Green to Propose Legislation to Reform Surface Transportation Board
January 15, 2003
Washington, DC - At a public hearing hearing held by the Surface Transportation Board regarding the proposed San Jacinto Rail Limited Project, Congressman Gene Green revealed in his public statement details of new legislation he will propose to reform the way the Surface Transportation Board (STB) considers projects.
Our bill will require that local public concerns be taken into greater consideration than in the past and require the STB to use a higher standard in addressing public comments when a proposal is in a residential area, said Green. There is overwhelming public opposition to this project, but yet the STB has done nothing but move forward in an expedited manner.
The legislation makes 3 new changes to the way that the STB reviews rail construction projects:
If there is a high level of public opposition, the legislation requires that the concerns of residents and local officials be taken into greater consideration than in the past, especially when the rail construction proposal is in a residential area.
The legislation requires that, before a final decision, the STB determine whether a proposal would have a disproportionate impact on either minority areas or economically disadvantaged areas. If so, the STB would be required to report to the public what alternatives to the disproportionate impact proposal were considered and why they were not chosen.
In addition, the legislation would require the STB to investigate the providing of false, potentially material information about the project. During the investigation, the entire decision process is put on hold, and if the STB finds that the false information was intentionally provided the application is automatically denied.
The San Jacinto Rail project has received a very high number of public comments, the great majority in opposition, added Green. The STB has not prepared a public report for the San Jacinto Rail project detailing how it adversely affects the lower-income, minority areas of the East End and other neighborhoods.
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