Rail data security bills head to Senate

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor, Railway Track & Structures; and Engineering Editor, Railway Age
Capitol House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed a pair of rail data and information security bills.

 The legislation, STB Information and Security Act (H.R. 4921) and The FRA Safety Data Improvement Act (H.R. 4925), now move to the Senate.

“America’s railways are a critical component of our national transportation system and their safety is of paramount importance,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.). “The bills passed today in the House were overwhelmingly approved by the Committee in February and for good reason. Each will build upon our already safe railroad system by addressing important data and cybersecurity challenges.”

One bill, H.R. 4921, would direct the Surface Transportation Board to implement an improvement plan for its information security system, as recommended by the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General (DOT IG). According to officials from the T&I Committee, the bill is intended to provide effective, long-term improvements to the STB’s information security program.

The other bill, H.R. 4925, instructs the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to develop a plan and timeline to implement the recommendations of the DOT IG to improve the management and collection of railroad safety data. Officials said the legislation would ensure greater accuracy and quality of safety data collected and reported by the FRA.

“The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee bills passed today by the House 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,” said ranking T&I Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).

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