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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 28, 2017.
Railroad Advancement of Innovation and Leadership with Safety Act or the RAILS Act
This bill seeks to promote alternative approaches to railroad safety through self-regulation.
Specifically, the Department of Transportation (DOT) shall:
before proposing or adopting a rule, consider an approach that specifies performance objectives rather than identifies or requires the specific manner of compliance that a regulated entity must adopt; before issuing a proposed rule, publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking unless the proposed rule is not likely to result in a "significant rule" (i.e., a rule that has an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or meets other specified criteria); before issuing any proposed rule or final rule, conduct a regulatory impact analysis to evaluate the proposed rule or final rule; by June 1, 2019, and at least every five years thereafter, complete a comprehensive review of the regulations, orders, and guidance documents issued; and include, in each significant rule prescribed on or after December 31, 2017, a framework for assessing the rule's effects. DOT may waive compliance with any part of a regulation prescribed or order issued if the waiver: (1) is in the public interest; (2) requires the recipient to adopt an alternative technology, practice, or system that could achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than that which would be obtained in the absence of the waiver; and (3) includes a DOT-approved evaluation framework.