Summary: S.208 — 103rd Congress (1993-1994)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (07/28/1994)

National Park Service Concessions Policy Reform Act of 1994 - Repeals the Concessions Policy Act of 1965 and establishes new provisions governing concessions policies of the National Park Service (NPS).

(Sec. 5) Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to: (1) award concessions contracts that authorize private persons, corporations, or other entities to provide necessary and appropriate services to national park visitors and utilize park facilities consistent with applicable law and the management and concessions plans for the relevant park; and (2) upon request, to authorize by other means the provision of services, provided such authorization will have minimal impact on park resources and values and will be consistent with the purposes of, and management plans for, the park.

(Sec. 6) Requires a concessions contract to be awarded through a competitive selection process to the person submitting the best proposal, except that the Secretary may award a temporary contract on a noncompetitive basis in order to avoid an interruption of services.

Directs the Secretary, before soliciting contract proposals, to prepare, and publish notice of availability of, a prospectus that shall include minimum contract requirements, contract terms and conditions, and services to be provided by the Secretary to the concessioner.

Sets forth criteria for rejecting proposals and for selecting the best proposal, including giving preference to American concessioners. Specifies that the proposed franchise fee shall be subordinate to protecting and preserving park resources and providing appropriate facilities or services to the public at reasonable rates.

Requires the Secretary to notify specified congressional committees regarding any proposed contract with anticipated annual gross receipts exceeding $1 million or with a duration exceeding ten years.

Permits the Secretary to grant a preferential right to a concessioner to renew a contract only where: (1) estimated annual gross receipts are less than $500,000; (2) the concessioner has operated satisfactorily; and (3) the concessioner has submitted a responsive proposal for a new contract satisfying minimum requirements. Prohibits the Secretary from granting a preferential right to a concessioner to provide new or additional services at a park, except for incidental or closely related services that would enhance park safety or enjoyment or the protection of resources.

(Sec. 7) Requires each minimum franchise fee to be determined in a manner that will provide the concessioner with a reasonable opportunity to realize a profit.

(Sec. 8) Requires receipts under this Act, including fees for use of federally owned buildings or other facilities, to be: (1) covered into a special account in the Treasury and to be allocated among NPS units for resource management and protection, maintenance, interpretation; or (2) deposited into a Park Improvement Fund, to be established at the Secretary's discretion, from which expenditures shall be made for park activities and projects.

(Sec. 9) Establishes a maximum: (1) ten-year duration for a concessions contract, provided that the Secretary may award a contract for up to 20 years; and (2) two-year duration for a temporary contract.

(Sec. 10) Requires the approval of the Secretary and congressional notification before a concessions contract can be transferred, assigned, sold, or conveyed and sets forth conditions that preclude such conveyance.

(Sec. 11) Grants possessory interest to: (1) concessioners who have commenced acquisition or construction of any structure on Federal land within a park before the enactment of this Act; and (2) concessioners who construct or acquire an improvement on U.S. land within a Park pursuant to a concessions contract, after enactment of this Act, less depreciation.

(Sec. 12) Specifies criteria for judging the reasonableness of a concessioner's rates and charges to the public.

(Sec. 13) Directs the Secretary to: (1) periodically evaluate the performance of each concessioner under contract; (2) terminate a contract if a concessioner fails, within the prescribed time, to meet minimum requirements identified in a notice of unsatisfactory performance; and (3) notify specified congressional committees of each unsatisfactory overall annual rating and each contract terminated.

(Sec. 14) Provides that the Comptroller General of the United States shall until the expiration of five calendar years after the close of the business year for each concessioner, have access to and the right to examine any pertinent books, documents, papers, and records of the concessioner related to the contracts (including those related to any Park Improvement Fund).

(Sec. 15) Exempts contracts awarded by the Secretary under this Act from certain provisions of Federal law with respect to leasing of U.S. buildings and properties.

(Sec. 17) Requires the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior to biennially audit the Secretary's implementation of this Act and the award and management of such concession contracts and authorizations; and (2) the Secretary and the Inspector to submit biannual reports to specified congressional committees on the implementation of this Act and its effect on facilities operated and services provided pursuant to concession contracts.