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Committee Approves Two Rail Data Security Bills at Full Committee Markup

Washington, D.C., February 14, 2018 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Washington, DC – This morning, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved its views and estimates for the fiscal year 2019 budget, as well as two important railroad data and information security bills. 

Under current law and House rules, standing committees are required to submit their views and estimates to the Committee on the Budget identifying the legislative priorities for that committee. The Committee approved its views and estimates by voice vote.

“The views and estimates reflect the Committee’s belief that the federal government has a fundamental responsibility to make investments in transportation infrastructure to ensure the safe and efficient movement of people and goods, increase economic growth, and promote the Nation’s general welfare,” said Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA)

The views and estimates can be read here.

The two bipartisan railroad data and information security bills considered today were H.R. 4921, the “STB Information Security Act,” and H.R. 4925, the “FRA Safety Data Improvement Act.” Both pieces of legislation were approved by voice vote.   A technical amendment to H.R. 4921 was also approved.

H.R. 4921 is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI).  This legislation would direct the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to implement an improvement plan for its information security system, as recommended by the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General (DOT IG).

H.R. 4925 is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). This legislation would ensure greater accuracy and quality of safety data collected and reported by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The bill instructs FRA to develop a plan and timeline to implement DOT IG recommendations to improve the management and collection of railroad safety data. 

“The bipartisan bills passed out of Committee today will address cybersecurity challenges facing our rail systems, help Federal agencies better prepare for changing technology threats, and fill gaps in tracking, identifying, and mitigating rail safety risks. I commend Representatives Gottheimer and Mitchell for these bipartisan rail bills,” said Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR).

“I am pleased that today the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced two bipartisan bills that can now head to the full House of Representatives for a vote: my bill, the STB Information Security Improvement Act, and a bill from my colleague Josh Gottheimer, the FRA Safety Data Act. Both of these bills are simple, straightforward measures that solve serious problems.” said Congressman Mitchell. “Companies and individuals from across the Nation interact with and report to the STB and need to be assured their proprietary information is not at risk, and the STB Information Security Improvement Act makes the STB update their currently inadequate data security practices. The FRA Safety Data Act will ensure that when rail accidents and problems occur, there is a standardized way information can be reported to regulators and policy makers so they can act on it.”

“As we saw in Hughson, California this week, it’s critical FRA update accident reporting requirements and better train their staff.  Safety is a bipartisan issue and I will continue to work with my colleagues to provide for strong safety measures,” said Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA). 

“Today’s bills require the Surface Transportation Board to implement a number of cybersecurity recommendations from the Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Railroad Administration to implement recommendations to improve FRA safety data management and reporting.  The Surface Transportation Board and Federal Railroad Administration should act quickly to fully implement these recommendations,” Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Capuano (D-MA).  

More information from today’s markup and the approved legislation can be found here.

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