299.15 Special approvals.§ 299.15 Special approvals.
(a) General. The following procedures govern consideration and action upon requests for special approval of alternative standards to this part.
(b) Petitions for special approval of alternative standard. Each petition for special approval of an alternative standard shall contain -
(1) The name, title, address, and telephone number of the primary person to be contacted with regard to review of the petition;
(2) The alternative proposed, in detail, to be substituted for the particular requirements of this part; and
(3) Appropriate data or analysis, or both, establishing that the alternative will provide at least an equivalent level of safety.
(c) Petitions for special approval of alternative compliance. Each petition for special approval of alternative compliance shall contain -
(1) The name, title, address, and telephone number of the primary person to be contacted with regard to the petition;
(2) High-speed core systems and system components of special design shall be deemed to comply with this part, if the FRA Associate Administrator determines under paragraph (d) of this section that the core system or system components provide at least an equivalent level of safety in the environment defined within § 299.13 with respect to the protection of railroad employees and the public. In making a determination under paragraph (d) of this section the Associate Administrator shall consider, as a whole, all of those elements of casualty prevention or mitigation relevant to the integrity of the core system or components that are addressed by the requirements of this part.
(d) Petition contents. The Associate Administrator may only make a finding of equivalent safety and compliance with this part, based upon a submission of data and analysis sufficient to support that determination. The petition shall include -
(1) The information required by § 299.15(b) or (c), as appropriate; Information, including detailed drawings and materials specifications, sufficient to describe the actual construction and function of the core systems or system components of special design;
(2) A quantitative risk assessment, incorporating the design information and engineering analysis described in this paragraph, demonstrating that the core systems or system components, as utilized in the service environment defined in § 299.13, presents no greater hazard of serious personal injury than existing core system or system components that conform to the specific requirements of this part.
(e) Federal Register notice. FRA will publish a notice in the Federal Register concerning each petition under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.
(f) Comment. Not later than 30 days from the date of publication of the notice in the Federal Register concerning a petition under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, any person may comment on the petition.
(1) Each comment shall set forth specifically the basis upon which it is made, and contain a concise statement of the interest of the commenter in the proceeding.
(2) Each comment shall be submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations (M-30), West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, and shall contain the assigned docket number for that proceeding. The form of such submission may be in written or electronic form consistent with the standards and requirements established by the Federal Docket Management System and posted on its website at http://www.regulations.gov.
(g) Disposition of petitions. (1) FRA will conduct a hearing on a petition in accordance with the procedures provided in § 211.25 of this chapter.
(2) If FRA finds that the petition complies with the requirements of this section or that the proposed plan is acceptable the petition will be granted, normally within 90 days of its receipt. If the petition is neither granted nor denied within 90 days, the petition remains pending for decision. FRA may attach special conditions to the approval of the petition. Following the approval of a petition, FRA may reopen consideration of the petition for cause stated.
(3) If FRA finds that the petition does not comply with the requirements of this section, or that the proposed plan is not acceptable or that the proposed changes are not justified, or both, the petition will be denied, normally within 90 days of its receipt.
(4) When FRA grants or denies a petition, or reopens consideration of the petition, written notice is sent to the petitioner and other interested parties.