Summary: H.R.2274 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (09/20/1995)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: National Highway System

Title II: Highway Funding Restoration

Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions

National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 - Title I: National Highway System - Designates the National Highway System (NHS) as submitted by the Secretary of Transportation on September 1, 1995. Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to submit to specified congressional committees for approval a proposed modification of the NHS, subject to specified requirements, which shall take effect only if a law has been enacted approving such modification.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) initial proposed modifications to the NHS; (2) congressional high priority corridors; and (3) interim eligibility for Federal highway funds.

Title II: Highway Funding Restoration - Highway Funding Restoration Act of 1995 - Directs the Secretary to allocate among the States specified amounts for Interstate highway substitute, NHS, surface transportation program, Interstate, congestion mitigation and air quality improvement program, bridge, hazard elimination, and rail- highway crossings projects (State High Priority Project Restoration Program, hereinafter referred to as the High Priority Program) for FY 1996 and 1997. Specifies allocation percentages by State. Provides that such allocations shall not affect a State's minimum allocation of Federal-aid highway funds or specified allocations under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the period of availability; (2) a special rule for the obligation of allocations in urbanized areas with a population of over 200,000; and (3) limits on planning expenditures. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 204) Rescinds funds from various previously authorized projects and from unobligated balances of funds previously made available and derived from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Reduces the authorized funding levels for certain programs (regarding magnetic levitation and highway safety) funded from the HTF. Transfers certain funds (regarding the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program) derived from the HTF made available for such fiscal years to carry out the High Priority Program.

(Sec. 205) Directs the Secretary: (1) to notify each State of the total amount of the reduction in authorized funds for FY 1996 that would have been allocated and apportioned to such State, as a result of specified ISTEA provisions; and (2) in determining such amount, to deduct the amount allocated to each State in FY 1996 pursuant to the High Priority Program and certain other amounts available for FY 1996.

Requires: (1) each State to designate on or before November 1, 1995, or as soon as possible thereafter, unobligated balances of funds apportioned or allocated on or before September 30, 1995, and which are subject to the obligation ceiling, that may be made available for any purpose currently eligible under the Minimum Allocation Program; and (2) the Secretary to make such funds available to the States before November 15, 1995, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Prohibits unobligated balances of funds attributed to urbanized areas with a population of over 200,000 from being designated by the State without the concurrence, in writing, of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) designated for such area.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) congestion mitigation and air quality balances; (2) interstate construction balances; (3) periods of availability; and (4) limits on statutory construction.

(Sec. 206) Revises provisions regarding the method of distribution of funds made available under the Minimum Allocation Program in FY 1996 and 1997. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) a special rule for urbanized areas of over 200,000 in FY 1996 and 1997; and (2) funding.

(Sec. 207) Prohibits the Secretary from penalizing States for failure to implement various highway and transportation management systems during FY 1996. Repeals a requirement that States meet minimum utilization requirements for asphalt pavement containing recycled rubber and the penalties for failure to meet those requirements.

Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - Directs the Secretary to distribute the limitation imposed on transit operating assistance so that: (1) each urbanized area that had a population of less than 200,000 under the 1990 decennial census will receive for each of FY 1996 and 1997, 75 percent of the amount the area received under such distribution for FY 1995; and (2) an urbanized area that had a population under the 1980 decennial census of more than one million and has a population under the 1990 decennial census of less than one million will receive under the distribution of such limitation for each of FY 1996 and 1997, 90 percent of the amount of funds apportioned in FY 1982 under specified provisions of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 to such area.

Requires the Secretary, in the distribution of such limitation to urbanized areas that had a population under such census of one million or more, to direct each such area to give priority consideration to the impact of reductions in operating assistance on smaller transit authorities operating within the area and to consider the needs and resources of such authorities when the limitation is distributed among all transit authorities operating in the area.

(Sec. 302) Directs the Secretary to: (1) require each recipient of Federal financial assistance for a highway or transit project with an estimated total cost of $1 billion or more to submit to the Secretary an annual financial plan, which shall be based on detailed annual estimates of the cost to complete the remaining elements of the project and on reasonable assumptions (as determined by the Secretary) of future increases in the cost to complete the project; (2) make a recommendation to the Congress on whether or not future Federal assistance should be withheld regarding any such project for which an annual financial plan is not submitted or for which the Secretary determines that the estimates or assumptions are not reasonable; and (3) submit to the Congress an annual report on the financial plans submitted and any such recommendation.

(Sec. 303) Prohibits the Secretary of Transportation, after this Act's enactment and before the date on which Federal-aid highway and transit programs are reauthorized, from issuing a letter of intent, or entering into a full financing grant agreement or early systems work agreement for a project or operable segment of a project unless the full amount of Federal financial responsibility for the project or segment has been included in an authorization law.

Makes such prohibition inapplicable to any project: (1) for which a letter of intent was issued before this Act's enactment date; and (2) included as an element of an interrelated project which also includes another project for which a letter of intent was issued before such date.

(Sec. 304) Requires an annual report on Capital Projects for Fixed Guideway Systems and Extensions of Existing Fixed Guideway Systems to include: (1) an analysis of potential funding requirements of the project in the succeeding five fiscal years; and (2) a description of the planning and study process undertaken to select the locally preferred alternative, and of efforts undertaken to seek alternative funding sources, for the project.

(Sec. 305) Repeals the authorization for the Long Beach Metro Link Fixed Rail Project. Reduces the authorization for the Honolulu Rapid Transit Project.

(Sec. 306) Modifies various previously authorized transit projects and makes funds available for certain additional projects.

Revises provisions regarding the financing for the suspended light rail system technology pilot project. Directs the Secretary: (1) within 60 days, to complete the national competition initiated by selecting the public entity with which to make a full financing grant agreement; and (2) following such selection, to make specified payments in the form of grants to such entity and, upon completion of preliminary engineering and design, to negotiate and enter into such an agreement.

(Sec. 307) Adds consideration of recreational travel and tourism to the metropolitan planning process under the transit program.

(Sec. 308) Requires that any contract or subcontract awarded for engineering and design services, whether funded in whole or in part with Federal transit funds, be performed and audited in compliance with cost principles contained in the Federal acquisition regulations.

Requires the recipient of Federal funds to: (1) accept and use indirect cost rates established by a government agency in accordance with such regulations for one-year applicable accounting periods in estimating, negotiating, and administering contracts; (2) notify affected firms before requesting and using the cost and rate data; and (3) keep such data confidential.

Makes this section effective two years after this Act's enactment, but grants a State the option of adopting by statute an alternative process intended to promote engineering and design quality and to ensure maximum competition by professional companies of all sizes providing engineering and design services.

(Sec. 309) Allows Federal participation in the construction of ferry boats and terminal facilities that operate between a State and a point in Canada.

(Sec. 310) Directs the Secretary to issue guidance to encourage States to utilize private sector sources for surveying and mapping services for highway projects.

(Sec. 311) Specifies that the hiring of law enforcement or security personnel is an eligible expense under the transit security program.

Allows half of the publicly funded ferry boat service provided to the City of Avalon, California, to be counted under the formula grant transit program.

(Sec. 312) Amends the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 to require that accessibility requirements for private over-the-road buses be met by small providers within three years, and by other providers within two years, after the issuance of final regulations.

(Sec. 313) Makes the Alaska Railroad eligible for certain fixed guideway modernization funds for improvements to its passenger operations.

(Sec. 314) Amends Federal transportation law to authorize (current law requires) preemployment alcohol testing of: (1) mass transit, railroad, air carrier, and Federal Aviation Administration employees responsible for safety-sensitive functions; and (2) operators of commercial motor vehicles.

(Sec. 315) Provides that a State shall be treated as having met the requirement of having a statewide program for roadside sobriety checkpoints if such a program would violate the constitution of the State and if the State meets certain other safety requirements.

Moves from the Supplemental Grants Program to the Basic Grants Program the requirement that a State provide that any person under age 21 with a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent or greater when driving a motor vehicle shall be deemed to be driving while intoxicated.

(Sec. 316) Directs the Secretary to: (1) conduct a study of technologies and practices to improve the driving performance of older drivers and other special driver groups; (2) undertake demonstration activities which incorporate and build upon gerontology research related to the study of the normal aging process, and initially implement such activities in States with the highest population of aging citizens for whom driving a motor vehicle is their primary mobility mode; and (3) carry out the study by entering into a cooperative agreement with an institution that has demonstrated competencies in specified fields.

Requires the Secretary: (1) in carrying out the work zone safety program under ISTEA, to utilize a variety of methods to increase safety at highway construction sites, including conferences, creation of a national clearinghouse, and a national promotional campaign; and (2) to conduct a study to develop and evaluate radio and microwave technology for a motor vehicle safety warning system in furtherance of safety in all types of motor vehicles, and determine whether such technology has other appropriate safety applications.

(Sec. 317) Amends ISTEA to extend until the reauthorization of the Federal-aid highway and transit programs a temporary waiver from axle weight limitations for any vehicle regularly and exclusively used as an intrastate public agency transit passenger bus.

(Sec. 318) Freezes funding allocations under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ) at the FY 1994 levels for the remaining years of ISTEA, and provides that CMAQ funds may be used for projects for the maintenance of air quality standards. Provides that certain funding equity provisions will not be affected by this section.

(Sec. 319) Directs the Secretary to establish a program to require States to conduct an analysis of the life-cycle costs of, and carry out a value engineering analysis for, all projects on the NHS with an estimated total cost of $25 million or more.

(Sec. 320) Specifies that transportation conformity requirements only apply to areas that are designated as nonattainment areas and to areas that have been designated as attainment areas but that are still subject to maintenance requirements under the Clean Air Act.

(Sec. 321) Exempts certain specialized vehicles operating on the 104-mile portion of Wisconsin State Route 78 and U.S. Route 51 from vehicle weight limitations upon the inclusion of the route as part of the Interstate System.

(Sec. 322) Sets forth provisions regarding contracting for engineering and design services funded in whole or in part with Federal-aid highway funds (analogous to provisions under Sec. 308). Repeals a pilot program under ISTEA for uniform audit procedures.

(Sec. 323) Includes the Centennial Bridge, Rock Island, Illinois, under provisions relating to toll agreements.

(Sec. 324) Prohibits the Secretary, before September 30, 1997, from requiring the States to expend any Federal or State funds to construct, erect, or otherwise place, or modify, a highway sign relating to any speed limit, distance, or other measurement using the metric system.

(Sec. 325) Specifies that the Federal ban on outdoor advertising on scenic highways does not restrict the authority of a State with respect to commercial and industrial areas along a scenic byway, nor does it prevent a State from establishing standards stricter than those in Federal law.

(Sec. 326) Adds recreational travel and tourism to the factors that must be considered by MPOs in developing transportation plans and programs.

(Sec. 327) Allows any non-Federal funds expended for the seismic retrofit of certain toll bridges to be credited toward the non-Federal share required as a condition of receipt of Federal funds for such retrofit made available after the date of the expenditure.

(Sec. 328) Specifies that data collected for safety reports or surveys shall not be subject to discovery or admitted into evidence in Federal or State court proceedings.

(Sec. 329) Revises the National Recreational Trails Program under ISTEA, including a provision requiring States to provide 20 percent of the program costs in the sixth year of the program. Requires a State to give priority to projects which mitigate and minimize impacts to the environment. Permits a State to apply to the Secretary for an exemption from requirements for the distribution of Federal trail program funds.

(Sec. 330) Revises ISTEA regarding the routing of certain existing high priority corridors and adds additional high priority corridors. Designates certain of these routes as future Interstate routes, if they are not already designated, when the Secretary determines that such routes meet Interstate standards and connect to an existing Interstate segment.

(Sec. 331) Amends ISTEA to authorize a feasibility study to identify routes that will expedite future emergency evacuations of coastal areas of Louisiana.

Directs the Secretary to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a route for the East-West Transamerica Corridor in West Virginia and Virginia.

(Sec. 334) Delineates the route of the East-West Transamerica High Priority Corridor.

(Sec. 341) Amends the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 to make the High Street to Causeway Street section of Central Artery project eligible for Interstate construction funds. Requires a project authorized by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 to include reconstruction and widening to six lanes of existing Interstate 95 and of a specified segment of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, including the structure over the Delaware River. Prohibits the use of Federal funds to construct Type II noise barriers, other than for projects already approved.

(Sec. 342) Directs the Secretary to enter into an agreement modifying an existing agreement that provides Orange County, California, with a line of credit. Allows the Secretary to require an interest rate higher than that previously specified.

(Sec. 343) Directs the Secretary to conduct a study: (1) and report to the Congress on the adequacy of and the need for improvements to the Pan American Highway; (2) to determine the cost, need, and efficacy of establishing a highway sign for identifying routes on the NHS; and (3) and report to the Congress on compliance with the Buy American Act with respect to contracts entered into using amounts made available from the HTF.

(Sec. 344) Provides that tolls collected for motor vehicles on any bridge connecting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York, shall continue to be collected for only those vehicles exiting from such bridge in Staten Island.

(Sec. 345) Authorizes appropriations for FY 1996 for the National Driver Register.

(Sec. 346) Modifies ISTEA provisions to: (1) provide that not less than two and a half percent of the mileage of new or replacement permanent or temporary crashworthy barriers included in awarded contracts along Federal-aid highways within the boundaries of a State in each calendar year shall be innovative crashworthy safety barriers; and (2) define "innovative crashworthy safety barrier" as a barrier, other than a guardrail or guiderail, classified by the Federal Highway Administration as experimental or classified as operational after January 1, 1985, which meets or surpasses the requirements of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program 350 for longitudinal barriers.

(Sec. 347) Allows signs, displays, and devices identifying and announcing free motorists aid call boxes and their sponsorship by corporations or other organizations in areas adjacent to the Interstate System and the primary system.

(Sec. 348) Repeals: (1) the national maximum speed limit and all related enforcement requirements; and (2) the penalty States face for not having a law requiring individuals on motorcycle to wear a motorcycle helmet.

(Sec. 350) Adds safety rest areas to the list of safety projects that qualify for 100 percent Federal funding.

(Sec. 351) Sets forth exemptions from requirements relating to commercial motor vehicles and operators, regarding: (1) transportation of agricultural commodities and farm supplies(specifies that drivers transporting agricultural or farm supplies may operate without complying with Federal hours of service regulations if such transportation is limited to an area within a 100 mile radius); (2) transportation and operation of groundwater well drilling rigs; (3) transportation of construction materials and equipment; (4) drivers of utility service vehicles (modifies Federal hours of service regulations for such drivers by providing that their limits on maximum driving and on-duty time be reset whenever they have an off-duty period of 24 consecutive hours); and (5) snow and ice removal.

Authorizes the Secretary: (1) to conduct a rulemaking proceeding to determine whether granting any such exemption is not in the public interest and would have a significant adverse impact on the safety of commercial motor vehicles; and (2) if so, to prevent the exemption from going into effect, modify it, or revoke it.

(Sec. 352) Deems traffic control signs referred to in the experimental project conducted in the State of Oregon in December 1991 to comply with requirements of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices of the Department of Transportation.

(Sec. 353) Allows the Brightman Street Bridge in Fall River Harbor, Massachusetts, to be reconstructed to result in a clear channel width of less than 300 feet.

(Sec. 354) Directs the Secretary to exempt, upon application, an operator of motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of at least 10,001 pounds but not more than 26,000 pounds from specified Federal safety regulations if the Secretary finds that such applicant: (1) has a current satisfactory safety fitness rating; and (2) will implement a program of safety management controls designed to achieve a level of operational safety equal to or greater than that resulting from compliance with the Federal regulations. Directs the Secretary to: (1) periodically monitor the safety of vehicles and drivers exempted from the regulations; and (2) revoke the exemption if the operator has exceeded the average ratio of preventable accidents to vehicle miles travelled for a period of 12 months for such class of vehicles or if such operator's exemption is not in the public interest and would result in a significant adverse impact on the safety of commercial motor vehicles. Prohibits the Secretary from granting exemptions to vehicles designed to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) or used in transporting material found by the Secretary to be hazardous and transported in a quantity requiring placarding.

(Sec. 356) Requires the Secretary, in cooperation with each State that increases its speed limit above the national maximum speed limit in effect on September 15, 1995, to prepare and submit to the Congress a study of: (1) the costs to such State of deaths and injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes; and (2) the benefits associated with the repeal of the national maximum speed limit.

(Sec. 357) Requires the Secretary to withhold five percent of the amount required to be appropriated to any State for FY 1999, and ten percent for each fiscal year thereafter, if the State has not enacted and is not enforcing a law that makes the operation of a motor vehicle by an individual under age 21 who has a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent or greater unlawful.

(Sec. 358) Directs the Secretary to evaluate the effectiveness on reducing drunk driving of State laws which allow a health care provider who treats an individual involved in a vehicular accident to report the individual's blood alcohol level to the local law enforcement agency if it exceeds the maximum level permitted under State law.