``Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015'' (the FAST Act). The FAST Act includes the ``Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2015'' in Sections 7001 through 7311, which provides direction for PHMSA's hazardous materials safety program. Section 7310 of the FAST Act requires the Secretary of Transportation to initiate a study of the levels and structure of insurance for railroad carriers transporting hazardous materials, which must be initiated within four months of the enactment of the FAST Act. Within a year of initiation, the Secretary must submit a report with the results of the study and recommendations for addressing liability issues with rail transportation of hazmat to Congress. PHMSA initiated this insurance study in March 2016 and is on schedule to complete it by April 2017. Specifically, PHMSA entered into an inter-agency agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Research and Technology's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to conduct the study, which is required to examine current and future levels and mechanisms to insure rail carriers transporting all hazardous materials. The study will evaluate the following: (1) The level and structure of insurance, including self-insurance, available in the private market against the full liability potential for damages arising from an accident or incident involving a train transporting hazardous materials; (2) The level and structure of insurance necessary and appropriate to efficiently allocate risk and financial responsibility for claims; and to ensure that a railroad carrier transporting hazardous materials can continue to operate despite the risk of an accident or incident; and (3) The potential applicability for a train transporting hazardous materials, of an alternative insurance model, including a secondary liability coverage pool or pools to supplement commercial insurance; and other models administered by the Federal Government.
81 FR 48885