The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is an agency in the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). The agency was created by the Department of Transportation Act of 1966. The purpose of FRA is to promulgate and enforce rail safety regulations, administer railroad assistance programs, conduct research and development in support of improved railroad safety and national rail transportation policy, provide for the rehabilitation of Northeast Corridor rail passenger service, and consolidate government support of rail transportation activities.
The FRA is one of 10 agencies within DOT concerned with intermodal transportation. It operates through seven divisions under the offices of the Administrator and Deputy Administrator. These divisions are: Financial Management and Administration, Chief Counsel, Civil Rights, Public Affairs, Public Engagement, Railroad Policy and Development, and Safety. It has a staff of about 850.
Sarah Feinberg is Administrator of the FRA. Feinberg is the second woman to lead the agency. Her appointment was announced by United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on January 12, 2015 and confirmed on October 28, 2015. Feinberg previously served as the Foxx's Chief of Staff, managing DOT's ten modal organizations, and spearheading its legislative, policy, and communications efforts.
Previous FRA Administrators include:
- Joe Szabo (2009-2014); the first FRA Administrator to be chosen from the ranks of railroad employment.
- Clifford C. Eby (Acting Administrator, December 2008-April 2009)
- Joseph H. Boardman (2005-2008); currently President and CEO of Amtrak.
In June 2015, the FRA announced that Google would include the FRAs GIS data into its mapping services. The data pinpoints the location of over 250,000 rail crossings in the United States. The FRA believes that providing the location of rail crossings in maps will enhance crossing safety by people who're using navigation systems while driving.
- The Federal Transit Administration provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit agencies.
- The Interstate Commerce Commission regulated railroad safety prior to creation of the FRA.
- The National Transportation Safety Board investigates accidents and crashes involving railroads.
- The United States Railroad Administration operated from 1917 to 1920.
- Rail speed limits in the United States