There is one summary for this bill. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (04/29/1997)

Transportation Empowerment Act - Authorizes appropriations out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for the interstate maintenance program, the interstate and Indian reservation bridge program, the Federal lands highways program, public lands highways, parkways and park roads, highway safety programs, and highway safety research and development, through FY 2002.

Amends provisions regarding transferability of funds to authorize a State, upon determining that excess funds have been made available to the State for a purpose, to transfer the excess funds to, and use such funds for, any surface transportation purpose (including mass transit and rail) in the State. Specifies that if the Secretary determines that a State has transferred funds to a purpose that is not a surface transportation purpose, the amount of the improperly transferred funds shall be deducted from any amount the State would otherwise receive from HTF for the next fiscal year.

Repeals provisions regarding the apportionment formula for resurfacing, restoring, rehabilitating, and reconstructing the Interstate System and sets forth provisions regarding the apportionment of funds to the States for interstate maintenance. Authorizes appropriations for motor carrier safety grants.

Amends the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to: (1) extend until October 1, 2002, the availability of HTF funds for authorized expenditures; (2) set a core programs financing rate for gasoline, special motor fuels, and diesel fuel; (3) establish in HTF an Infrastructure Special Assistance Fund; and (4) provide for the return of excess tax receipts to States for transportation purposes. Terminates transfers to HTF's Mass Transit Account on and after October 1, 1997.

(Sec. 6) Grants congressional consent to States to enter into interstate compacts to: (1) promote the continuity, quality, and safety of the Interstate System; (2) develop programs to promote and fund surface transportation safety initiatives and establish surface transportation safety standards; (3) conduct long-term planning for surface transportation infrastructure in, and develop design and construction standards for such infrastructure to be used by, participating States; and (4) establish surface transportation infrastructure banks.

Sets forth provisions regarding financing and authority of infrastructure banks.

(Sec. 7) Requires the head of each executive agency to: (1) assist State and local governments in efforts to privatize the transportation infrastructure assets of the State and local governments; and (2) approve requests from State and local governments to privatize transportation infrastructure assets and waive or modify any condition relating to the original Federal program that funded the asset.

Sets forth provisions regarding criteria for approval of requests, the lack of a State or local obligation to repay Federal grant funds for assets that are privatized, the use of proceeds from the privatization of a transportation infrastructure asset, and cost recovery.

(Sec. 8) Amends the IRC to reduce taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel, and special fuels funding HTF.

(Sec. 9) Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 10) Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress describing necessary technical and conforming amendments.

(Sec. 11) Makes this Act contingent upon certification by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget that this Act is deficit neutral and meets specified requirements regarding discretionary spending limits.