49 CFR 1152.29 - Prospective use of rights-of-way for interim trail use and rail banking.

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§ 1152.29 Prospective use of rights-of-way for interim trail use and rail banking.
(a) If any state, political subdivision, or qualified private organization is interested in acquiring or using a right-of-way of a rail line proposed to be abandoned for interim trail use and rail banking pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1247(d), it must file a comment or otherwise include a request in its filing (in a regulated abandonment proceeding) or a petition (in an exemption proceeding) indicating that it would like to do so. The comment/request or petition must include:
(1) A map depicting, and an accurate description of, the right-of-way, or portion thereof (including mileposts), proposed to be acquired or used;
(2) A statement indicating the trail sponsor's willingness to assume full responsibility for:
(i) Managing the right-of-way;
(ii) Any legal liability arising out of the transfer or use of the right-of-way (unless the user is immune from liability, in which case it need only indemnify the railroad against any potential liability); and
(iii) The payment of any and all taxes that may be levied or assessed against the right-of-way; and
(3) An acknowledgment that interim trail use is subject to the sponsor's continuing to meet its responsibilities described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, and subject to possible future reconstruction and reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service. The statement must be in the following form:
Statement of Willingness To Assume Financial Responsibility
In order to establish interim trail use and rail banking under 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) and 49 CFR 1152.29 with respect to the right-of-way owned by ________ (Railroad) and operated by ________ (Railroad), ________ (Interim Trail Sponsor) is willing to assume full responsibility for: (1) Managing the right-of-way, (2) any legal liability arising out of the transfer or use of the right-of-way (unless the sponsor is immune from liability, in which case it need only indemnify the railroad against any potential liability), and (3) the payment of any and all taxes that may be levied or assessed against the right of way. The property, known as ________ (Name of Branch Line), extends from railroad milepost ________ near ________ (Station Name), to railroad milepost ______, near ________ (Station name), a distance of ______ miles in [County(ies), (State(s)]. The right-of-way is part of a line of railroad proposed for abandonment in Docket No. STB AB ________ (Sub-No. ________). A map of the property depicting the right-of-way is attached.
________ (Interim Trail Sponsor) acknowledges that use of the right-of-way is subject to the sponsor's continuing to meet its responsibilities described above and subject to possible future reconstruction and reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service. A copy of this statement is being served on the railroad(s) on the same date it is being served on the Board.
(b)
(1) In abandonment application proceedings under 49 U.S.C. 10903, interim trail use statements are due within the 45-day protest and comment period following the date the abandonment application is filed. See § 1152.25(c). The applicant carrier's response notifying the Board whether and with whom it intends to negotiate a trail use agreement is due within 15 days after the close of the protest and comment period (i.e., 60 days after the abandonment application is filed).
(i) In every proceeding where a Trails Act request is made, the Board will determine whether the Trails Act is applicable.
(ii) If the Trails Act is not applicable because of failure to comply with § 1152.29(a), or is applicable but the carrier either does not intend to negotiate an agreement, or does not timely notify the Board of its intention to negotiate, a decision on the merits will be issued and no Certificate of Interim Trail Use or Abandonment (CITU) will be issued. If the carrier is willing to negotiate an agreement, and the public convenience and necessity permit abandonment, the Board will issue a CITU.
(2) In exemption proceedings, a petition containing an interim trail use statement is due within 10 days after the date the notice of exemption is published in the Federal Register in the case of a class exemption and within 20 days after publication in the Federal Register of the notice of filing of a petition for exemption in the case of a petition for exemption. When an interim trail use comment(s) or petition(s) is filed in an exemption proceeding, the railroad's reply to the Board (indicating whether and with whom it intends to negotiate an agreement) is due within 10 days after the date a petition requesting interim trail use is filed.
(3) Late-filed trail use statements must be supported by a statement showing good cause for late filing.
(c) Regular abandonment proceedings.
(1) If continued rail service does not occur pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10904 and Sec. 1152.27, and a railroad agrees to negotiate an interim trail use/rail banking agreement, then the Board will issue a CITU to the railroad and to the interim trail sponsor for that portion of the right-of-way as to which both parties are willing to negotiate. The CITU will: Permit the railroad to discontinue service, cancel any applicable tariffs, and salvage track and material consistent with interim trail use and rail banking, as long as it is consistent with any other Board order, 30 days after the date the CITU is issued; and permit the railroad to fully abandon the line if no trail use agreement is reached 180 days after the CITU is issued, subject to appropriate conditions, including labor protection and environmental matters.
(2) The CITU will indicate that any interim trail use is subject to future restoration of rail service and to the sponsor's continuing to meet its responsibilities described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. The CITU will also provide that, if an interim trail use agreement is reached (and thus interim trail use established), the parties shall file the notice described in paragraph (h) of this section. Additionally, the CITU will provide that if the sponsor intends to terminate interim trail use on all or any portion of the right-of-way covered by the interim trail use agreement, it must send the Board a copy of the CITU and request that it be vacated on a specified date. If a party requests that the CITU be vacated for only a portion of the right-of-way, the Board will issue an appropriate replacement CITU covering the remaining portion of the right-of-way subject to the interim trail use agreement. The Board will reopen the abandonment proceeding, vacate the CITU, and issue a decision permitting immediate abandonment for the involved portion of the right-of-way. Copies of the decision will be sent to:
(i) The abandonment applicant;
(ii) The owner of the right-of-way; and
(iii) The current trail sponsor.
(3) If an application to construct and operate a rail line over the right-of-way is authorized under 49 U.S.C. 10901 and 49 CFR part 1150, or exempted under 49 U.S.C. 10502, then the CITU will be vacated accordingly.
(d) Exempt abandonment proceedings.
(1) If continued rail service does not occur under 49 U.S.C. 10904 and 1152.27 and a railroad agrees to negotiate an interim trail use/rail banking agreement, then the Board will issue a Notice of Interim Trail Use or Abandonment (NITU) to the railroad and to the interim trail sponsor for the portion of the right-of-way as to which both parties are willing to negotiate. The NITU will: Permit the railroad to discontinue service, cancel any applicable tariffs, and salvage track and materials, consistent with interim trail use and rail banking, as long as it is consistent with any other Board order, 30 days after the date the NITU is issued; and permit the railroad to fully abandon the line if no agreement is reached 180 days after the NITU is issued, subject to appropriate conditions, including labor protection and environmental matters.
(2) The NITU will indicate that interim trail use is subject to future restoration of rail service and to the sponsor's continuing to meet its responsibilities described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. The NITU will also provide that, if an interim trail use agreement is reached (and thus interim trail use established), the parties shall file the notice described in paragraph (h) of this section. Additionally, the NITU will provide that if the sponsor intends to terminate interim trail use on all or any portion of the right-of-way covered by the interim trail use agreement, it must send the Board a copy of the NITU and request that it be vacated on a specific date. If a party requests that the NITU be vacated for only a portion of the right-of-way, the Board will issue an appropriate replacement NITU covering the remaining portion of the right-of-way subject to the interim trail use agreement. The Board will reopen the exemption proceeding, vacate the NITU, and issue a decision reinstating the exemption for that portion of the right-of-way. Copies of the decision will be sent to:
(i) The abandonment exemption applicant;
(ii) The owner of the right-of-way; and
(iii) The current trail sponsor.
(3) If an application to construct and operate a rail line over the right-of-way is authorized under 49 U.S.C. 10901 and 49 CFR part 1150, or exempted under 49 U.S.C. 10502, then the NITU will be vacated accordingly.
(e)
(1) Where late-filed trail use statements are accepted, the Director (or designee) will telephone the railroad to determine whether abandonment has been consummated and, if not, whether the railroad is willing to negotiate an interim trail use agreement. The railroad shall confirm, in writing, its response, within 5 days. If abandonment has been consummated, the trail use request will be dismissed. If abandonment has not been consummated but the railroad refuses to negotiate, then trail use will be denied. If abandonment has not been consummated and the railroad is willing to negotiate, the abandonment proceeding will be reopened, the abandonment decision granting an application, petition for exemption or notice of exemption will be vacated, and an appropriate CITU or NITU will be issued. The effective date of the CITU or NITU will be the same date as the vacated decision or notice.
(2) A railroad that receives authority from the Board to abandon a line (in a regulated abandonment proceeding under 49 U.S.C. 10903, or by individual or class exemption issued under 49 U.S.C. 10502) shall file a notice of consummation with the Board to signify that it has exercised the authority granted and fully abandoned the line (e.g., discontinued operations, salvaged the track, canceled tariffs, and intends that the property be removed from the interstate rail network). The notice shall provide the name of the STB proceeding and its docket number, a brief description of the line, and a statement that the railroad has consummated, or fully exercised, the abandonment authority on a certain date. The notice shall be filed within 1 year of the service date of the decision permitting the abandonment (assuming that the railroad intends to consummate the abandonment). Notices will be deemed conclusive on the point of consummation if there are no legal or regulatory barriers to consummation (such as outstanding conditions, including Trails Act conditions). If, after 1 year from the date of service of a decision permitting abandonment, consummation has not been effected by the railroad's filing of a notice of consummation, and there are no legal or regulatory barriers to consummation, the authority to abandon will automatically expire. In that event, a new proceeding would have to be instituted if the railroad wants to abandon the line. Copies of the railroad's notice of consummation shall be filed with the Chief, Section of Administration, Office of Proceedings. In addition, the notice of consummation shall be sent to the State Public Service Commission (or equivalent agency) of every state through which the line passes. If, however, any legal or regulatory barrier to consummation exists at the end of the 1-year time period, the notice of consummation must be filed not later than 60 days after satisfaction, expiration or removal of the legal or regulatory barrier. For good cause shown, a railroad may file a request for an extension of time to file a notice so long as it does so sufficiently in advance of the expiration of the deadline for notifying the Board of consummation to allow for timely processing.
(f)
(1) When a trail user intends to terminate trail use and another person intends to become a trail user by assuming financial responsibility for the right-of-way, then the existing and future trail users shall file, jointly:
(i) A copy of the extant CITU or NITU; and
(ii) A Statement of Willingness to Assume Financial Responsibility by the new trail user.
(iii) An acknowledgement that interim trail use is subject to possible future reconstruction and reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service.
(2) The parties shall indicate the date on which responsibility for the right-of-way is to transfer to the new trail user. The Board will reopen the abandonment or exemption proceeding, vacate the existing NITU or CITU; and issue an appropriate replacement NITU or CITU to the new trail user.
(g) In proceedings where a timely trail use statement is filed, but due to either the railroad's indication of its unwillingness to negotiate interim trail use agreement, or its failure to timely notify the Board of its willingness to negotiate, a decision authorizing abandonment or an exemption notice or decision is issued instead of a CITU or NITU, and subsequently the railroad and trail use proponent nevertheless determine to negotiate an interim trail use agreement under the Trails Act, then the railroad and trail use proponent must file a joint pleading requesting that an appropriate CITU or NITU be issued. If the abandonment has not been consummated, the Board will reopen the proceeding, vacate the outstanding decision or notice (or portion thereof), and issue an appropriate CITU or NITU that will permit the parties to negotiate for a period agreed to by the parties in their joint filing, but not to exceed 180 days, at the end of which, the CITU or NITU will convert into a decision or notice permitting abandonment.
(h) When the parties negotiating for rail banking/interim trail use reach an agreement, the trail sponsor and railroad shall jointly notify the Board within 10 days that the agreement has been reached. The notice shall include a map depicting, and an accurate description of, the involved right-of-way or portion thereof (including mileposts) that is subject to the parties' interim trail use agreement and a certification that the interim trail use agreement includes provisions requiring the sponsor to fulfill the responsibilities described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. Additionally, if the interim trail use agreement establishes interim trail use over less of the right-of-way than is covered by the CITU or NITU, the notice shall also include a request that the Board vacate the CITU or NITU and issue a replacement CITU/NITU for only the portion of the right-of-way covered by the interim trail use agreement. The Board will reopen the abandonment proceeding, vacate the CITU or NITU, issue an appropriate replacement CITU or NITU for only the portion of the right-of-way covered by the interim trail use agreement, and issue a decision permitting immediate abandonment of the portion of the right-of-way not subject to the interim trail use agreement. Copies of the decision will be sent to:
(1) The rail carrier that sought abandonment authorization;
(2) The owner of the right-of-way; and
(3) The current trail sponsor.
[61 FR 67883, Dec. 24, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 34670, June 27, 1997; 64 FR 53268, Oct. 1, 1999; 74 FR 52910, Oct. 15, 2009; 77 FR 25914, May 2, 2012]

Title 49 published on 2013-10-01

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