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

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (01/07/2003)

National Defense Rail Act - Requires studies or assessments of: (1) security risks associated with freight and intercity passenger rail transportation; (2) security priorities; (3) rail crossing delay security issues; (4) existing rail safety regulations; (5) foreign rail transport security programs; and (6) the feasibility of passenger, baggage, and cargo screening.

Directs the Secretary of Transportation to: (1) establish a national high-speed ground transportation policy; and (2) provide 100 percent financial assistance to develop and implement high-speed rail corridors according to designated priorities, including the elimination of hazards of railway-highway crossings.

Requires such projects to comply with Buy American and competitive bidding requirements, and specified labor standards, including the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act.

Defines the national rail passenger transportation system. Authorizes Amtrak to operate an intercity rail service or route not included in such system, as specified. Declares that nothing in this Act is intended to preclude Amtrak from restoring, improving, or developing non-high-speed intercity passenger rail service. Repeals the requirement that Amtrak be self-sufficient. Authorizes additional appropriations for Amtrak for retirement of principal and interest on its debt service, and for improving accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities, including compliance with environmental regulations. Authorizes appropriations for the Northeast Corridor, long and short distance trains, and State-supported routes.

Directs the Secretary to re-establish the Northeast Corridor Safety Committee. Revises requirements concerning the Amtrak board of directors. Requires an independent audit of Amtrak operations and the development of a five-year financial plan.

Revises requirements of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 concerning loans and loan guarantees.

Directs the Secretary to establish a rail passenger cooperative research program, including an advisory board.