Text: H.R.6064 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/30/2010)


111th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 6064

To provide certain rights to commuters who ride public transportation.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 30, 2010

Mr. Ruppersberger introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


A BILL

To provide certain rights to commuters who ride public transportation.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Commuter Bill of Rights Act of 2010”.

SEC. 2. Definitions.

For purposes of this Act the following definitions apply:

(1) ELIGIBLE RECIPIENT.—The term “eligible recipient” means a provider of public transportation.

(2) PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.—The term ‘‘public transportation’’ means transportation by a conveyance that provides regular and continuing general or special transportation to the public, but does not include schoolbus, charter, sightseeing, or intercity bus transportation or intercity passenger rail transportation provided by the entity described in chapter 243 (or a successor to such entity).

(3) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Transportation.

SEC. 3. Commuter Transit Rights Commission.

(a) Establishment.—There is established an independent commission to be known as the “Commuter Transit Rights Commission” (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the “Commission”).

(b) Duties of the Commission.—The duties of the Commission shall be—

(1) to evaluate current Federal rules and regulations on commuter safety in emergency situations that govern transit providers;

(2) to evaluate contingency plans that transit providers use across the United States and identify best practices; and

(3) to make recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation (referred to in this Act as the “Secretary”) pursuant to subsection (h).

(c) Membership.—

(1) NUMBER AND APPOINTMENT.—Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission, which shall be composed of 12 members, shall be appointed by the Secretary as follows:

(A) 2 members shall be commuters of public transportation.

(B) 2 members shall be experts in rail safety.

(C) 2 members shall be experts in water transportation.

(D) 2 members shall be employees of State transportation agencies.

(E) 2 members shall be experts in passenger safety.

(F) 2 members shall be experts in emergency medicine.

(2) RESTRICTION.—No employee of the Department of Transportation may serve as a member of the Commission.

(3) CHAIRPERSON.—The Chairperson of the Commission shall be elected by the members at the initial meeting.

(d) Terms.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Each member shall be appointed for the life of the commission.

(2) VACANCIES.—A vacancy on the Commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(3) PAY AND TRAVEL EXPENSES.—

(A) PAY.—Except as provided in subparagraph (C), each member of the Commission shall be paid at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the minimum annual rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day, including travel time, during which he or she is engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission.

(B) TRAVEL EXPENSES.—Members shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

(C) PROHIBITION OF COMPENSATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.—Members of the Commission who are full-time officers or employees of the United States or Members of Congress may not receive additional pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the Commission.

(e) Meetings.—

(1) INITIAL MEETING.—Not later than 30 days after the date on which all members of the Commission are appointed, the Commission shall hold its first meeting.

(2) SUBSEQUENT MEETINGS.—The commission shall meet monthly at the call of the Chairperson.

(3) QUORUM.—A majority of the Commission shall constitute a quorum but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(f) Staff.—The Chairperson may appoint and fix the pay of additional personnel as the Chairperson considers appropriate.

(g) Powers of the Commission.—

(1) HEARINGS AND SESSIONS.—The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this Act, hold hearings, sit and act at times and places, take testimony, and receive evidence as the Commission considers appropriate.

(2) POWERS OF MEMBERS AND AGENTS.—Any member or agent of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take by this section.

(h) Recommendations.—

(1) COMMUTER BILL OF RIGHTS.—Not later than 160 days after its initial meeting, the Commission shall make recommendations to the Secretary that shall be known as the “Commuter Bill of Rights”. The Commuter Bill of Rights shall include the following:

(A) A list of situations in which a provider of public transportation shall implement its contingency plan.

(B) Recommendations for the minimum standards that a contingency plan of a provider of public transportation must meet, including the following:

(i) Provision of food, water, restrooms, ventilation, and medical services.

(ii) Distribution of critical information to commuters on a disabled or delayed train or other transit vehicle, including a time frame for when commuters will be permitted to exit such disabled or delayed transit vehicle and how such commuters will be redirected to their final destinations in a timely manner.

(C) Recommendations for Federal regulations on commuter safety in an emergency situation.

(2) PROCEDURE.—A majority of the Commission shall approve each recommendation before it is included in the Commuter Bill of Rights and submitted to the Secretary.

(3) SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT.—The Commission shall submit a supplemental report to the Secretary along with the Commuter Bill of Rights that contains all of the recommendations that the Commission considered, including those recommendations that did not receive a majority vote for inclusion in the Commuter Bill of Rights.

(i) Termination.—The Commission shall terminate on the date that the Commission submits the Commuter Bill of Rights and supplemental report to the Secretary under subsection (h).

SEC. 4. Grant program.

(a) Authorization of grant program.—The Secretary may provide grants on a competitive basis to providers of public transportation to develop and implement contingency plans that fulfill the Commuter Bill of Rights.

(b) Application.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, an eligible recipient shall submit an application not later than 90 days after the Secretary has issued a notice of availability at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may reasonably require.

(2) CONTINGENCY PLAN IMPLEMENTATION.—An eligible recipient shall include in its application a cost estimate of implementing the contingency plan to fulfill the Consumer Bill of Rights.

(3) CERTIFICATION.—When submitting an application, a provider of public transportation shall certify to the Secretary that the provider will implement its contingency plan not later than 90 days after receiving a grant under this section.

(d) Amount of grants.—An eligible recipient may only receive one grant under this section. The amount of such grant shall be the greater of $50,000 or 50 percent of the total amount of costs estimated in implementing the Commuter Bill of Rights as determined by the Secretary.

SEC. 5. Duties of the Secretary.

(a) In general.—The Secretary shall review the Commuter Bill of Rights submitted by the Commission under section 3 and issue regulations to require providers of public transportation to comply with the standards recommended by the Commuter Bill of Rights.

(b) Federal policies.—The Secretary shall use the Bill of Rights as recommended by the Commission to develop federal policies that will require compliance with the Bill of Rights by commuter transit providers. Such policies shall include—

(1) a requirement for providers of public transportation to submit for approval by the Secretary a proposed contingency plan meeting minimum standards according to the Bill of Rights;

(2) a requirement that contingency plans be reviewed and updated as necessary and re-submitted to the Secretary every 5 years; and

(3) a requirement that providers of public transportation comply with the final rule issued pursuant to subsection (a) not later than 180 days after the rule is issued under subsection (a).

(c) Penalties and sanctions.—The Secretary may assess appropriate penalties or sanctions for non-compliance as determined by the Secretary against providers of public transportation who fail to submit, obtain approval of, or adhere to its contingency plan.

(d) Bill of rights to Congress.—When the Secretary receives the Consumer Bill of Rights from the Committee, the Secretary shall forward a copy of such bill of rights to Congress.

(e) Consumer hotline.—The Secretary shall establish a consumer hotline telephone number for public transportation complaints in which the Secretary responds to consumer complaints not later than 30 days after submission of a complaint.

SEC. 6. Authorization of appropriations.

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary, such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act, to remain available until expended.