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HB24-1030

Railroad Safety Requirements

Concerning railroad safety, and, in connection therewith, limiting the maximum length of a train operating in the state, requiring certain railroads to use wayside detector systems, limiting the amount of time a train may obstruct public travel at certain crossings, authorizing a crew member's designated union representative to investigate certain reported incidents, authorizing the public utilities commission to impose fines for certain violations, requiring fine revenue to be paid to the front range passenger rail district for the purposes of maintaining and improving the safety of a front range passenger rail system, and requiring certain railroads to carry insurance coverage in minimum amounts.
Session:
2024 Regular Session
Subject:
Transportation & Motor Vehicles
Bill Summary

Transportation Legislation Review Committee. The bill imposes safety requirements on railroads operating trains in the state. The bill specifies that:

  • The length of a train must not exceed 8,500 feet;
  • With certain exceptions, railroads must operate, maintain, and report the location of wayside detector systems. A wayside detector is an electronic device or a series of devices that monitors passing trains for defects.
  • A train may not obstruct a public crossing for longer than 10 minutes unless the train is continuously moving or is prevented from moving by circumstances beyond the railroad's control;
  • Any crew member of a train may report to the crew member's designated union representative a safety violation, injury, or death that occurred during the operation of a train. After receiving a report of a violation, a designated union representative may enter a railroad's place of operation to investigate the report during reasonable hours and after notifying the railroad.
  • The public utilities commission (PUC) may impose fines for the violation of these safety requirements or for denying a union representative's access to the railroad's place of operation. The bill requires the PUC to develop guidelines for determining, imposing, and appealing fines.

The bill also creates the front range passenger rail district maintenance and safety fund (fund), which consists of money collected as fines imposed by the PUC. The fund is continuously appropriated to the state treasurer for the purpose of issuing warrants from the fund to the front range passenger rail district for safety planning and development during the research, development, and construction of a passenger rail system; maintaining a passenger rail system; and completing capital development projects to improve the safety of a passenger rail system.

The bill requires that on or before July 1, 2025, and at least once every 3 years thereafter, each railroad offer training to each fire department having jurisdiction along tracks upon which the railroad operates in the state.

The bill requires railroads that transport hazardous material in Colorado to maintain insurance coverage that is adequate to cover costs and liabilities resulting from accidents. The PUC is required to promulgate rules establishing minimum coverage amounts.


(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)

Status

Introduced
Under Consideration

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