Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate amended (10/01/1997)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Surface Transportation

Subtitle A: General Provisions

Subtitle B: Program Streamlining and Flexibility

Subtitle C: Finance

Subtitle D: Safety

Subtitle E: Environment

Subtitle F: Planning

Subtitle G: Technical Corrections

Subtitle H: Miscellaneous Provisions

Title II: Research and Technology

Subtitle A: Research and Training

Subtitle B: Intelligent Transportation Systems

Subtitle C: Funding

Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1997 - Title I: Surface Transportation - Surface Transportation Act of 1997 - Subtitle A: General Provisions - Authorizes the use of specified sums from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for: (1) the Interstate (IS) and National Highway System (NHS) Program; (2) the Surface Transportation Program (STP); (3) the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ); and (4) the Federal Lands Highways Program (FLHP).

Modifies the apportionment formulas under Federal highway provisions with respect to: (1) the IS and NHS Program (including an interstate maintenance (IM) and interstate bridge component, as well as funding for the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands; (2) CMAQ (providing for adjustments based on population and level of air pollution and requiring the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to use the latest available annual population estimates prepared by the Secretary of Commerce); and (3) STP. Sets forth transitional provisions.

Authorizes the Secretary to reimburse the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Transportation (DOT) for the conduct of annual audits of financial statements.

(Sec. 1103) Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) obligation ceilings for Federal-aid highways and highway safety construction programs for FY 1998 through 2003, with exceptions; and (2) obligation authority.

(Sec. 1104) Revises provisions regarding obligation authority under the STP to direct: (1) a State that is required to obligate in an urbanized area with an urbanized area population of over 200,000 individuals certain funds apportioned to the State to make available during the three-fiscal year periods of 1998-2000 and 2001-2003 a specified amount of obligation authority distributed to the State for Federal-aid highways and highway safety construction programs; and (2) each State, each affected metropolitan planning organization (MPO), and the Secretary to jointly ensure compliance.

(Sec. 1105) Amends provisions regarding emergency relief to authorize an emergency fund for expenditure by the Secretary, subject to specified restrictions, for the repair or reconstruction of highways, roads, and trails, in any part of the United States, including Indian reservations, that the Secretary finds to have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disaster over a wide area or catastrophic failure from any external cause. Prohibits the use of funds for the repair or reconstruction of bridges that have been permanently closed to all vehicular traffic by the State or responsible local official because of imminent danger of collapse due to a structural deficiency or physical deterioration. Authorizes appropriations from the HTF to establish the fund and replenish it annually. Makes a specified project to repair or reconstruct a Federal-aid primary route in San Mateo County, California, eligible for assistance.

(Sec. 1106) Authorizes the use of: (1) Federal land management agency funds to pay the non-Federal cost share of funded Federal-aid highway projects; and (2) FLHP funds to pay the non-Federal cost share of specified projects that provide access to or within Federal or Indian lands.

Modifies FLHP provisions to establish a coordinated FLHP. Requires: (1) the Secretary to develop transportation planning procedures that are consistent with required metropolitan and statewide planning processes; (2) the Secretary's approval of the transportation improvement program (TIP); (3) that all regionally significant FLHP projects be developed in cooperation with States and MPOs, and be included in appropriate FLHP, State, and metropolitan plans and TIPs; (4) the inclusion of the approved FLHP TIP in appropriate State and MPO plans and programs without further action on the TIP; and (5) the Secretary and the Secretary of each appropriate Federal land management agency to develop safety, bridge, pavement, and congestion management systems for roads funded under the FLHP. Allows funds available for public lands highways, park roads and parkways, and Indian reservation roads to be used by the Secretary and the Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency to pay for the cost of transportation planning, research, engineering, and construction of the highways, roads, and parkways, or of transit facilities within public lands, national parks, and Indian reservations.

Includes among eligible projects a project to build a replacement of the federally owned bridge over the Hoover Dam in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area between Nevada and Arizona.

Directs: (1) the Secretary to transfer to the appropriate Federal land management agency from amounts made available for public lands highways such amounts as necessary to pay the cost to the agency to conduct necessary transportation planning for Federal lands if funding for the planning is not otherwise provided; and (2) the Indian tribal government, in cooperation with the Secretary of the Interior and, as appropriate, with a State, local government, or MPO, to carry out a transportation planning process in accordance with this Act.

(Sec. 1107) Directs the Secretary to carry out a program to provide and maintain recreational trails. Sets forth provisions regarding State responsibilities, use of apportioned funds, State consideration of proposals that benefit or mitigate the impact to the natural environment, the Federal share (80 percent), uses not permitted, project administration, apportionment among the States, administrative costs, and contract authority. Makes amounts available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003 for such program.

(Sec. 1108) Amends the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) to: (1) increase from five to 15 the number of value (formerly, congestion) pricing pilot programs eligible for funding; (2) require the Secretary to fund all pre-implementation costs; and (3) remove the three-program cap on the number of such programs on which the Secretary shall allow the use of tolls on the IS. Makes sums available from the HTF for each of FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 1109) Repeals provisions regarding economic growth center development highways. Revises provisions of ISTEA regarding highway use tax evasion projects to set the Federal share of such projects at 100 percent and to make available specified funds to the Secretary from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

Directs the Secretary to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the development and maintenance by the IRS of an excise fuel reporting system. Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary from the HTF for development, operation, and maintenance of the system.

(Sec. 1110) Includes the construction of pedestrian walkways as an eligible use of States' NHS apportionments under the same criteria by which bicycle transportation facilities are eligible. Removes a restriction against safely accommodating bicycles on highway bridges located on fully access-controlled highways.

Modifies planning provisions to require that: (1) consideration be given to bicyclists and pedestrians in the comprehensive statewide and metropolitan planning processes; and (2) the inclusion of bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways be considered in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction of transportation facilities, except where such transportation is not permitted.

(Sec. 1111) Requires that: (1) at least ten percent of the funds authorized for specified programs under this Act be expended with small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; (2) each State annually survey and compile a list of such businesses; and (3) the Secretary establish minimum uniform criteria for State government use in certifying business qualification.

(Sec. 1112) Revises provisions regarding the Federal share payable on IS and other projects to authorize a State to determine a lower Federal share than that determined under such provisions.

Authorizes a State to use as a credit toward the non-Federal share requirement for any program under ISTEA or specified Federal highway provisions, other than an emergency relief program, toll revenues that are generated and used by public, quasi-public, and private agencies to build, improve, or maintain, without the use of Federal funds, highways, bridges, or tunnels that serve the public purpose of interstate commerce, subject to specified requirements.

(Sec. 1113) Directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct: (1) an evaluation of the methodology used by DOT to determine highway needs using the highway economic requirement system (the model); (2) a study on the extent to which the model can be used to provide States with useful information for developing State transportation investment plans and State infrastructure investment projections; and (3) a study on the international roughness index used as an indicator of pavement quality on the Federal-aid highway system. Sets forth reporting requirements.

Requires: (1) the Comptroller General to submit reports to the Congress on the index; and (2) the Secretary to publish or otherwise report rates of obligation of funds apportioned or set aside according to program, funding category or subcategory, type of improvement, State, and sub-State geographic area on the basis of population.

(Sec. 1115) Establishes the Cooperative Federal Lands Transportation Program, under which funds may be used for projects on highways that are owned or maintained by States or political subdivisions thereof that cross, are adjacent to, or lead to federally owned land or Indian reservations, as determined by the State. Directs that such projects be proposed by a State and selected by the Secretary.

Sets forth provisions regarding formulas for the distribution of funds for projects, funds transfers, and rights-of-way across Federal land (not affected). Makes specified funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 1116) Directs the Secretary to make incentive grants to designated States and MPOs to encourage joint transportation planning activities and to improve people and vehicle movement into and through international gateways as a supplement to statewide and metropolitan transportation planning funding. Requires as a grant condition that a State transportation department or MPO certify to the Secretary that it commits to be engaged in joint planning with its counterpart agency in Mexico or Canada. Limits grant awards to $100,000 per department or MPO for any fiscal year. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

Requires the Secretary to make grants to States to encourage, within the framework of the statewide transportation planning process, cooperative multistate corridor analysis of, and planning for, the safe and efficient movement of goods along and within international or interstate trade corridors of national importance. Sets forth provisions regarding the identification of corridors, corridor plans, and planning coordination. Consents to any two or more States: (1) entering into multistate agreements for cooperative efforts and mutual assistance in support of interstate trade corridor planning activities; and (2) establishing agencies to make the agreements effective. Makes specified funds available from the HTF for each of FY 1998 through 2003.

Directs the Secretary to make grants to States or MPOs that submit an application that: (1) demonstrates need for assistance in carrying out transportation projects that are necessary to relieve traffic congestion or improve enforcement of motor carrier safety laws; and (2) includes strategies to involve both the public and private sectors in the proposed project. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the selection of States, MPOs, and projects to receive grants; (2) permissible uses of grants; and (3) construction of transportation infrastructure for law enforcement purposes. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1998 through 2003.

Sets forth provisions regarding coordination of planning, the Federal cost share, and the use of unallocated funds.

(Sec. 1117) Amends the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 to provide that: (1) each allocation to a State for the Appalachian development highway system shall remain available for expenditure for the fiscal year in which the allocation is made and the three following fiscal years; and (2) funds authorized for FY 1998 or thereafter, and not expended by a State during those four fiscal years, shall be released to the Appalachian Regional Development Commission for reallocation.

Includes within the Appalachian development highway system a substitute corridor in lieu of Corridor H in Virginia. Increases the Federal share for prefinanced projects. Makes specified funds available for the continued construction of the system for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 1118) Directs the Secretary to set aside specified funds for IS resurfacing, restoring, rehabilitating, or reconstructing, and for highway bridge replacement or rehabilitation, subject to specified requirements and exceptions.

(Sec. 1119) Requires the Secretary to solicit applications from States, or authorities designated by one or more States, for financial assistance authorized under this section for planning, design, and construction of eligible MAGLEV (i.e, transportation systems employing magnetic levitation that would be capable of safe use by the public at a speed in excess of 240 miles per hour) projects.

Sets forth provisions regarding project eligibility, the Federal cost share, project selection criteria, and joint ventures. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1999 and 2000. Authorizes appropriations from the HTF for FY 2000 through 2003. Permits the use by a State of certain STP and CMAQ funds to pay a portion of project costs.

(Sec. 1120) Requires the Secretary to execute an agreement with the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge Authority or any Capital Region jurisdiction before funds made available under this section are available for construction of the replacement bridge, which shall identify whether the Authority or an individual entity will accept ownership of the new facility, and include a financial plan that identifies the total cost, schedule, and source of funds necessary to complete the project.

Modifies the definition of the project to require that the replacement bridge be the preferred alternative identified in the record of decision in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

Authorizes appropriations from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003 to pay the costs of planning, preliminary engineering and design, final engineering, acquisition of rights-of-way, and construction of the project.

(Sec. 1121) Establishes the NHS as those routes and transportation facilities depicted on the map submitted by the Secretary to the Congress with a specified report, dated May 24, 1996.

(Sec. 1122) Replaces the bridge program authorized in ISTEA with a requirement that States maintain their current funding levels for bridges on the Federal-aid system. Requires States to reserve at least an amount equivalent to the funding a State received under the bridge program for FY 1997 for bridges on either the IS, the NHS, or other Federal-aid roads.

Requires an amount equivalent to at least 15 percent of a State's FY 1997 bridge apportionment to be expended on bridges off the Federal-aid system.

Replaces the current requirement that States with Indian reservations reserve one percent of their bridge program funds for Indian reservation bridges to direct the Secretary to reserve at least $9 million for a program to fund improvements to Indian bridges.

(Sec. 1123) Extends eligibility for CMAQ funding to include areas classified as submarginal ozone nonattainment areas and maintenance areas.

Modifies eligibility for such funding to allow a State with a nonattainment area or maintenance area that received the minimum apportionment to use that amount of its apportionment not based on its nonattainment and maintenance area population on any project in the State eligible for STP funds. Excludes projects funded with CMAQ apportionments from the list of safety projects eligible for 100 percent Federal participation (making the standard 80 percent Federal share applicable).

(Sec. 1124) Amends the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 to remove Maine from the list of States (currently, Maine and New Hampshire) to which specified safety belt use law requirements apply. Updates and extends such requirements with respect to New Hampshire (requiring a belt use rate of at least 50 percent in FY 1997 through 2000).

(Sec. 1125) Expresses the sense of the Senate that each agency authorized to expend funds from this Act, or any other Federal assistance grantee under this Act: (1) should rely on private entities to provide goods and services through ordinary business channels; and (2) shall not duplicate or compete with private sector entities.

(Sec. 1126) Directs the Secretary to study and report to the Congress on the extent and effectiveness of use by States of uniformed police officers on Federal-aid highway construction projects.

(Sec. 1127) Directs that all requirements for architectural, engineering, and related services at any phase of a Federal-aid highway funded project be performed by a contract negotiated under provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949. Prohibits State restrictions on such contracts. Requires compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulations requirements, including its qualifications-based selection process. Requires an alternative State process to be certified by the Secretary.

Subtitle B: Program Streamlining and Flexibility - Chapter 1: General Provisions - Replaces ISTEA provisions directing the Secretary to deduct up to three and three quarters per cent of specified apportionments for administrative expenses with a requirement that the Secretary deduct up to one and one half percent of certain Federal-aid highway apportionments to administer the Federal-aid highway program.

(Sec. 1202) Amends Federal highway provisions to: (1) authorize advance acquisition of real property for transportation improvements (currently limited to highway projects); and (2) provide a credit for acquired lands based on the value of publicly owned lands incorporated within a federally funded project.

(Sec. 1203) Permits obligations incurred in prior fiscal years and released in a current fiscal year to be made available for reobligation.

(Sec. 1204) Repeals a restriction that applies the Federal-non-Federal matching share requirement to each payment a State receives for construction. Makes the requirement applicable to total project costs rather than to individual voucher payments.

(Sec. 1205) Replaces provisions regarding income from airspace rights-of-way with provisions regarding proceeds from the sale or lease of real property acquired with assistance from the HTF.

(Sec. 1206) Amends the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 to provide that the Secretary shall not require States to use or plan the use of the metric system (currently, the Secretary may not require such action before September 30, 2000).

(Sec. 1207) Requires the Secretary to submit to the Congress an annual (currently, monthly) report on States' obligations for Federal-aid highways, highway safety construction programs, and unobligated balances.

(Sec. 1208) Terminates the right-of-way revolving fund (and provides for a 20 year close-out period), a pilot toll collection program, and a congressional bridge commission. Directs the Secretary to terminate the National Recreational Trails Advisory Committee.

(Sec. 1209) Revises: (1) the eligible uses of funds apportioned for IM; and (2) the rules regarding the ability to transfer such funds to other Federal-aid highway programs.

Chapter 2: Project Approval - Provides for the program-wide, rather than project-by-project, transfer and administration of transit funds made available for highway projects and highway funds made available for transit projects. Requires the Secretary to administer specified funds made available and transferred to Amtrak.

(Sec. 1222) Eliminates provisions regarding State plans, specifications, and estimates for highway projects, including a provision limiting construction engineering costs to 15 percent of the total estimated costs of projects financed by Federal highway funds within a State in a fiscal year.

Directs: (1) the Secretary to act upon plans, specifications, and estimates submitted by the State transportation department as soon as practicable and to enter into an agreement formalizing the conditions of project approval; and (2) the project agreement to make provision for State funds required for the State's pro rata share of project construction and maintenance costs.

Authorizes the Secretary to discharge to the States with their approval the Secretary's responsibilities for the design, plans, specifications, estimates, contract awards, and inspection of projects on the NHS.

(Sec. 1223) Requires States to set aside eight (currently, 10) percent of the STP funds for transportation enhancement activities. Reduces the current quarterly, project-by-project State certification and notification requirements to annual, program-wide approval of each State's project agreement.

(Sec. 1224) Authorizes States to use design-build contracting for Federal-aid highway projects meeting specified minimum criteria.

(Sec. 1225) Directs the Secretary to: (1) establish an integrated decisionmaking process for surface transportation projects that designates major decision points likely to have significant environmental effects and conflicts; and (2) integrate the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 with the requirements established by the Secretary for transportation planning and decisionmaking. Outlines requirements for: (1) integrated decisionmaking goals; (2) decisionmaking streamlining and integration; (3) the establishment of a concurrent transportation and environmental coordination process to reduce paperwork and eliminate duplicative reviews; (4) interagency cooperation; (5) an enhanced surface transportation project scoping process; (6) the use of this Act's funds to establish such process; (7) roles of States in establishing and integrating such process; (8) conflict resolution concerning obstacles associated with alternative transportation projects; and (9) process timetables and a required implementation report to the Congress.

Chapter 3: Eligibility and Flexibility - Redefines "operational improvement" to include the installation, operation, or maintenance of certain intelligent transportation systems (ITS) infrastructure projects.

(Sec. 1232) Specifies that the construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities are eligible uses of NHS, STP, and CMAQ funds.

(Sec. 1233) Requires each State to set aside two percent of its STP apportionment for railway-highway crossings, two percent for hazard elimination activities, and six percent for railway highway crossings or hazard elimination activities.

(Sec. 1234) Expands eligibility of projects on the NHS and under the STP.

(Sec. 1236) Eliminates a requirement that a State highway project plan accommodate future traffic demands. Requires the Secretary to ensure the consideration of planned future traffic needs.

Subtitle C: Finance - Chapter 1: General Provisions - Authorizes the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with States for the establishment of State infrastructure banks and multistate infrastructure banks for making loans and providing other assistance to public and private entities carrying out or proposing to carry out projects eligible for assistance, subject to specified requirements.

Chapter 2: Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation - Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1997 - Establishes a transportation Federal credit assistance pilot program to provide alternative financing for eligible surface transportation projects. Sets forth eligibility criteria.

(Sec. 1315) Authorizes the Secretary to enter into agreements with one or more obligors to make secured and direct loans to finance eligible project costs (including the refinancing of interim construction financing of such project costs for a limited time period).

(Sec. 1318) Amends Federal transportation law to revise the duties of the Secretary to include, among other things, to develop and coordinate Federal policy on financing transportation infrastructure, including the provision of direct Federal credit assistance and other techniques used to leverage Federal transportation funds.

Directs the Secretary to establish within the Office of the Secretary an Office of Infrastructure Finance, headed by a Director responsible for: (1) carrying out certain responsibilities of the Secretary, and research on financing transportation infrastructure; and (2) providing technical assistance to Federal, State, and local government agencies and officials to facilitate the development and use of alternative techniques for financing transportation infrastructure.

(Sec. 1321) Makes specified sums available from the HTF for FY 1998-2003 to carry out this chapter.

(Sec. 1322) Sets forth reporting requirements.

Subtitle D: Safety - Directs the Secretary to set aside for each of FY 1998 through 2003 from STP funds: (1) $500,000 to carry out a public information and education program to help prevent and reduce motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities, and to improve driver performance at railway-highway crossings; and (2) $5 million for elimination of hazards of such crossings.

(Sec. 1403) Expands the list of projects eligible for railway-highway funds to include trespassing countermeasures in the immediate vicinity of a public railway-highway grade crossing, safety education, enforcement of traffic laws, and publicly sponsored projects at privately owned railway-highway crossings. Requires States to report to DOT on certain completed projects. Repeals a requirement that half of such funds be available for installation of protective devices at such crossings.

(Sec. 1404) Expands the list of projects eligible for hazard elimination program funds to include projects that would remove road hazards to public bicycle or pedestrian pathways or trails or other appropriate facilities or projects constituting traffic calming measures. Repeals a prohibition on States using such funds to correct hazards on IS routes.

(Sec. 1405) Requires the Secretary, if a State has not enacted or is not enforcing a repeat intoxicated driver law, to transfer one and one-half percent of a State's NHS and STP funds to the apportionment to be used for alcohol-impaired driving programs. Increases such percentage to three percent in FY 2002 and thereafter.

Defines a "repeat intoxicated driver law" as one that requires, at a minimum, drivers with alcohol concentrations greater than or equal to .15 percent who are convicted of a second or subsequent offense within five years of the earlier conviction to receive a license suspension for at least one year, an assessment of the degree of alcohol abuse and treatment, as appropriate, and 30 days' community service or 5 days' imprisonment.

(Sec. 1406) Provides incentive grants to States that either obtain a State seat belt use rate above the national average or increase the State seat belt usage. Makes funding available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 1407) Deems a manufacturer or distributor of a motor vehicle to be in compliance with applicable motor vehicle safety performance standards for occupant crash protection if the vehicle meets the applicable requirements for testing with the simultaneous use of both an automatic restraint system and a manual seat belt.

Subtitle E: Environment - Directs the Secretary to carry out a National Scenic Byways program, and to make grants and provide technical assistance to States to implement National Scenic Byways, State scenic byways, and All-American Roads projects and plan, design, and develop a State scenic byway program. Sets the Federal share at 80 percent, with exceptions. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 1502) Allows an MPO, State transportation department, or other project sponsor to enter into an agreement with any public, private, or nonprofit entity to cooperatively implement any project carried out under CMAQ. Provides that activities eligible for funding in the case of projects for the use of alternative fuels by privately owned vehicles or vehicle fleets: (1) may include costs of vehicle refueling infrastructure and other capital investments associated with the project; and (2) shall include only the incremental cost of an alternative fueled vehicle compared to a conventional vehicle that would otherwise be borne by a private party and apply other governmental financial purchase contributions in the calculation of net incremental cost. Prohibits a Federal participation payment from being made regarding any activity required under the Clean Air Act or any other Federal law.

(Sec. 1503) Directs the Secretary to establish a national wetland restoration pilot program to fund specified mitigation projects to offset the degradation of wetlands, or the loss of functions and values of the aquatic resource, resulting from highway projects carried out before December 27, 1977, for which mitigation has not been performed.

Sets forth provisions regarding selection of projects (and the formation of an interagency advisory council), selection criteria for priority projects, and reporting requirements. Makes specified funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

Subtitle F: Planning - Revises provisions regarding metropolitan transportation planning.

Sets forth specified boundary requirements for urbanized areas designated after this Act's enactment as ozone or carbon monoxide nonattainment areas, including that the boundaries of the metropolitan planning area be established by agreement between the local government and the Governor and encompass at least the urbanized and contiguous areas expected to become urbanized in a 20-year forecast period.

Revises factors to be considered in the metropolitan transportation planning process. Requires such factors and State or local goals to be addressed in long-range transportation plans as they relate to a 20-year forecast and other forecast periods determined by planning process participants.

Requires financial plans included in transportation management programs to indicate available resources and innovative financing techniques without requirements for indicating project-specific funding sources.

Lists parties responsible for selection of federally funded projects to be implemented in metropolitan areas from approved transportation improvement programs.

Authorizes the Secretary to withhold up to 20 percent of Federal highway and mass transportation funds attributable to a transportation management area if a metropolitan planning process is not certified. (Currently, all or part of STP funds may be withheld for failures to certify.)

(Sec. 1602) Makes amendments to statewide planning provisions similar to those made to metropolitan planning provisions with respect to: (1) factors considered in the planning process; (2) elimination of requirements for project-specific funding sources; and (3) 20-year forecast period for long-range transportation plans.

(Sec. 1603) Directs the Secretary to establish: (1) an advanced travel forecasting procedures program; and (2) a comprehensive initiative to investigate and address the relationships between transportation and community and system preservation. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

Subtitle G: Technical Corrections - Makes technical and conforming changes to Federal highway law. Increases the maximum allowable mileage on the NHS to 178,250 miles.

Describes the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways and limits maximum mileage on the IS to 43,000 miles, exclusive of additional designations authorized by the Secretary.

Subtitle H: Miscellaneous Provisions - Designates as Interstate Route 86 a specified portion of State Route 17 between Harriman, New York and Erie, Pennsylvania. Requires such road to be upgraded to meet IS requirements.

Title II: Research and Technology - Subtitle A: Research and Training - Amends Federal transportation law to direct the Secretary to establish a strategic planning process to: (1) determine national transportation research, development, and technology (RD&T) deployment priorities, strategies, and milestones over the next five years; (2) coordinate Federal transportation RD&T deployment activities; and (3) measure the impact of specified RD&T investments on the performance of the U.S. transportation system.

Sets forth provisions regarding transactional authority of the Secretary, implementation of such process, and reporting requirements. Authorizes funds from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 2002) Directs the Secretary to establish a Multimodal Transportation Research and Development Program. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 2003) Directs the Secretary to make grants to, or enter into contracts with, selected nonprofit institutions of higher learning to: (1) operate one university transportation center in each of the ten Federal administrative regions that comprise the Standard Federal Regional Boundary System; and (2) continue operation of specified transportation centers and institutes. Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to such institutions to establish and operate up to four additional centers to address specified transportation issues.

Sets forth provisions regarding selection criteria, the Federal cost share, program coordination, and review and evaluation. Makes funds available from the HTF for each of FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 2004) Expands the list of topics to be covered by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), including transportation-related variables influencing global competitiveness.

Requires the Director of BTS to: (1) establish and maintain a transportation data base for all modes of transportation, and a National Transportation Library; and (2) develop and maintain geospatial data bases that depict transportation networks, flows of people, goods, vehicles, and craft over the networks, and social, economic, and environmental conditions that affect or are affected by the networks.

Authorizes the Secretary to make specified research and development grants, including for development of electronic clearinghouses of transportation data and related information, as part of the National Transportation Library.

Requires the Director to conduct a study measuring and evaluating various aspects of international trade traffic carried by State highways for apportionment purposes.

Sets forth provisions regarding prohibited disclosures, and disposition of proceeds of data product sales. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 2005) Directs the Secretary to: (1) carry out certain transportation-related RD&T transfer activities (and authorizes the Secretary to test, develop, or assist in testing and developing any material, invention, patented article, or process); and (2) develop and carry out programs to facilitate the application of such products of research and technical innovations as will improve the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of the transportation system.

Authorizes the Secretary to carry out certain collaborative research and development activities. Sets forth mandatory elements of surface transportation RD&T transfer programs.

(Sec. 2006) Directs the Secretary to establish an advanced research program within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to address longer-term, higher-risk research that shows potential benefits for improving the durability, mobility, efficiency, environmental impact, productivity, and safety of transportation systems. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 2007) Directs the Secretary to complete long-term pavement performance program tests through the midpoint of a planned 20-year life of the program. Makes HTF funds available for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 2008) Makes two percent of certain transportation funds available to the States for each fiscal year to fund planning and research.

(Sec. 2009) Directs the Secretary to carry out a transportation assistance program to provide access to modern highway technology to: (1) certain low-population and rural highway and transportation agencies; and (2) contractors who work for such agencies. Authorizes the Secretary to make grants and enter into cooperative agreements and contracts to: (1) assist rural local transportation agencies, tribal governments, and consultants; (2) deliver transportation technology and traffic safety information to local jurisdictions; (3) operate local technical assistance program centers; and (4) allow local transportation agencies and tribal governments to enhance new technology implementation. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) establish and operate in FHWA a National Highway Institute; and (2) carry out a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program to attract qualified students to the field of transportation. Makes funds available from the HTF for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 2010) Provides authorized uses of international highway transportation outreach program funds. Enables States to use their State Planning and Research Program Funds for program activities.

(Sec. 2011) Directs the Secretary to develop and administer a national technology deployment initiatives and partnerships program. Sets forth reporting requirements. Makes HTF funds available for FY 1998 through 2003.

(Sec. 2012) Directs the Secretary to: (1) report every two years on estimates of the future highway and bridge needs of the United States; (2) establish and carry out a program to demonstrate the application of innovative material technology in the construction of bridges and other structures (and makes HTF funds available for FY 1998 through 2003); (3) make a grant to, or enter into a cooperative agreement or contract with, the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study to determine the goals, purposes, research agenda and projects, administrative structure, and fiscal needs for a new strategic highway research program (and sets reporting requirements); (4) encourage and promote joint partnerships for advanced vehicles, components, and infrastructure (and sets forth reporting requirements and authorizes appropriations); and (5) establish and carry out a transportation and environment cooperative research program (requiring the establishment of an advisory board and authorizing appropriations for FY 1998 through 2003).

Subtitle B: Intelligent Transportation Systems - Intelligent Transportation Systems Act of 1997 - Directs the Secretary to carry out a comprehensive program of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) research, development, operational testing, technical assistance and training, national architecture activities, standards development and implementation, and other similar activities, including a program to conduct research, development, and engineering designed to stimulate and advance deployment of an integrated intelligent vehicle program and an integrated intelligent infrastructure program.

Sets forth provisions regarding priorities, cost sharing, a six-year plan, reporting and evaluation requirements, and funding.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) maintain a repository for technical and safety data collected as a result of federally sponsored projects and, upon request, make such information (except for proprietary information and data) readily available to all users of the repository at an appropriate cost; (2) carry out a program to advance traffic incident management and response technologies, strategies, and partnerships that are fully integrated with ITS; (3) conduct a comprehensive program to accelerate the integration and interoperability of ITS; (4) conduct a comprehensive program to accelerate the integration or deployment of ITS in rural areas; and (5) carry out a comprehensive program to promote the safety and productivity of commercial vehicles and drivers, and reduce costs associated with commercial vehicle operations and State and Federal commercial vehicle regulatory requirements. Makes HTF funds available for FY 1998 through 2003.

Directs the Secretary to encourage multistate agreements intended to promote regional cooperation, planning, and implementation for ITS projects.

Requires the Secretary to develop, implement, and maintain a national architecture and supporting standards to promote the widespread use and evaluation of ITS technology as a component of U.S. surface transportation systems. Sets forth provisions regarding reporting requirements, waivers, funding limitations, and advisory committees.

Repeals the Intelligent Transportation Systems Act of 1991.

Subtitle C: Funding - Makes funds available from the HTF for research, technology, and training for FY 1998 through 2003. Limits obligations for each such year.