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RULE §7.21Abandonment of Rail Line by Rural Rail Transportation District

(a) Purpose. Transportation Code, §172.210, provides that a rural rail transportation district created under that chapter may not abandon a rail line of the district with respect to which state funds have been loaned or granted unless the abandonment is approved by the commission as being consistent with the policies of that chapter. This section prescribes the policies and procedures by which a rural rail transportation district may apply for and obtain approval to abandon a rail line of the district.

(b) Application.

  (1) To request approval of the abandonment of a segment of rail line with respect to which state funds have been loaned or granted, a district shall submit an application to: Director, Rail Division, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701.

  (2) An application shall be submitted to the department no later than 45 days after the district filed the notice of intent under 49 C.F.R. §1152.20 and shall include a copy of:

    (A) documentation under which the district obtained state funds for the rail line;

    (B) the notice of intent filed with the Surface Transportation Board;

    (C) the application filed with the Surface Transportation Board under 49 C.F.R. Part 1152, Subpart C; and

    (D) documentation evidencing compliance with the requirements of 49 C.F.R. §1152.20.

(c) Public Hearing.

  (1) If the department finds that the application meets the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, it will notify the district of its findings and will conduct one or more public hearings to receive public comment on the proposed abandonment.

  (2) The department will hold at least one hearing within at least one of the counties of the district.

  (3) The department will file a notice of each hearing with the Secretary of the State for publication in the Texas Register.

  (4) The district shall advertise each hearing in accordance with an outreach plan developed in consultation with the department.

(d) Approval. In approving a request to abandon a segment of rail line, the commission will consider:

  (1) service performed on the line in the two years preceding the date of the notice of intent;

  (2) comments or other evidence of support of or opposition to the proposed abandonment received from interested parties;

  (3) alternate sources of transportation services available, including alternate sources of rail transportation service;

  (4) impact of the proposed abandonment on the operation of the state transportation system;

  (5) impact of the proposed abandonment on communities served by the rail line; and

  (6) viability of the rail line for continued rail transportation service.

(e) Limitation. Abandonment of a rail line is subject to Surface Transportation Board permission pursuant to federal law.

Source Note: The provisions of this §7.21 adopted to be effective January 5, 2006, 30 TexReg 8991; amended to be effective April 1, 2011, 36 TexReg 1690

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