H.R.22 - FAST Act114th Congress (2015-2016)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Davis, Rodney [R-IL-13] (Introduced 01/06/2015)|
|Committees:||House - Ways and Means | Senate - Finance|
|Committee Reports:||S. Rept. 114-3; H. Rept. 114-357 (Conference Report)|
|Latest Action:||12/04/2015 Became Public Law No: 114-94. (TXT | PDF) (All Actions)|
|Roll Call Votes:||There have been 52 roll call votes|
This bill has the status Became Law
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
- Passed House
- Passed Senate
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Summary: H.R.22 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 114-94 (12/04/2015)
Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or the FAST Act
DIVISION A--SURFACE TRANSPORTATION
(Sec. 1002) Directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to reduce the amount apportioned for a surface transportation program, project, or activity for FY2016 by amounts apportioned or allocated under any extension of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) for the period beginning October 1, 2015, and ending upon enactment of this Act.
TITLE I--FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS
Subtitle A--Authorizations and Programs
(Sec. 1101) Reauthorizes through FY2020:
- certain core federal-aid highway programs;
- the transportation infrastructure finance and innovation program;
- the federal lands, tribal transportation, and federal lands transportation and access programs;
- the territorial and Puerto Rico highway program; and
- nationally significant freight and highway projects.
Requires the expenditure of at least 10% of amounts made available for federal-aid highways and public transportation programs through small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
Directs states to compile annual lists of small disadvantaged business enterprises according to minimum uniform criteria established by DOT.
(Sec. 1102) Prescribes obligation ceilings for certain federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, with specified exceptions.
Prescribes requirements, including a formula, and restrictions for certain FY2016-FY2020 distributions from the obligation limitation for federal-aid highways.
Directs DOT to redistribute to the states any federal-aid highway program funds that, because of any imposed obligation limitation, will not be allocated or otherwise made available to them for obligation for surface transportation program projects.
(Sec. 1104) Authorizes appropriations through FY2020 for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) administrative expenses.
Revises and renames the surface transportation program as the surface transportation block grant program (STBGP) (as established by section 1109 of this Act).
Requires DOT to set-aside specified amounts of a state's base apportionment of core program funds for the national highway freight program and metropolitan transportation planning.
Directs DOT also to reserve certain amounts to states for:
- the national highway performance program for FY2019 and FY2020, and
- the STBGP through FY2020.
(Sec. 1105) Authorizes DOT to make competitive grants to a state or group of states, a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) that serves an urbanized area with a population of more than than 200,000 individuals, a unit of local government or group of local governments, or other specified entities to furnish financial assistance for nationally significant freight and highway projects.
Requires DOT to reserve out of such grant amounts for each fiscal year:
- 10% for small projects, and
- at least 25% for projects in rural areas.
Makes the maximum federal share of project costs 60%.
(Sec. 1106) Revises requirements for the national highway performance program.
Authorizes DOT, upon request, to allow a state to use its apportionment of national highway performance program funds to pay subsidy and administrative costs of Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program secured loans, loan guarantees, or credit for surface transportation projects for a state, local government, public authority, public-private partnership, or any other legal entity.
Allows a state's apportionment to be obligated for projects:
- for the reconstruction or rehabilitation of federal-aid highway bridges (non-National Highway System bridges), and
- to reduce the risk of failure of critical transportation infrastructure.
(Sec. 1107) Revises requirements for the emergency relief fund program.
Treats as an eligible expense for emergency relief program funding the costs of disaster debris removal for projects for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid highways on tribal transportation facilities, federal lands transportation facilities, or other federally-owned roads that are open to public travel.
(Sec. 1108) Revises and reauthorizes requirements for the set-aside of highway safety improvement program funds for states for the same period for the elimination of hazards and the installation of protective devices at railway-highway crossings.
(Sec. 1109) Establishes in DOT an surface transportation block grant program (STBGP).
Requires states to obligate for each fiscal year specified graduated percentages of apportioned funds in:
- urbanized areas with a population of over 200,000, and
- rural areas with a population greater than 5,000.
Directs DOT to reserve certain amounts of the state apportionment of funds for each fiscal year for surface transportation projects or activities or transportation alternatives projects.
Requires states to obligate an amount of reserved funds for each fiscal year equal to the amount apportioned to the state for the surface transportation program for FY2009 for recreational trails projects.
(Sec. 1110) Reduces the amount DOT must deduct from FHWA administrative funds each fiscal year for highway use tax evasion projects.
(Sec. 1111) Prescribes requirements for the bundling of two or more similar projects for the replacement or repair of structurally deficient bridges.
(Sec. 1112) Revises formulae for certain allocations of funds to states for construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities.
Reauthorizes the program through FY2020. Certain funds are made available for the National Ferry Database.
(Sec. 1113) Revises the highway safety improvement program.
Makes eligible as highway safety improvement projects any installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication equipment, pedestrian hybrid beacons, roadway improvements that provide separation between pedestrians and motor vehicles, and other types of infrastructure safety projects.
Authorizes states to elect not to collect certain data on unpaved public roads regarding the model inventory of roadways if certain requirements are met.
Eliminates the definition of "state highway safety improvement programs."
Requires DOT to review best practices for implementation of roadway safety infrastructure improvements to reduce the number or severity of commercial motor vehicle accidents.
(Sec. 1114) Revises congestion mitigation and air quality improvement (CMAQ) program requirements.
Authorizes states to obligate the apportionment of CMAQ program funds for projects for the installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication equipment in nonattainment or maintenance areas for particulate matter.
Declares that requirements for priority use of congestion mitigation and air quality project funds in PM2.5 nonattainment or maintenance areas shall not apply in any state with a population density of 80 or fewer persons per square mile of land area if certain criteria are met.
Authorizes states or metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) also to elect to obligate PM2.5 priority funds to the most cost-effective CMAQ projects to reduce emissions from port-related landside nonroad or on-road equipment that operates within a PM2.5 nonattainment or maintenance area.
(Sec. 1115) Increases the authorization of appropriations for the Puerto Rico highway and territorial highway programs.
(Sec. 1116) Revises national freight program requirements.
Renames the national freight network the National Highway Freight Network.
Authorizes the MPO representative in an urbanized area with a population of 500,000 or more to designate a public road within the borders of that area of the state as a critical urban freight corridor. Authorizes the state to do the same for an urbanized area with a population under 500,000.
Requires states that have not met, or made significant progress toward meeting, certain performance targets related to freight movement of the state to report biennially to DOT on actions the state will undertake to achieve the targets.
Prescribes requirements for the use of apportioned funds, including development of intelligent freight transportation systems. The term "intelligent freight transportation system" means:
- innovative or intelligent technological transportation systems, infrastructure, or facilities; or
- communications or information processing systems that improve the efficiency or safety of freight movements on the federal-aid highway system.
(Sec. 1117) Revises the federal lands and tribal transportation programs.
Requires entities carrying out a project under the tribal transportation program to report annually to DOT and to the Department of the Interior on specified project data.
Directs DOT to:
- report to Congress on the quality of transportation safety data collected by states, counties, and Indian tribes for transportation systems and its relevance to improving the collection and sharing of data on crashes on Indian reservations; and
- identify and evaluate in a separate study any options for improving safety on public roads on Indian reservations.
(Sec. 1118) Revises funding requirements for the tribal transportation program to:
- reduce from 6% to 5% of authorized program funds the maximum amount that either DOT or Interior may use for certain administrative expenses, and
- increase from 2% to 3% of such funds the allocation for specified bridge projects.
(Sec. 1119) Extends the federal lands transportation program and its funds allocations to the transportation systems of Interior's Bureau of Land Management.
(Sec. 1120) Authorizes DOT to conduct cooperative research and technology deployment in coordination with federal land management agencies for transportation planning of federal lands and tribal transportation facilities projects.
Requires DOT to combine and use no more than 5% of federal lands transportation program and federal lands access program funds for transportation planning activities for federal lands transportation facilities, federal lands access transportation facilities, and other federally-owned roads open to public travel.
Allows the use of such funds also for:
- inspections of federally-owned bridges even if not included in the national federal lands transportation facility inventory, and
- transportation planning activities carried out by federal land management agencies.
(Sec. 1121) Directs DOT to establish a tribal transportation self-governance program via a compact with an Indian tribe, subject to negotiated annual written funding arrangements with the tribe.
Requires any funding agreement to authorize the Indian tribe to plan, conduct, consolidate, administer, and receive full tribal share funding, tribal transit formula funding, and funding to tribes from DOT-administered discretionary and competitive grants for all programs, services, functions, and activities to carry out tribal transportation programs and DOT-administered programs, services, functions, and activities.
(Sec. 1122) Directs DOT to issue guidance on working with state departments of transportation that request assistance from FHWA division offices to:
- review principal arterials within a state that were added to the National Highway System (NHS) as of October 1, 2012, and
- identify any necessary functional classification changes to rural and urban principal arterials.
Requires DOT to:
- review the NHS modification process, and
- ensure that a state may submit requests to modify the NHS by withdrawing a road from it.
(Sec. 1123) Directs DOT to establish a program to fund construction, reconstruction, or rehabilitation of nationally significant federal lands and tribal transportation projects.
Authorizes appropriations through FY2020.
Subtitle B--Planning and Performance Management
(Sec. 1201) Revises requirements for metropolitan transportation planning.
Prescribes requirements for selection of MPO officials or representatives.
Authorizes MPOs serving a transportation management area to develop a congestion management plan that includes projects and strategies that will be considered in the MPO's transportation improvement program.
Treats the Bi-State MPO Region as:
- an MPO,
- a transportation management area, and
- an urbanized area (comprising a population of 145,000 in California and a population of 65,000 in Nevada).
Prescribes formulae for the suballocation of STBGP and transportation alternatives program funds for a fiscal year for the Bi-State MPO Region.
(Sec. 1202) Revises requirements for statewide and nonmetropolitan transportation planning.
Subtitle C--Acceleration of Project Delivery
(Sec. 1301)Prescribes requirements for DOT in highway and public transportation planning to preserve certain historic sites, especially by aligning, to the maximum extent practicable, specified preservation requirements with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and any avoidance alternative analysis it requires.
(Sec. 1303) Exempts from consideration for parkland, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, and historic site preservation purposes any common post-1945 concrete or steel bridge or culvert already exempt from individual review of its effect on any historic property.
(Sec. 1304) Prescribes procedures for accelerating the project delivery decisionmaking process regarding:
- environmental review of highway, public transportation, or multimodal projects;
- coordination among relevant agencies in meeting project deadlines;
- public availability of the status and progress of projects requiring compliance with NEPA review and other federal, state, or local approval;
- integration of planning and environmental review of projects between the lead agency (DOT) and participating federal and non-federal agencies;
- adoption of departmental environmental assessments or environmental impact statements of other operating administrations; and
- federal coordination of the environmental review and permitting process for transportation projects.
Grants DOT, as federal lead agency in the environmental review process for a highway, public transportation capital, or multimodal project, authority and responsibility to consider and respond to comments received from participating federal and non-federal agencies on matters within their special expertise or jurisdiction.
(Sec. 1305) Revises requirements for the integration of planning and environmental review.
(Sec. 1306) Changes from discretionary to mandatory the authority of federal agencies responsible for the environmental review of a transportation project to give substantial weight to recommendations in the programmatic mitigation plans of states and MPOs.
(Sec. 1307) Requires DOT, upon state request, to give technical assistance to a state assuming responsibility for making categorical exclusion determinations for highway or related projects.
(A "categorical exclusion" under NEPA is a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and which have been found to have no such effect in procedures adopted by a federal agency in implementing environmental regulations and for which, therefore, neither an Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement is required.)
(Sec. 1308) Revises requirements for termination of a state from the surface transportation project delivery program, increasing from 30 to 120 days the time DOT must give a state to take corrective action.
Authorizes DOT, in cooperation with state officials, to carry out education, training, peer-exchange, and other initiatives to assist states in developing capacity building for environmental review of projects under NEPA.
(Sec. 1309) Directs DOT to establish a pilot program to authorize states to conduct environmental review of projects under state laws instead of NEPA.
(Sec. 1310) Revises requirements for application of categorical exclusions for multimodal projects, including acceleration of decisionmaking in environmental reviews.
(Sec. 1312) Authorizes a public entity receiving DOT financial assistance for one or more projects, or for a program of projects, for a public purpose to request DOT to allow it to furnish funds to federal agencies, including DOT, state agencies, and Indian tribes participating in the environmental planning and review process for the project, projects, or program, but only to support activities that directly and meaningfully contribute to expediting and improving permitting and review processes.
(Sec. 1313) Directs DOT, in coordination with federal agencies likely to have substantive review or approval responsibilities under federal law, to develop a coordinated and concurrent environmental review and permitting process for transportation projects, meeting specified criteria, when initiating an environmental impact statement.
(Sec. 1314) Amends MAP-21 to require inflation adjustments to specified dollar amounts indicating the maximum federal assistance to certain federal-aid highway projects which must be categorically excluded from the requirements relating to environmental assessments or environmental impact statements.
(Sec. 1315) Directs DOT to develop a template programmatic agreement with states that provides for efficient procedures for evaluating categorical exclusion determinations.
(Sec. 1316) Directs DOT to:
- allow states to assume DOT responsibilities for project design, plans, specifications, estimates, contract awards, and inspection of projects, on both a project-specific and programmatic basis; and
- recommend to Congress legislation to permit the assumption of additional authorities by states, including about real estate acquisition and project design.
(Sec. 1317) Directs DOT to examine ways to modernize and improve the NEPA environmental review process for federal-aid highway projects.
(Sec. 1318) Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess progress made under this Act, MAP-21, and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) to accelerate the delivery of federal-aid highway and highway safety construction projects and public transportation capital projects by streamlining the environmental review and permitting process.
(Sec. 1401) Prohibits, through FY2020, the use of a state's apportionment of highway safety improvement program funds to purchase, operate, or maintain an automated traffic enforcement system, except any located in school zones.
Defines "automated traffic enforcement system" to mean any camera that captures an image of a vehicle for purposes of traffic law enforcement.
(Sec. 1402) Requires DOT to compile and make available on the DOT public website any data on the amounts of federal-aid highway program funds made available under this title for each fiscal year.
(Sec. 1403) Requires DOT to make available certain additional funds deposited into the HTF Highway Account or Mass Transit Account for federal-aid highway programs.
Reauthorizes appropriations through FY2020.
(Sec. 1404) Requires a design for new construction or rehabilitation of NHS highways to take into account, in addition to other specified criteria, the environment and safety for other modes of transportation, as well as cost savings by utilizing flexibility in current design guidance and regulations.
(Sec. 1405) Requires any requested or required justification report for a project that would add a point of access to, or exit from, the Interstate System to include new or modified freeway-to-crossroad interchanges inside a transportation management area.
(Sec. 1407) Makes eligible for funding under the National Highway Performance Program and the Surface Transportation Program any projects for the installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication equipment.
(Sec. 1409) Declares that, for Interstate System (IS) vehicle weight limitation purposes, any vehicle carrying fluid milk products shall be considered a load that cannot be easily dismantled or divided, and so are eligible for a special permit.
(Sec. 1410) Exempts certain heavy-duty tow and recovery vehicles traveling on federal highways from federal vehicle weight limitations.
Allows federal truck weight limitations to remain in place on specified highways in Texas and Arkansas.
Directs DOT to waive federal vehicle weight limitations for certain logging vehicles operating on IS highways in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Prohibits states from enforcing against an emergency vehicle a vehicle weight limit (up to a maximum vehicle weight of 86,000 pounds) of less than:
- 24,000 pounds on a single steering axle,
- 33,500 pounds on a single drive axle,
- 62,000 pounds on a tandem axle, or
- 52,000 pounds on a tandem rear drive steer axle.
Defines the term "emergency vehicle" to mean a vehicle designed to be used under emergency conditions to:
- transport personnel and equipment, and
- support the suppression of fires and mitigation of other hazardous situations.
Allows natural gas vehicles to exceed any vehicle weight limit (up to a maximum vehicle weight of 82,000 pounds) by an amount equal to the difference between:
- the weight of the vehicle attributable to the vehicle's natural gas tank and fueling system, and
- the weight of a comparable diesel tank and fueling system.
(Sec. 1411)Revises requirements for the toll roads, bridges, tunnels, and ferries program.
Requires over-the-road buses that serve the public to have access to toll facilities equal to that of public transportation buses.
Defines the term "over-the-road bus" to mean a bus characterized by an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment.Revises certain exceptions to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) facility requirements.
Authorizes the public authority to allow a public transportation vehicle use of HOV facilities if it provides equal access for all public transportation vehicles and over-the-road buses serving the public.
Authorizes the public authority also to allow use of HOV facilities by:
- vehicles if a toll is paid and the authority ensures that over-the-road buses serving the public have the same access as public transportation buses, and
- alternative fuel vehicles and new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles provided certain requirements are met.
Amends the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century to revise requirements for the interstate system reconstruction and rehabilitation pilot program. Prescribes requirements for final approval of state applications to collect tolls on highways, bridges, or tunnels for projects for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of interstate highway corridors.
(Sec. 1412) Authorizes payment from the state apportionment of federal-aid highway program funds for projects at railway-highway grade crossings to eliminate hazards posed by blocked grade crossings due to idling trains.
(Sec. 1413) Directs DOT to designate national electric vehicle charging and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling corridors that identify the need for electric vehicle charging, hydrogen fueling, propane fueling, and natural gas fueling infrastructures at strategic locations along major national highways.
Authorizes the General Services Administration (GSA) to install (on a reimbursable basis) battery recharging stations in GSA-owned parking areas for vehicles of GSA employees, tenant federal agencies, and other authorized individuals. Requires the GSA or the federal agency the charge fees to individuals to use such stations.
(Sec. 1414) Revises federal requirements for minimum state penalties for repeat offenders for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence.
Adds a 24-7 sobriety program to criteria for state repeat offender laws.
Specifies exceptions to the requirement of an ignition interlock device on a vehicle of an individual with restricted driving privileges
(Sec. 1415) Authorizes as an eligible cost for a federal-aid highway construction project the cost of improving habitat and forage for pollinators (i.e., bees, birds, bats, Monarch and other butterflies) on rights-of-way adjacent to such highways.
Requires DOT, in conjunction with willing states, to carry out programs that encourage:
- integrated vegetation management practices on roadsides and other transportation rights-of-way, including reduced mowing; and
- the development of habitat and forage for pollinators through planting of native forbs and grasses, including noninvasive, native milkweed species.
(Sec. 1416) Amends the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) to revise the high priority Raleigh-Norfolk Corridor of the NHS between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia, to include Rocky Mount, Williamston, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Includes Texas State Highway 44 from United States Route 59 at Freer, Texas, to Texas State Highway 358 as part of the high priority Lower Rio Grande Valley Corridor of the NHS in Texas.
Designates as a high priority corridor on the NHS, as part of Interstate Route I-11, the Intermountain West Corridor from the vicinity of Las Vegas, Nevada, extending north along U.S. Route 95, terminating at Interstate Route 80.Declares as high priority corridors on the NHS as well as segments of the IS:
- U.S. Route 117/Interstate Route 795 from U.S. Route 70 in Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina, to Interstate Route 40 west of Faison, Sampson County, North Carolina;
- U.S. Route 70 from its intersection with Interstate Route 40 in Garner, Wake County, North Carolina, to the Port at Morehead City, Carteret County, North Carolina;
- Sonoran Corridor along State Route 410 connecting Interstate Route 19 and Interstate Route 10 south of the Tucson International Airport;
- the Central Texas Corridor commencing at the logical terminus of Interstate 10, and generally following portions of U.S. Route 190 eastward passing in the vicinity Fort Hood, Killeen, Belton, Temple, Bryan, College Station, Huntsville, Livingston, Woodville, and to the logical terminus of Texas Highway 63 at the Sabine River Bridge at Burrs Crossing;
- Interstate Route 81 in New York from its intersection with Interstate Route 86 to the United States-Canadian border;
- Interstate Route 70 from Denver, Colorado, to Salt Lake City, Utah;
- Oregon 99W Newberg-Dundee Bypass Route between Newberg, Oregon, and Dayton, Oregon; and
- Interstate Route 205 in Oregon from its intersection with Interstate Route 5 to the Columbia River.
Amends the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008 to direct DOT to designate as a future Interstate Route 69 Spur, the Audubon Parkway between Henderson, Kentucky, and Owensboro, Kentucky, and as a future Interstate Route 65 and 66 Spur, the William H. Natcher Parkway between Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Owensboro, Kentucky.
(Sec. 1417) Makes eligible for work zone safety training program grants the development, updating, and delivery of training courses on guard rail installation, maintenance, and inspection.
(Sec. 1418) Amends MAP-21 to direct DOT to set-aside for each of FY2016-FY2020 a specified amount of highway safety improvement program funds before making any apportionment for FHWA administrative expenses.
(Sec. 1419) Amends ISTEA to repeal the requirement for annual reports to Congress on continuing studies of the fundamental chemical and physical properties of petroleum asphalts and modified asphalts used in highway construction.
Amends SAFETEA-LU to repeal the requirement for an annual report to Congress on the express lanes demonstration program.(Sec. 1420) Authorizes DOT to exercise all existing flexibilities under and exceptions to the requirements for federal-aid highway projects and other DOT administered requirements, in whole or in part.
(Sec. 1421) Requires DOT, in cooperation with states, to develop guidance that encourages the use of programmatic approaches to project delivery, expedited procurement techniques, and other best practices for states and the FHWA to facilitate the timely expenditure of federal funds for federal-aid highway projects.
(Sec. 1422) Directs the FHWA to commission the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences to study the performance of bridges funded under the innovative bridge research and construction program in meeting program goals.
(Sec. 1423) Authorizes a state transportation agency to relinquish park-and-ride lot facilities, or portions of them, to a local government agency for highway purposes if authorized to do so under state law, and the relinquishment meets certain requirements.
(Sec. 1424) Authorizes the FHWA to establish a pilot program that allows a state to utilize innovative approaches to maintain the right-of-way of federal-aid highways.
(Sec. 1425) Authorizes states to allow on the IS the maintenance of service club, charitable association, or religious service signs of a certain size, provided the state notifies the FHWA.
(Sec. 1426) Requires the FHWA to appoint a Motorcyclist Advisory Council on infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists.
(Sec. 1427) Expresses the sense of Congress that the FHWA should do all it can to protect the safety of construction workers in highway work zones.
(Sec. 1428) Directs DOT to encourage the FHWA to use durable, resilient, and sustainable materials and practices, including the use of geosynthetic materials and other innovative technologies for federal-aid highway projects.
(Sec. 1429) Requires DOT to study methods for evaluating roadside highway safety hardware devices to improve the data collected on the devices.(Sec. 1430) Expresses the sense of Congress that DOT should utilize modeling and simulation technology to analyze highway and public transportation projects to ensure that they will reduce congestion and be cost effective.
(Sec. 1431) Directs DOT to:
- establish a National Advisory Committee on Travel and Tourism Infrastructure, and
- develop and post on the DOT website a national travel and tourism infrastructure strategic plan.
(Sec. 1432) Exempts from further environmental reviews, approvals, licensing, and permit requirements under specified laws any road, highway, or bridge in operation or under construction that is damaged by a declared emergency and reconstructed in the same location with the same dimensions and design as before the emergency.
(Sec. 1433) Directs the GAO to report to Congress on FHWA administrative expenses funded from the HTF for the last three fiscal years.
(Sec. 1434) Directs DOT to make every required report available on its public website.
(Sec. 1435) Amends MAP-21 to reauthorize the federal share of costs for Appalachian development highway system projects through FY2050. Allows the federal share (currently a flat 100%) to be 100% or less, as determined by the state.
(Sec. 1436) Reauthorizes through FY2020 the Appalachian Regional Development Program.Authorizes the Appalachian Regional Commission to give technical assistance, make grants, and enter into contracts in the Appalachian region for projects to increase affordable access to broadband networks throughout the Appalachian region and for related projects and activities. Authorizes funding.
(Sec. 1437) Authorizes the governor of a state that shares a border with Canada or Mexico to designate up to 5% of its apportionment of STBGP funds for each fiscal year for border infrastructure projects.
(Sec. 1438) Rescinds permanently on July 1, 2020, $7.569 billion of unobligated federal-aid highway funds apportioned among the states, except certain funds for the highway improvement, railway-highway crossings, and certain other highway programs. Prescribes formulae for determining the amounts to be rescinded among the states and within a state.
(Sec. 1439) Authorizes the take of nesting swallows, between April 1 and August 31 of any year, without individual permit requirements, to facilitate bridge construction or repair projects, provided the Department of the Interior promulgates a regulation under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to allow this.
(Sec. 1440) Allows recipients or subrecipients of federal-aid highway funds to:
- incur preliminary preconstruction development and engineering costs for an eligible project before receiving project authorization from the state, and
- request reimbursement of federal funds after project authorization is received.
(Sec. 1441) Directs DOT to establish a regional infrastructure demonstration program to assist entities in developing improved infrastructure priorities and financing strategies for accelerated development of TIFIA-funded projects.
(Sec. 1442) Requires DOT to encourage each state and MPO to adopt design standards and best practices for surface transportation projects that provide safety for users of the surface transportation network.
(Sec. 1443) Expresses the sense of Congress that Congress recognizes the valuable contributions made by the U.S. engineering industry to provide critical technical expertise, innovation, and local knowledge to federal and state agencies in order to deliver surface transportation projects to the public.
(Sec. 1444) Directs the FHWA to continue the Every Day Counts initiative to work with states, local transportation agencies, and industry stakeholders to identify and deploy proven innovative best practices and products that accelerate transportation innovation deployment and project delivery as well as improve the environment and roadway safety.
(Sec. 1445) Amends the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2004 to repeal the prohibition against the direct or indirect financing of water resources infrastructure projects receiving federal credit assistance with proceeds of any:
- obligation the interest on which is tax-exempt, or
- regarding which a qualified tax credit bond or a Build America Bond is allowable.
(Sec. 1446) Makes various technical corrections to federal transportation laws.
TITLE II--INNOVATIVE PROJECT FINANCE
(Sec. 20001) Amends TIFIA to authorize as an eligible transportation infrastructure project cost the capitalizing of a rural projects fund using proceeds of secured loans made to state infrastructure banks to make loans for rural infrastructure projects.
Revises TIFIA program eligibility requirements, adding projects for:
- public infrastructure near a fixed guideway transit facility, passenger rail station, intercity bus station, or intermodal facility; and
- capitalization of a rural projects fund.
Requires DOT to make an expedited application process available to entities seeking secured loans under the TIFIA program.
Requires the reservation of $2 million of TIFIA program funds for highway infrastructure projects anticipated not to exceed $75 million.
Revises and reauthorizes through FY2020 the state infrastructure bank program.
(Sec. 2002) Authorizes DOT to make payments to states pursuant to a long-term concession agreements for construction costs incurred on federal-aid highway projects.
TITLE III--PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Federal Public Transportation Act of 2015
(Sec. 3003) Revises requirements for metropolitan as well as statewide and nonmetropolitan transportation planning.
Prescribes requirements for selection of MPO representatives or officials.
Authorizes MPOs serving a transportation management area to develop a congestion management plan that includes projects and strategies that will be considered in the MPO's transportation improvement program.
Treats the Bi-State MPO Region (in and around Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada) as:
- an MPO,
- a transportation management area, and
- an urbanized area (comprising a population of 145,000 in California and of 65,000 in Nevada).
(Sec. 3004) Revises requirements for the urbanized area formula public transportation grant program for an urbanized area with a population of at least 200,000.
Allows each public transportation system that is a party to a written agreement with one or more other public transportation systems within the urbanized area to allocate funds for the operating cost of equipment and facilities by a method other than by measuring vehicle revenue hours to follow the terms of the written agreement without regard to measured vehicle revenue hours.
(Sec. 3005) Revises requirements for the fixed guideway capital investment grants program.
Increases the caps on the cost and level of federal assistance for small start new fixed guideway capital projects or corridor-based bus rapid transit projects eligible for financing under fixed guideway capital investment grants.
Eliminates the prerequisite for a new fixed guideway capital project to advance to the engineering phase that it be supported by policies and land use patterns that promote public transportation.
Requires DOT to make necessary benefit, federal investment, and local financial commitment evaluations and ratings of small start projects, upon project sponsor request, upon completion of an environmental assessment under NEPA.
Includes small start projects in programs of interrelated projects (together with new fixed guideway capital projects and core capacity improvement projects, as currently).
Authorizes DOT to award such grants for new fixed guideway capital projects and core capacity improvement projects for both public transportation and intercity passenger rail service. Sets the federal share of project costs at up to 80%.
Authorizes DOT to award up to eight capital investment grants to states and local governments to assist in financing new fixed guideway capital projects or small start projects and core capacity improvement projects. Prescribes requirements for the expedited approval of such projects. Limits grants for such a project to 25% of the net capital project cost.
(Sec. 3006) Requires DOT to collect from, review, and disseminate best practices and other specified information to public transportation agencies for such projects.
Authorizes DOT to award pilot program grants to eligible recipients to assist in financing innovative projects for the transportation of seniors and disabled individuals that improve the coordination of transportation services and non-emergency medical transportation services. Sets the federal share of project costs at up to 80%.
Directs the DOT Interagency Transportation Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility to publish a strategic plan that:
- outlines federal agency role and responsibilities regarding local transportation coordination, including non-emergency medical transportation, for seniors and individuals with disabilities;
- addresses certain Council recommendations, including a cost-sharing policy for grantees; and
- examines and proposes changes to federal laws that will eliminate federal barriers to local transportation coordination.
(Sec. 3007) Revises requirements for the nonurbanized formula grant program.
Requires DOT to apportion specified amounts of rural formula grants each fiscal year for public transportation on Indian reservations.
Prescribes requirements for the allocation of such grants to multiple Indian tribes providing public transportation on tribal lands in a single Tribal Statistical Area.
(Sec. 3008) Replaces the research, development, demonstration, and deployment grant program with a public transportation innovation grant program.
Requires DOT to award grants for projects and activities to advance innovative public transportation research and development.
Requires demonstration, deployment, or evaluation projects in public transportation to seek, among other things, the deployment of low or no emission vehicles, zero emission vehicles, or associated advanced technology.
Prohibits any DOT grants for the demonstration, deployment, or evaluation of a vehicle that is in revenue service unless the project makes significant technological advancements in the vehicle.
Requires DOT to enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with, or make a grant to, at least one institution of higher education to operate a facility to assess components for use in low or no emission vehicles.
Establishes a public transportation cooperative research program. Authorizes DOT to make grants to, and cooperative agreements with, the National Academy of Sciences to carry out public transportation research, development, and technology transfer activities.
(Sec. 3009) Revamps the technical assistance and standards development grant program as the technical assistance and workforce development grant program.
Authorizes DOT to establish a competitive grant program to assist the development of innovative activities that address human resource needs to train and develop the public transportation workforce. Sets the federal share of project costs at 50%.
Directs DOT to establish a national transit institute, and award grants to four-year degree-granting institutions of higher education to carry out institute duties, including to develop training and educational programs for federal, state, and local transportation employees, U.S. citizens, and foreign nationals engaged in federally-assisted public transportation work.
(Sec. 3011) Prohibits the use of grants or loans for public transportation to pay incremental costs of incorporating art or non-functional landscaping into facilities, including the costs of an artist on the design team.
Revises Buy America requirements for public transportation projects. Allows DOT to waive such requirements when procuring rolling stock (including train control, communication, traction power equipment, and rolling stock prototypes) whose cost of components and subcomponents produced in the United States for:
- FY2016 and FY2017, is more than 60% (as under current law) of the cost of all components of the rolling stock;
- FY2018 and FY2019, is more than 65% of the cost of all such components; and
- FY2020 and each fiscal year thereafter, is more than 70% of the cost of all components of such stock.
Prescribes requirements for:
- calculation of the domestic content of certain rolling stock frames or car shells for waiver purposes, and
- a certification of domestic supply for denied waiver applications.
(Sec. 3012) Directs DOT to prescribe regulations for project management oversight that include:
- a requirement that oversight be limited to quarterly reviews of recipient compliance with the project management plan unless the recipient requires more frequent oversight because of specified failures, and
- a process for recipients that require more frequent oversight to return to quarterly reviews.
(Sec. 3013) Revises requirements for the public transportation safety program.
Includes among the contents of the national public transportation safety plan minimum safety standards, meeting specified criteria, for the safe operation of public transportation systems.
Directs DOT to administer state safety oversight programs for rail fixed guideway public transportation systems determined inadequate of enforcing federal safety regulations or incapable of preventing substantial risk of death or personal injury until the state develops a program as meeting certain requirements.
Authorizes DOT to withhold grants to develop state safety oversight programs from states with programs deemed insufficient, including up to 5% of a state's apportionment of formula public transportation grants for urbanized areas with a population under 200,000.
Authorizes DOT also to take certain enforcement action against a recipient that does not comply with federal law regarding the safety of a public transportation system, including withholding up to 25% of a state's apportionment of urbanized area formula public transportation grants.
Requires DOT to issue restrictions and prohibitions if an unsafe condition or practice is determined to exist and be a substantial risk of death or personal injury in a public transportation system.
(Sec. 3014) Revises formulae for the apportionment of formula public transportation grants to states with urbanized areas with a population of at least 200,000 and urbanized areas with a population under 200,000.
Requires a set-aside of $30 million for each fiscal year for passenger ferry grants.
(Sec. 3015) Sets the federal share of costs at 80% for state of good repair capital projects for high intensity fixed guideways and for high intensity motorbuses.
(Sec. 3016) Reauthorizes through FY2020 the research, development demonstration, and deployment program.
- formula grants for public transportation, including allocations for specified projects;
- technical assistance and standards development and training grants;
- capital investment grants; and
- authorization for administrative expenditures.
(Sec. 3017) Allocates certain amounts to states and territories for FY2016-FY2020 for formula bus and bus facilities grants.
Requires DOT to carry out a state pool pilot grant program for eligible recipients or state or local governmental entities in urbanized areas with a population of between 200,000 and 999,999 to support their transit asset management plans.
Revises requirements for competitive grants to eligible recipients for bus and bus facilities capital projects. Authorizes competitive grants for low or no emission bus projects.
(Sec. 3018) Limits obligational ceilings for FY2016-FY2020 for:
- formula grants for public transportation, including allocations for specified projects; and
- grants for installation of positive train control systems.
(Sec. 3019) Authorizes states (lead procurement agencies) and grantees of public transportation assistance may enter into a cooperative procurement contracts with one or more vendors for the purchase of rolling stock (railroad cars) and related equipment.
Directs DOT to establish a pilot program for lead nonprofit entities similarly to enter into such contracts for such stock and equipment.
Authorizes grantees to enter into capital leases for:
- the costs of rolling stock or related equipment, and
- certain zero emission vehicle components.
(Sec. 3020) Directs DOT to:
- begin a review of the efficacy of existing safety standards and protocols used in rail fixed guideway public transportation systems, and
- evaluate the need to establish additional federal minimum public transportation safety standards after conducting the review.
(Sec. 3021) Requires DOT to enter into an agreement with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to evaluate whether it is in the public interest to withhold certain evidentiary public transportation safety program information in federal and state court proceedings.
(Sec. 3022) Directs DOT, after publication of a report required by Sec. 3020, to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on protecting public transportation operators from the risk of assault.
(Sec. 3023) Declares that any paratransit systems currently coordinating complementary paratransit service for more than 40 fixed route agencies shall be permitted to continue using an existing tiered, distance-based coordinated paratransit fare system if the fare is not increased by a greater percentage than any increase to the fixed route fare for the largest transit agency in the complementary paratransit service area.
(Sec. 3024) Requires DOT to report to Congress on the potential of the Internet of Things to improve transportation services in rural, suburban, and urban areas. (The Internet of Things is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.)
(Sec. 3025) Requires DOT to study parking safety at specified alternative transportation facilities and locations.
(Sec. 3026) Grants DOT sole authority to appoint Federal Directors to the Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
Directs parties to the WMATA Compact to amend it to reflect such authority.
(Sec. 3027) Directs the GAO to evaluate the impact that MAP-21 changes had on public transportation, including the effectiveness of public transportation agencies to:
- furnish public transportation to low-income workers in accessing jobs and use reverse commute services; and
- support services to low-income riders to access jobs, medical services, and other life necessities.
(Sec. 3028) Makes $199 million available from the HTF Mass Transit Account for FY2017 for competitive grants for the installation of PTC systems.
(Sec. 3030) Amends MAP-21 to repeal:
- the pilot program for expedited new fixed guideway capital project or a core capacity improvement project delivery,
- the transit cooperative research program,
- requirements for public transportation facility projects for bicycles, and
- human resources and training programs in public transportation.
TITLE IV--HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY
(Sec. 4001) Reauthorizes appropriations from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) (other than the Mass Transit Account) for FY2016-FY2020 for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety programs, including:
- the highway safety research and development program,
- national priority safety programs,
- the National Driver Register,
- the High Visibility Enforcement Program, and
- NHTSA administrative expenses.
(Sec. 4002) Revises highway safety program requirements.
Requires state highway safety programs to increase driver awareness of commercial motor vehicles to prevent crashes and reduce injuries and fatalities.
Requires states with installed automated traffic enforcement systems to expend the apportionment of highway safety program funds to conduct a biennial survey of such systems, and make it available on DOT's website.
Directs DOT, in coordination with the Governors Highway Safety Association, to develop procedures to allow states to submit highway safety plans electronically.
Reduces from 60 to 45 the number of days during which DOT must review and approve state highway safety plans it has received.
Revises teen traffic safety requirements.
(Sec. 4003) Revises the highway safety research and development program.
Directs NHTSA (which currently is merely authorized) to carry out collaborative research on in-vehicle alcohol detection technology to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. Directs DOT to obligate up to a certain amount of funds for the period FY2017-FY2020 to related research.
Requires DOT to establish procedures and guidelines to ensure that persons participating in a program or activity that collects data on drug or alcohol use by motor vehicle drivers are informed that the program or activity is voluntary.
Sets the federal share of project costs at 100%.
(Sec. 4004) Directs DOT to establish a high-visibility enforcement program under which at least three high-visibility traffic safety law enforcement campaigns will be carried out for FY2016-FY2020.
Requires each campaign to achieve at least one of the following objectives:
- reduce alcohol-impaired or drug-impaired driving, and
- increase the use of seatbelts.
(Sec. 4005) Revises national priority safety programs requirements.
Specifies allocations of national priority safety program funds for occupant protection, state traffic safety information system improvements, impaired driving countermeasures, distracted driving, motorcyclist safety, state graduated driver licensing laws, and nonmotorized safety.
Increases from 75% to 100% the amount of the apportionment of occupant protection grants a state may use for state highway safety programs.
Revises requirements for impaired driving countermeasures incentive grants.
Requires DOT to award separate grants to each state that:
- adopts and is enforcing a law that requires all individuals convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while intoxicated to receive a restriction on driving privileges, and
- provides a 24-7 sobriety program.
Prescribes funding requirements.
Directs DOT to award distracted driving incentive grants to states that include distracted driving awareness as part of the state's driver's license examination, and enact and enforce a law that:
- prohibits drivers (including those under age 18) from texting through a personal wireless communications device (including a cell phone, but not a global navigation satellite [GPS] system receiver) while driving (with specified emergency exceptions),
- makes a violation a primary offense,
- establishes a minimum fine, and
- does not provide an exemption that allows a driver to text through a personal wireless communication device while stopped in traffic.
Revises motorcyclist safety incentive grant requirements.
Requires the allocation of motorcyclist safety grant funds to a state to be in proportion to the state's apportionment of highway safety program funds for FY2009, except that the grant amount may not exceed 25% of the apportionment for FY2009.
Directs DOT to update and give states model language to use in traffic safety education courses, driver's manuals, and other driver training materials instructing motor vehicle operators on the importance of sharing the road safely with motorcyclists.
Revises minimum requirements for state graduated driver licensing incentive grant programs.
Requires DOT to award incentive grants to states with graduated driving licensing laws that require novice drivers under age 18 (currently, under age 21) to comply with a two-stage licensing process before receiving an unrestricted driver's license.
Requires such laws, at a minimum, to include a learner's permit stage that:
- makes a violation of the prohibition against using a personal wireless communications device while driving (with specified emergency exceptions) a primary offense,
- requires applicants to pass a vision and knowledge assessment before receiving a learner's permit,
- requires the driver to be accompanied and supervised at all times while operating the motor vehicle by a licensed driver at least age 21 or by a state-certified driving instructor,
- requires the driver to complete a state-certified driver education or training course or obtain at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training (with at least 10 hours at night), with a licensed driver; and
- remains in effect until the driver attains age 16 and enters the intermediate stage, or attains 18.
Requires such laws also to include an intermediate permit stage that:
- begins immediately after successful completion of a driving skills assessment,
- makes a violation of the prohibition against using a personal wireless communications device while driving (with specified emergency exceptions) a primary offense,
- restricts driving at night between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. when not supervised by a licensed driver age 21 or older (with specified exceptions) for the first six months of the intermediate stage, and
- remains in effect until the driver attains age 17.
Directs DOT to award nonmotorized safety grants to states for projects to decrease pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and injuries resulting from crashes with motor vehicles. Sets the federal share of project costs at up to 80%.
(Sec. 4006) Directs DOT to develop a process to identify and mitigate possible systemic issues across state and regional offices by reviewing recommendations identified in triennial state management reviews of state highway safety programs.
(Sec. 4007) Prohibits DOT from providing grants or funds to any state, county, town, township, Indian tribe, municipality, or other local government for use in any program to check helmet usage or create checkpoints for a motorcycle driver or passenger.
(Sec. 4008) Directs DOT to study marijuana-impaired driving.
(Sec. 4009) Directs the NTHSA to identify and carry out additional actions it should undertake to assist state efforts to increase public awareness of the dangers of drug-impaired driving, including the dangers of driving while under the influence of heroin or prescription opioids.
(Sec. 4010) Directs DOT to make available to the public on the DOT website information on states awarded national priority safety program grants.
(Sec. 4011) Amends SAFETEA-LU regarding grants to states for costs of collecting and evaluating traffic stop data based on race of motor vehicle driver and any passenger.
Repeals authority to use grant funds to develop and implement programs to reduce the occurrence of racial profiling, including programs to train law enforcement officers.
Directs DOT to set-aside $7.5 million of highway safety research and development funds for each of FY2017-FY2020 to carry out this grant program.
Authorizes reallocation of such amounts remaining available before the end of the fiscal year to increase the amounts made available to carry out other highway safety research and development activities.
(Sec. 4012) Directs DOT to report to Congress on NTHSA progress toward reviewing and implementing recommendations made in a GAO report on the National Roadside Survey of alcohol and drug use by drivers.
(Sec. 4013) Directs NHTSA to report on any barriers to collecting data on the prevalence of the use of wireless communications devices while driving.
TITLE V--MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY
Subtitle A--Motor Carrier Safety Grant Consolidation
(Sec. 5101) Revises requirements for the motor carrier safety assistance grant program.
Directs DOT to publish approved state multiple-year motor carrier safety improvement plans, and annual updates, on the DOT public website.
Authorizes DOT, in lieu of withdrawing approval of noncompliant state plans, to withhold from such states, for the fiscal year, graduated percentages of grant program funds.
Directs DOT to administer a financial assistance program for discretionary grants to and cooperative agreements with states, local governments, federally-recognized Indian tribes, and other persons to carry out high priority motor carrier safety activities and projects.
Requires DOT to establish a program of discretionary grants to states for the innovative technology deployment of commercial motor vehicle information systems and networks.
Revises requirements for reimbursement of a state, from a related grant, for 80% of the costs of developing and implementing programs to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and enforce commercial motor vehicle regulations, standards, or orders. Replaces this program with commercial motor vehicle operators grants to programs to train individuals in the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles.
Authorizes appropriations from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) (other than the Mass Transit Account) for FY2017-FY2020 for FMCSA Financial Assistance Programs, including:
- the motor carrier safety assistance grant program,
- the high priority activities program,
- the commercial motor vehicle operators grant program, and
- the commercial driver's license program implementation grant program (established in this title).
Repeals specified commercial motor vehicle safety programs.
(Sec. 5102) Renames the performance and registration information program as the performance and registration information systems management program.
(Sec. 5103) Reauthorizes appropriations from HTF (other than the Mass Transit Account) for FY2016-FY2020 for FMCSA administrative expenses.
Authorizes DOT to conduct an outreach and education program administered by the FMCSA.
(Sec. 5104) Revises the program of financial assistance grants to states to implement the commercial driver's license program.
Repeals the authorization for grants in a fiscal year to state agencies, local governments, or persons to cover 100% of the costs of priority research, development or testing, demonstration projects, public education, or other special activities relating to commercial driver's licensing and motor vehicle safety.
(Sec. 5105) Reauthorizes appropriations from the HTF (other than the Mass Transit Account) for FY2016 for the motor carrier safety assistance grant program.
Amends SAFETEA-LU to reauthorize through FY2016 appropriations from the HTF (other than the Mass Transit Account) for FMCSA programs, including:
- the commercial driver's license program improvement grants program,
- border enforcement grants,
- the performance and registration information systems management grant program,
- the commercial vehicle information systems and networks deployment program (also known as the innovative technology deployment program), and
- safety data improvement grants.
Extends through FY2016 the set-aside of certain funds for:
- high priority activities and projects to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and compliance with federal commercial motor vehicle safety regulations; and
- new entrant motor carrier audit grants.
Reauthorizes through FY2016 appropriations from the HTF (other than the Mass Transit Account) for the commercial motor vehicle operators grant program.
(Sec. 5106) Directs DOT to establish a motor carrier safety assistance program formula working group to analyze requirements and factors for a new motor carrier safety assistance program allocation formula based on specified factors.
Prescribes requirements for program funding before development of a new allocation formula.
(Sec. 5107) Directs DOT, if a new allocation formula has not been established for the pertinent fiscal year, to calculate for FY2017 and ensuing fiscal years the maintenance of effort baseline for funding the lead state agency responsible for administering the motor carrier safety assistance plan.
Allows DOT, at state request, beginning when a new allocation formula for the program is established, to waive or modify the baseline maintenance of effort required of the state if a waiver or modification:
- is equitable due to reasonable circumstances,
- will ensure the continuation of commercial motor vehicle enforcement activities in the state, and
- is necessary to ensure that the total amount of state maintenance of effort and matching expenditures required does not exceed a specified sum.
Subtitle B--Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Reform
Part I--Regulatory Reform
(Sec. 5201) Revises requirements for a notice to DOT of cancellation of liability insurance for motor carriers, brokers, or freight forwarders. Grants DOT authority to suspend, as an alternative to revoking, the registration of the motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder because of the lapse and subsequent cancellation of liability insurance.
(Sec. 5202) Prescribes requirements for public participation, particularly participation by segments of the motor carrier industry, in FMCSA rulemaking as well as for an impact analysis of every proposed or final rule.
(Sec. 5303) Requires each FMCSA guidance document to:
- contain certain information, including point of contact information; and
- be published on the DOT website.
Directs the FMCSA, at least once every five years, to review its guidance documents to determine whether they are consistent and clear, uniformly and consistently enforced, and still necessary.
Defines "guidance document" to mean a FMCSA document that:
- presents an interpretation of a FMCSA regulation, or
- includes a FMCSA enforcement policy.
(Sec. 5204) Directs the FMCSA to publish on the DOT website a summary of all submitted petitions for regulatory action, and respond to petitions within 180 days of publication.
(Sec. 5205) Directs the FMCSA to revise federal safety fitness regulations for motor carriers to incorporate by reference the certification standards for roadside inspectors issued by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
(Sec. 5206) Authorizes DOT to grant an exemption from commercial motor vehicle safety regulations for up to five years, with renewals for an additional five years.
Authorizes DOT also to make permanent certain exemptions for:
- perishable construction products,
- transport of commercial bee hives, and
- safe transport of livestock.
Part II--Compliance, Safety, Accountability Reform
(Sec. 5221) Directs the FMCSA to commission the National Research Council of the National Academies to study the the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program and the Safety Measurement System (SMS).
Requires the Council, in conducting this study, to analyze:
- the accuracy with which the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) identify high risk carriers and predict future crash risk or other safety indicators for motor carriers and the highest risk carriers; and
- existing data collection gaps or data sufficiency problems and their impact on the efficacy of the CSA program.
Directs the FMCSA, after submission of a report identifying any deficiency or opportunity for improvement in the CSA program or SMS, to submit a corrective action plan to Congress that identifies how the FMCSA will address those deficiencies or opportunities.
(Sec. 5222) Directs the FMCSA to develop a process for identifying and reviewing advanced safety equipment, enhanced driver fitness measures, fleet safety management tools, technologies, and programs, and other standards for use by motor carriers to receive recognition, credit, or an improved SMS percentile.
(Sec. 5223) Declares that no information regarding analysis of violations, not-at-fault commercial motor vehicle crashes, alerts, or the relative percentile for each BASIC developed through the CSA program may be made available to the general public until the DOT Inspector General certifies that, among other things, any deficiencies identified in the report containing the results of the correlation study required by this subtitle have been addressed and the corrective action plan has been implemented.
(Sec. 5224) Directs the FMCSA to develop functional specifications to ensure the consistent and accurate input of data into systems and databases relating to the CSA program.
(Sec. 5225) Directs the FMCSA, not later than one year after making the certification required under this subtitle, to task the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee with reviewing the treatment of preventable crashes under the SMS. Requires the Committee to make recommendations to DOT on a process to allow motor carriers and drivers to request the FMCSA to make a determination regarding the preventability of a crash.
Subtitle C--Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety
(Sec. 5301) Directs DOT to revise certain federal regulations prohibiting obstructions to a driver's field of view to exempt from those prohibitions the voluntary mounting on a windshield of vehicle safety technology likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than what would be achieved without the exemption.
(Sec. 5302) Directs the FMCSA to prioritize the completion of each outstanding statutory rulemaking before beginning any other rulemaking unless there is a significant need for the other rulemaking and Congress is notified.
(Sec. 5303) Directs GAO to report to Congress on the cost and feasibility of establishing a self-reporting system for commercial motor vehicle drivers or motor carriers regarding en route equipment failures.
(Sec. 5304) Directs DOT to assess the effectiveness of the new operator safety review program and publish the results, including any recommendations, on DOT's website.
(Sec. 5305) Requires DOT to ensure that a review is completed on each motor carrier that demonstrates through performance data for four consecutive months that it poses the highest safety risk.
(Sec. 5306) Directs DOT to convene a working group of state representatives or state law enforcement officials, as well as representatives of industry, labor, safety advocates, and other interested individuals, to review the data elements of post-accident reports for tow-away accidents involving commercial motor vehicles that are reported to the federal government.
(Sec. 5307) Directs DOT to report to Congress regarding each commercial motor vehicle safety rulemaking:
- with a statutory deadline, an explanation of why the deadline was not met as well as the expected date of completion, and
- without a statutory deadline, an expected date of completion.
Subtitle D--Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers
(Sec. 5401) Directs DOT to modify federal minimum standards for safety fitness of commercial motor vehicle operators to:
- exempt former armed forces or reserve members over age 21 from part or all of a driving test if they had prior armed forces or reserve experience driving vehicles similar to a commercial motor vehicle,
- allow members to apply for an exemption during the one-year period after the member separated from service, and
- credit the training and knowledge received by members driving vehicles similar to commercial vehicles during their service for purposes of satisfying minimum standards for training and knowledge for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles.
(Sec. 5402) Revises the requirement that motor carriers conduct preemployment, reasonable suspicion, random, and post-accident testing of commercial motor vehicle operators for controlled substances or alcohol.
Allows motor carriers to use hair testing as an acceptable alternative to mandatory urinalysis for detecting use of controlled substances by an operator, but only for preemployment testing and random testing (and the latter only if the motor carrier tested the operator at preemployment using the same method).
Requires DOT to permit an exemption from hair testing for operators with established religious beliefs that prohibit the cutting or removal of hair.
Requires DOT to develop requirements for laboratories and testing procedures for controlled substances that include mandatory guidelines that establish, among other things, laboratory protocols and cut-off levels for hair testing to detect the use of such a substance.
Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to issue scientific and technical guidelines for hair testing as a method for detecting the use of controlled substances.
(Sec. 5403) Authorizes a qualified Department of Veterans Affairs physician to perform a medical examination and provide a medical certificate to comply with medical standards and guidelines for the physical qualifications of operators of commercial motor vehicles.
Directs DOT to develop a process for including qualified physicians on the National Registry of Medical Examiners.
(Sec. 5404) Directs DOT to establish a commercial driver pilot program to study the feasibility, benefits, and safety impacts of allowing a covered driver to operate a commercial motor vehicles.
Defines "covered driver" to mean an individual:
- between 18 and 21,
- who is a member of the armed forces or reserves, and
- qualified in a Military Occupational Specialty to operate a commercial motor vehicle or similar vehicle.
Directs DOT to collect and analyze data relating to accidents involving drivers participating in the pilot program.
Prohibits drivers from:
- transporting passengers or hazardous cargo, or
- operating a vehicle in special configuration.
Directs DOT to establish a working group to evaluate the pilot program.
Subtitle E--General Provisions
(Sec. 5501) Directs the DOT Inspector General to report to Congress on the average length of time that commercial motor vehicle operators are delayed before the loading and unloading of vehicles and at other points in the pick-up and delivery process.
(Sec. 5502) Directs the DOT to establish a working group to determine best practices for expeditious state approval of special permits for emergency response and recovery vehicles that exceed federal and state truck length or width limits to operate safely on designated emergency routes.
(Sec. 5503) Directs DOT to establish a working group to develop recommendations on how best to convey to consumers information on federal laws about the interstate transportation of household goods by motor carrier.
(Sec. 5504) Directs GAO to conduct an analysis of FMCSA's information technology and data collection and management systems.
(Sec. 5505) Directs DOT to report to Congress on DOT actions to process motor carrier registration applications within 30 days after receipt.
(Sec. 5506) Directs the FMCSA to report to Congress on skills testing delays for commercial driver's license applicants.
(Sec. 5507) Revises electronic logging device requirements.
Permits a motor carrier to require its drivers to comply with federal hours of service requirements by using either a paper record of duty status form or an electronic logging device when transporting a motor home or recreation vehicle trailer in a driveaway-towaway operation (in which an empty or unladen motor vehicle with one or more sets of wheels is being transported between specified business facilities).
(Sec. 5509) Directs DOT to take certain actions before initiating a rulemaking to change the minimum levels of financial responsibility for motor carriers of property and motor carriers of passengers.
(Sec. 5510) Directs DOT to study the safety operations, fire suppression capability, tire loads, and pavement impacts of operating a double-decker motorcoach with rear-attached passenger luggage rack.
(Sec. 5511) Directs GAO to submit to Congress a review of school bus safety.
(Sec. 5512) Authorizes the FMCSA to request the chief driver licensing official of a state to provide driver record information on an individual from the National Driver Register in connection with an FMCSA safety investigation.
(Sec. 5513) Directs DOT to report to Congress regarding the design, development, testing, and implementation of wireless roadside inspection systems.
(Sec. 5514) Waives federal preemption to allow states to regulate tow truck operations performed without the prior consent or authorization of the owner or operator of the towed motor vehicle.
(Currently, states are allowed to regulate only the price of for-hire motor vehicle transportation by a tow truck if the transportation is performed without the prior consent or authorization of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle.)
(Sec. 5515) Directs the FMCSA to study the safety effects of motor carrier operator commutes exceeding 150 minutes.
(Sec. 5516) Requires South Dakota to be given the opportunity to update designated routes on the federal-aid primary system highways, as long as the update shifts routes to divided highways or does not increase centerline miles more than 5%, and is expected to increase safety performance.
(Sec. 5517) Directs DOT to publish on its website a report on federal minimum financial responsibility requirements for motor carriers transporting property.
(Sec. 5518) Revises requirements exempting certain farm vehicles from federal commercial motor vehicle safety requirements.
(Sec. 5519) Declares that the maximum hours of service for a commercial motor vehicle driver of an internal rail flaw detection vehicle equipped with flange hi-rails (hi-rail vehicle) shall not include time in transportation to or from a duty assignment provided it:
- does not exceed 2 hours per day or a total of 30 hours per month, and
- is fully accounted for in the motor carrier records and are made available upon request of the FMCSA or the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
(Sec. 5520) Revises federal vehicle length limitations for trucks.
Declares that an automobile transporter shall not be prohibited from transporting cargo or general freight on a backhaul (the return trip of a vehicle transporting cargo or general freight, especially when carrying goods back over all or part of the same route), so long as it complies with federal weight limitations for truck tractors and semitrailer combinations operating on any segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways and qualifying federal-aid primary system highways.
Prohibits states from prescribing or enforcing a regulation that imposes a vehicle length limitation of less than 80 feet on a stinger-steered automobile transporter with a front overhang of less than 4 feet and a rear overhang of less than 6 feet.
(Sec. 5521) Declares that certain commercial motor vehicle safety reporting and recordkeeping requirements shall not apply to drivers of ready mixed concrete delivery vehicles provided certain requirements are met.
(Sec. 5522) Amends the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 to exempt from federal maximum driving and on-duty time requirements drivers of trucks transporting construction materials and equipment to or from an active construction site within a 75 (currently, 50) air mile radius of the driver's normal work reporting location.
Authorizes a state, upon notice to DOT, to establish a different air mile radius limitation if the limitation is between 50 and 75 air miles and driver movements are taken place entirely within the state.
(Sec. 5523) Revises federal vehicle length limitations to prohibit states from prescribing or enforcing a regulation that imposes an overall length limitation of less than 82 feet on a towaway trailer transporter combination operating on any segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways and qualifying federal-aid primary system highways.
Defines "trailer transporter towing unit" as a power unit not used to carry property when operating in a towaway trailer transporter combination.
Defines "towaway trailer transporter combination" as a combination of vehicles consisting of a trailer transporter towing unit and two trailers or semitrailers:
- with a total weight not exceeding 26,000 pounds; and
- which carry no property and constitute inventory property of a manufacturer, distributor or dealer of such trailers or semitrailers.
(Sec. 5524) Prescribes requirements to exempt certain welding trucks used in the pipeline industry from specified federal commercial motor vehicle requirements for motor carrier registration, driver qualifications, commercial motor carrier safety, maintenance and repair, and maximum driving hours and on duty time.
(Sec. 5525) Directs DOT to report to Congress on the safety and enforcement impacts of specified sections of this Act.
Transportation for Tomorrow Act of 2015
(Sec. 6002) Authorizes appropriations out of the HTF (other than the Mass Transit Account) for FY2016-FY2020 for:
- the highway research and development program,
- the technology and innovation deployment program,
- training and education,
- the intelligent transportation systems (ITS) program,
- the university transportation centers program,
- the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and
- FHWA administration.
(Sec. 6003) Directs DOT to obligate specified funds for FY2016-FY2020 for the accelerated implementation and deployment of pavement technologies program.
Directs DOT to report annually on the cost and benefits from deployment of new technology and innovations that result from the program.
(Sec. 6004) Directs DOT to establish an advanced transportation and congestion management technologies deployment initiative to award grants to a state or local government, transit agency, metropolitan planning organization representing a population over 200,000, or other state or local government subdivisions or a multijurisdictional group or consortia of research institutional or academic institutions.
(Sec. 6005) Revises certain ITS purposes, goals, and reporting requirements.
(Sec. 6010) Prescribes requirements for development of ITS infrastructure.
(Sec. 6011) Establishes the position of Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Research and Technology.
(Sec. 6012) Repeals the authorization and mandate for a Research and Innovative Technology Administration.
(Sec. 6013) Directs DOT to maintain an online course curriculum to train public sector emergency response and preparedness teams in hazardous material (hazmat) transportation.
(Sec. 6014) Authorizes DOT, as part of the hazardous material technical assessment, research and development, and analysis program, to carry out cooperative research on hazmat transport.
(Sec. 6015) Eliminates the Office of Intermodalism of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration [Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology of DOT].
(Sec. 6016) Revises requirements for the university transportation centers program.
(Sec. 6017) Declares that the BTS shall not be required to obtain the approval of any other officer or employee of:
- DOT with respect to the collection or analysis of any information, or
- the U.S. government, before publication, with respect to the substance of any statistical technical reports or press releases lawfully prepared by the BTS.
Grants the BTS a significant role in the disposition and allocation of its authorized budget, including:
- all hiring, grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts awarded by the BTS; and
- the disposition and allocation of amounts paid to the BTS for cost-reimbursable projects.
(Sec. 6018) Directs the BTS to establish a port performance statistics program to provide nationally consistent measures of performance of at least the nation's top 25 ports by tonnage, its top 25 ports by 20-foot equivalent unit, and its top 25 ports by dry bulk.
Directs the BTS to collect monthly port performance measures for each specified U.S. port that receives federal assistance or is subject to federal regulation to report annually to the BTS on statistics on capacity and throughput.
(Sec. 6019) Requires the head of each DOT modal administration and joint program office to submit an annual modal research plan for approval to the DOT Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (Assistant Secretary).
Prohibits DOT from expending funds on research determined by the Assistant Secretary to be duplicative unless:
- the research is required by an Act of Congress,
- it was part of a contract funded before enactment of this Act,
- it updates previously commissioned research, or
- the Assistant Secretary certifies to Congress that it is necessary.
Directs DOT shall publish annually, on a public website, a comprehensive database of all DOT research projects, including research funded through University Transportation Centers.
Requires DOT to develop a five-year transportation research and development (R&D) strategic plan.
(Sec. 6020) Directs DOT to establish a program to award grants to states to demonstrate user-based alternative revenue mechanisms that utilize a user fee structure to maintain the long-term solvency of the HTF.
(Sec. 6021) Directs DOT to enter into an agreement with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies to study actions needed to upgrade and restore the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways to its role as a premier system network that meets the growing and shifting demands of the 21st century.
(Sec. 6022) Authorizes DOT to study the impact of pavement durability and sustainability on vehicle fuel consumption, vehicle wear and tear, road conditions, and road repairs.
(Sec. 6023) Authorizes DOT to convene a transportation technology policy interagency working group.
(Sec. 6024) Authorizes DOT to solicit the support of other federal research agencies and national laboratories to assist in the pursuit and resolution of identified research challenges.
(Sec. 6025) Directs GAO to assess the status of autonomous transportation technology policy developed by U.S. public entities.
(Sec. 6026) Authorizes DOT to conduct research on the reduction of traffic congestion.
(Sec. 6027) Authorizes DOT to study digital technologies and information technologies, including shared mobility, data, transportation network companies, and on-demand transportation services to develop best practices for use of such information and technology in the planning of smart cities.
(Sec. 6028) Directs the FHWA to develop data sets and analysis tools to assist MPOs, states, and the FHWA in carrying out performance management analyses of federal-aid highways.
TITLE VII--HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION
Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2015
(Sec. 7101) Reauthorizes DOT hazmat transportation safety projects for FY2016-FY2020.
Authorizes DOT to make certain expenditures, including an amount for hazmat training grants, from the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Fund.
Directs DOT to withhold a specified amount of funds for each fiscal year for competitive community safety grants.
Subtitle B--Hazardous Material Safety and Improvement
(Sec. 7201) Revises requirements for safe hazmat transportation.
Authorizes DOT to waive compliance with federal hazmat transportation safety standards, without prior notice and comment, if DOT determines that:
- it is in the public interest and not inconsistent with the safety of transporting hazmat, and
- is necessary for the safe movement of hazmat into, from, and within an area declared a major disaster or emergency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
(Sec. 7202) Prohibits DOT from denying a non-temporary safety permit to a motor carrier transporting hazmat based on a comprehensive review of the carrier triggered by safety management system scores or out-of-service disqualification standards, unless:
- the carrier has the opportunity, before the denial, to submit a corrective action plan; and
- the plan is insufficient to address safety concerns in the course of the review.
(Sec. 7203) Revises requirements for DOT planning and training grants to states and Indian tribes to:
- carry out hazmat emergency plans, and
- train public sector employees to respond to hazmat accidents and incidents.
(Sec. 7204) Requires DOT to:
- publish, and make public on DOT's website, notice of the filing of an application for a new special permit (under current law, application for a special permit) or a modification to an existing special permit authorizing a variance from federal regulations for the transportation of hazmat, and
- give the public an opportunity to inspect the safety analysis and comment on the application for 15 days.
Decreases from 180 days to 120 days (after the first day of the month following the filing of an application) the deadline by which DOT must issue, renew, or deny a special permit.
Directs DOT periodically, but at least every 120 days, to:
- publish notice of the final disposition of each application for a new special permit, modification to an existing special permit, or approval during the preceding quarter; and
- make publicly available on the DOT website notice of the final disposition of any other special permit during the preceding quarter.
(Sec. 7205) Directs DOT to make available biennially on the DOT website (instead of to specified congressional committees) a comprehensive report on hazmat transportation for the preceding two calendar years.
(Sec. 7206) Directs DOT to withdraw a certain proposed rule described in the notice of proposed rulemaking issued on January 27, 2011, entitled "Safety Requirements for External Product Piping (wetlines) on Cargo Tanks Transporting Flammable Liquids."
Declares that nothing in this requirement shall prohibit DOT from issuing standards or regulations regarding the safety of wetlines on cargo tanks transporting flammable liquids after the withdrawal is carried out.
(Sec. 7207) Directs GAO to study the standards, metrics, and protocols that DOT uses to regulate the performance of persons ("third-party labs") approved to recommend hazard classifications for the transportation of new explosives.
(Sec. 7208) Directs DOT to allow states, at their discretion, to waive the requirement for a holder of a Class A commercial driver's license to obtain a hazmat endorsement, as long as certain requirements are met.
Subtitle C--Safe Transportation of Flammable Liquids by Rail
(Sec. 7301) Directs DOT to establish a competitive program for the award of community safety grants to nonprofit organizations for:
- national outreach and training programs to assist communities in preparing for and responding to accidents and incidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials, including Class 3 flammable liquids by rail; and
- training state and local personnel responsible for enforcing the safe transportation of hazmat, including Class 3 flammable liquids by rail.
(Sec. 7302) Directs DOT to issue regulations requiring Class I railroads transporting hazmat to:
- generate accurate, real-time, and electronic train consist information, including emergency response information;
- grant each applicable fusion center secure access to such information;
- require each such fusion center to supply that information to state and local first responders, emergency response officials, and law enforcement personnel involved in the response to or investigation of an accident, incident, or public health or safety emergency involving the rail transportation;
- require each Class I railroad to give advanced notification and information on high-hazard flammable trains to each state emergency response commission; and
- prescribe requirements for further transmission of such information to specified first responders, officials, and personnel.
(Sec. 7303) Directs GAO to study whether weaknesses exist in the emergency response information carried by train crews transporting hazmat.
(Sec. 7304) Requires the phase-out by specified deadlines of all DOT-111 specification (non-pressurized) railroad tank cars transporting Class 3 flammable liquids not retrofitted to meet DOT-117, DOT-117P, or DOT-117R design specifications established by the May 2015 final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail.
(Sec. 7305) Directs DOT to issue regulations to require each tank car built to meet the DOT-117 specification and each non-jacketed tank car modified to meet the DOT-117R specification to be equipped with an insulating blanket with at least one-half inch thick DOT-approved material.
(Sec. 7306) Requires top fittings for DOT-117R tank cars, with specified exceptions, to be located inside a protective housing not less than one-half inch in thickness and constructed of material having a tensile strength not less than 65 kilopound per square inch and meeting certain other specifications.
(Sec. 7307) Directs DOT to notify Congress on the status of a certain rulemaking on oil spill response plans.
(Sec. 7308) Directs DOT to implement a reporting requirement to monitor industry-wide progress toward modifying rail tank cars transporting Class 3 flammable liquids by specified deadlines.
(Sec. 7309) Directs the Department of Energy, in cooperation with DOT, and within 180 days after completion of the comprehensive Crude Oil Characteristics Research Sampling, Analysis, and Experiment Plan study at Sandia National Laboratories, to report to Congress on it and its recommendations.
(Sec. 7310) Directs DOT to initiate a study on the levels and structure of insurance for railroad carriers transporting hazmat.
(Sec. 7311) Directs the GAO to evaluate independently any electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brake systems, pilot program data, and DOT research and analysis on the costs, benefits, and effects of such systems.
Directs DOT to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to complete testing of ECP brake systems during emergency braking application, including more than 1 scenario involving the uncoupling of a train with 70 or more DOT-117 specification or DOT-117R specification tank cars.
Defines "ECP brake system" as a train power braking system actuated by compressed air and controlled by electronic signals from the locomotive or an Depancreatizing device to the cars in the consist for service and emergency applications in which the brake pipe is used to provide a constant supply of compressed air to the reservoirs on each car but does not convey braking signals to the car.
Requires DOT to incorporate evaluation results fully and update the regulatory impact analysis of the final rule issued on May 8, 2015, entitled "Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains," especially the costs, benefits, and effects of the applicable ECP brake system requirements.
TITLE VIII--MULTIMODAL FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION
(Sec. 8001) Directs DOT to develop, update every five years, and publish on its website a national freight strategic plan.
Revises requirements for the National Multimodal Freight Network, freight investment plans and transportation investment data and planning tools.
TITLE IX--NATIONAL SURFACE TRANSPORTATION AND INNOVATIVE FINANCE BUREAU
(Sec. 9001) Directs DOT to establish:
- a National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau to promote innovative financing best practices and provide assistance from infrastructure finance programs, the railroad rehabilitation and improvement financing program, and allocations for qualified highway or surface freight transfer facilities; and
- a Council on Credit and Finance to review and make recommendations on applications for such assistance.
TITLE X--SPORT FISH RESTORATION AND RECREATIONAL BOATING SAFETY
(Sec. 10001) Amends the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act to reauthorize through FY2021 appropriations from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund for various fish, boating, and coastal wetlands restoration programs. Revises also amounts allocated from the Fund to various programs, including amounts for programs concerning: (1) coastal wetlands, (2) boating safety, and (3) boating infrastructure.
(Sec. 10002) Sets aside a separate amount each fiscal year through FY2021 for the Coast Guard's administration of the national recreational boating safety program.
Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015
(Sec. 11001) Authorizes appropriations to DOT for FY2016-FY2020 for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) for:
- the Northeast Corridor Improvement Fund account,
- the National Network account,
- consolidated rail infrastructure and safety improvements grants,
- federal-state partnership for state of good repair grants,
- restoration and enhancement grants, and
- the Office of the Inspector General.
Requires set-asides of specified funds for FY2016-FY2017 to:
- convene the Gulf Coast rail service working group, and
- implement the small business participation study.
Authorizes DOT to withhold a specified amount for each fiscal year for:
- the State-Supported Route Committee, and
- the Northeast Corridor Commission.
Subtitle B--Amtrak Reforms
(Sec. 11201) Directs DOT to establish an account structure and improvements to accounting methodologies to support the Northeast Corridor and National Network accounts.
(Sec. 11202) Directs Amtrak to establish internal controls to ensure its costs and revenues are allocated to either the Northeast Corridor or the National Network.
Directs DOT to establish substantive and procedural requirements for Northeast Corridor and National Network investment capital grant requests.
(Sec. 11203) Requires Amtrak to submit to Congress and DOT final 5-year business line plans and 5-year capital asset plans.
(Sec. 11204) Directs DOT to establish the State-Supported Route Committee to promote mutual cooperation and planning pertaining to the rail operations of Amtrak and related activities of trains operated by Amtrak on state-supported routes.
(Sec. 11205) Revises requirements for, and increases from 9 to 10 the number of, members of Amtrak's Board of Directors.
(Sec. 11206) Amends the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 to revise requirements with respect to methodologies for Amtrak route and service planning decisions an independent entity must develop and recommend for Amtrak to use in the planning of intercity rail passenger transportation routes and services.
(Sec 11207) Directs Amtrak to develop a plan to eliminate the operating loss for food and beverage service on board its trains.
Bars the use of federal funds, beginning five years after enactment of this Act, to cover any such loss on a route operated either by Amtrak or a rail carrier that operates a route in lieu of Amtrak.
(Sec. 11208) Requires Amtrak, before entering into contracts exceeding $100 million to procure rolling stock and locomotives, to submit to DOT and Congress a business case analysis on the utility of such procurements.
(Sec. 11209) Directs Amtrak to establish a pilot program for a state or states that sponsor a state-supported route operated by Amtrak to facilitate:
- onboard purchase and sale of local food and beverage products, and
- partnerships with local entities to hold promotional events on trains or in stations.
(Sec. 11210) Directs Amtrak to:
- develop a pilot program to allow passengers to transport domesticated cats or dogs on certain Amtrak trains, and
- collect fees for each cat or dog (except service animals) transported by a ticketed passenger.
Bars the use of federal funds to implement this program.
(Sec. 11211) Directs Amtrak to request proposals from qualified persons or entities to utilize right-of-way and real estate owned by Amtrak for telecommunications systems, energy distribution systems, and other appropriate activities. Authorizes Amtrak to enter into an agreement to implement any such proposal or proposals.
(Sec. 11212) Requires Amtrak to report to Congress on options to enhance economic development and accessibility of and around Amtrak stations and terminals.
Directs Amtrak to request proposals from qualified persons, including small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and veteran-owned small businesses, to lead, participate, or partner with Amtrak, a station owner, and other entities in enhancing economic development in and around such stations and terminals using these options.
(Sec. 11213) Directs the Amtrak Inspector General to:
- evaluate Amtrak's boarding procedures for passengers, including those using or transporting nonmotorized transportation, such as bicycles, at its 15 stations through which the most people pass; and
- make certain comparisons and recommendations to improve such procedures.
(Sec. 11214) Amends the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 to extend indefinitely specified authority to restructure long-term Amtrak debt and capital leases. Limits any such restructuring to the extent provided in advance in appropriations Acts.
Prohibits Amtrak from incurring more debt after the enactment of this Act without the express advance approval of DOT (as under current law), unless that debt receives credit assistance (including direct loans and loan guarantees) under the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Act of 1976.
(Sec. 11215) Prescribes requirements for elimination of duplicative Amtrak reporting requirements.
Subtitle C--Intercity Passenger Rail Policy
(Sec. 11301) Authorizes DOT to make grants to a state (or group of states), an Interstate Compact, a public agency, a state political subdivision, Amtrak or other rail carrier providing intercity rail passenger transportation, a Class I or Class II railroad, or other specified entities to assist in financing the cost of rail projects to improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of passenger and freight rail transportation systems.
Authorizes DOT to establish performance measures for grant recipients to assess progress in achieving certain strategic goals and objectives.
Makes at least 25% of appropriations for such grants available for projects in rural areas.
Requires DOT to allocate an appropriate portion for grants to states:
- for freight rail capital projects in cases where there is no intercity passenger rail service, or
- where the rail transportation system is not physically connected to rail systems in the continental United States or may not qualify for a grant for transportation-related capital projects.
(Sec. 11302) Directs DOT to develop a federal-state partnership program for issuing competitive grants to a state (or group of states), an Interstate Compact, a public agency, a state political subdivision, or Amtrak for capital projects to replace, rehabilitate, or repair major infrastructure assets for providing intercity passenger rail service.
(Sec. 11303) Directs DOT to develop a program for issuing three-year competitive operating assistance grants to a state (or group of states), an Interstate Compact, a public agency, a state political subdivision, Amtrak, or a rail carrier to initiate, restore, or enhance intercity rail passenger service.
(Sec. 11304) Directs DOT to convene a working group to evaluate the restoration of intercity rail passenger service in the Gulf Coast region between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Orlando, Florida.
(Sec. 11305) Revises the purpose of the Northeast Corridor Commission to require it to promote mutual cooperation and planning pertaining to rail infrastructure investments of the Northeast Corridor.
Revises membership composition of the Commission to include individuals from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration.
Requires the Commission to update periodically its statement of goals concerning the future of Northeast Corridor rail infrastructure and operations and to submit it to Congress, along with with annual performance reports and recommendations for improvements for commuter, intercity, and freight rail transportation along the Corridor, as well as a Northeast Corridor capital investment plan.
(Sec. 11306) Directs the Commission to develop:
- a capital investment plan for the Northeast Corridor main line between Boston, Massachusetts, and the Virginia Avenue interlocking in the District of Columbia, and the Northeast Corridor branch lines connecting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Springfield, Massachusetts, and Spuyten Duyvil, New York; and
- a Northeast Corridor service development plan, updated at least once every 10 years.
Requires Amtrak and each state and public transportation entity that owns infrastructure providing intercity rail passenger transportation on the Northeast Corridor to develop an asset management system and develop, and update as necessary, a Northeast Corridor asset management plan.
(Sec. 11307) Directs DOT to implement a pilot program for the competitive selection of a rail carrier or rail carriers owning infrastructure over which Amtrak operates a long-distance route, a state (or group of states), or state-supported joint powers authority or other sub-state governance entity providing intercity rail passenger transportation over such long-distance routes in lieu of Amtrak to operate three long-distance routes.
(Sec. 11308) Requires DOT to:
- issue a request for proposals meeting certain performance standards for the financing and construction of a high-speed passenger rail system within specified high-speed rail corridors, and
- establish a commission for each corridor with one or more proposals that satisfy specified requirements to review and report on the proposals.
Requires DOT then to select any proposal that provides substantial benefits to the public and the national transportation system, is cost-effective, offers significant advantages over existing services, and meets other relevant factors.
(Sec. 11309) Prescribes requirements for the award of large capital project grants in excess of $1 billion.
(Sec. 11310) Directs DOT to study the availability and use of small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and veteran-owned small businesses in publicly funded intercity rail passenger transportation projects.
(Sec. 11311) Directs DOT to study:
- the shared use of right-of-way by passenger and freight rail systems; and
- the operational, institutional, and legal structures that would best support improvements to both systems.
(Sec. 11312) Directs the Commission to study the feasibility of and options for permitting through-ticketing between Amtrak service and commuter rail services on the Northeast Corridor.
Directs DOT, in cooperation with the Commission, Amtrak, and commuter rail transportation authorities on the Northeast Corridor, to study the potential benefits of joint procurement by Amtrak and those authorities of common materials, assets, and equipment when spending federal funds.
(Sec. 11313) Directs DOT to conduct a data needs assessment to support development of an intercity passenger rail network.
(Sec. 11314) Grants the Amtrak Inspector General authority to investigate alleged activities meant to defraud the United States.
Directs the Inspector General to initiate an assessment of whether Amtrak's current expenditures or procurements use competitive, market-driven provisions to fulfill the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
(Sec. 11401) Directs the FRA to:
- develop a model of a state-specific highway-rail grade crossing action plan meeting specified requirements,
- distribute the plan to each state, and
- promulgate a rule requiring each state and implement its own action plan.
(Sec. 11402) Directs DOT to:
- determine whether limitations or weaknesses exist regarding the availability and usefulness for safety purposes of data on private highway-rail grade crossings, and
- evaluate existing engineering practices on such grade crossings.
(Sec. 11403) Requires the GAO to evaluate the final rule issued on August 17, 2006, entitled "Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings."
(Sec. 11404) Requires DOT, after certifying that each Class I railroad carrier and each entity providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation complies with positive train control (PTC) requirements, to study the possible effectiveness of PTC and related technologies on reducing collisions at highway-rail grade crossings.
(Sec. 11405) Amends the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 to authorize a state or local government to request DOT for a public version of any bridge inspection report generated under a track owner's bridge safety management program for a bridge located in its jurisdiction.
(Sec. 11406) Directs each railroad carrier providing intercity rail passenger transportation or commuter rail passenger transportation to survey its entire system and identify:
- each main track location where there is a reduction of more than 20 miles per hour from the approach speed to a curve, bridge, or tunnel; and
- the maximum authorized operating speed for passenger trains at that curve, bridge, or tunnel.
Requires each railroad carrier, after completing the survey, to submit for DOT approval an action plan that:
- identifies each main track location where there is a reduction of more than 20 miles per hour from the approach speed to a curve, bridge, or tunnel as well as the maximum authorized operating speed for passenger trains at that location;
- describes appropriate actions to enable warning and enforcement of the maximum authorized speed for passenger trains at each identified location;
- contains milestones and target dates for implementing each appropriate action; and
- ensures compliance with the maximum authorized speed at each identified location.
Authorizes DOT, however, to exempt from these requirements each segment of track for which operations are governed by a certified PTC system or any other safety technology or practice that would achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety in reducing derailment risk.
(Sec. 11407) Directs DOT to promulgate a rule to require a working alerter in the controlling locomotive of each passenger train in intercity rail passenger transportation or commuter rail passenger transportation. Authorizes an alternative safety measure that would achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety in providing additional signal protection.
(Sec. 11408) Directs DOT to initiate a rulemaking to require that on-track safety regulations, whenever practicable and consistent with other safety requirements and operational considerations, include requiring implementation of redundant signal protection for maintenance-of-way work crews who depend on a train dispatcher to provide signal protection.
Requires DOT to consider exempting from any final requirements each segment of track for which operations are governed by a certified PTC system or any other safety technology or practice that would achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety in providing additional signal protection.
(Sec. 11409) Directs DOT to evaluate track inspection regulations to determine if a railroad carrier providing commuter rail passenger transportation on high density commuter railroad lines should be required to inspect the lines in the same manner as is required for other commuter railroad lines.
Authorizes DOT, after this evaluation, to promulgate a rule for high density commuter railroad lines, considering the following regulatory requirements for such lines:
- at least once every two weeks traverse each main line by vehicle or inspect it on foot, and
- at least once each month traverse and inspect each siding by vehicle or by foot.
(Sec. 11410) Directs DOT, in cooperation with the NTSB and Amtrak, to conduct a post-accident assessment of the Amtrak Northeast Regional Train #188 crash on May 12, 2015, adhering to specified requirements.
(Sec. 11411) Directs DOT to promulgate regulations to require each railroad carrier that provides regularly scheduled intercity rail passenger or commuter rail passenger transportation to the public to install inward- and outward-facing image recording devices in all controlling locomotive cabs and cab car operating compartments in such passenger trains.
Prohibits the use of an in-cab audio or image recording obtained by a railroad carrier to retaliate against an employee.
(Sec. 11412) Revises authorities of and requirements for railroad police officers. Applies them to officers either directly employed by or contracted by a rail carrier.
Requires such a railroad police officer, who is certified or commissioned as a police officer under the laws of a state, who transfers primary employment or residence from the certifying or commissioning state to another state or jurisdiction to apply within one year after the transfer to be certified or commissioned as a police office under the laws of the state of new primary employment or residence.
Declares that a state may recognize as meeting its basic police officer certification or commissioning requirements for qualification as a rail police officer any individual who successfully completes a program at a state-recognized police training academy in another state or at a federal law enforcement training center, and who is certified or commissioned as a police officer by that other state.
Requires DOT to revise certain regulations to permit a railroad to designate an individual, who is commissioned in the individual's state of legal residence or state of primary employment and directly employed by or contracted by a railroad to enforce state laws for the protection of railroad property, personnel, passengers, and cargo, to serve in the states in which the railroad owns property.
(Sec. 11413) Authorizes DOT to receive and expend cash, or receive and utilize spare parts and similar items, from non-federal government sources to repair damages to or replace federal government-owned automated track inspection cars and equipment as a result of third-party liability for such damages. Requires any amounts collected to be credited directly to the FRS Railroad Safety and Operations account and remain available until expended for the repair, operation, and maintenance of automated track inspection cars and equipment in connection with the automated track inspection program.
Repair and replacement of damaged track inspection equipment.
(Sec. 11414) Requires DOT to report to Congress on FRA research into developing a system that measures vertical track deflection from a moving rail car, including the system's ability to identify poor track support from fouled ballast, deteriorated cross ties, or other conditions.
(Sec. 11415) Declares $295 million (adjusted for inflation) to be the maximum aggregate allowable awards to all rail passengers, against all defendants, for all claims, including claims for punitive damages, arising from a single accident or incident involving Amtrak occurring on May 12, 2015.
Subtitle E--Project Delivery
Track, Railroad, and Infrastructure Network Act or the TRAIN Act
(Sec. 11502) Exempts improvements to, maintenance, rehabilitation, or operation of railroad or rail transit lines that are in use (including bridges or tunnels located on railroad or transit lines on which service has been discontinued or that have been railbanked or otherwise reserved for goods or passenger transportation), or were historically used for the transportation of goods or passengers, from federal policies and requirements for the preservation of public park and recreation lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites. Allows such improvements, however, regarding stations or bridges or tunnels located on abandoned or unused lines.
(Sec. 11503) Directs DOT to:
- apply specified project development procedures, to the greatest extent feasible, to any railroad project that requires DOT approval under NEPA, and
- incorporate aspects of such procedures into agency regulations and procedures in a manner that increases the efficiency of the review of railroad projects.
Requires DOT also to survey FRA use of categorical exclusions in transportation projects since 2005 and publish in the Federal Register a review of the survey that describes:
- the types of actions categorically excluded; and
- any actions DOT is considering for new categorical exclusions, including those that would conform to those of other modal administrations.
Directs DOT to publish, one year after enactment of this Act, a notice of proposed rulemaking to propose new and existing categorical exclusions for railroad projects that require DOT approval under NEPA and develop a process for considering new categorical exclusions.
(Sec. 11504) Directs DOT to submit to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, one year after enactment of this Act, a proposed exemption, and 180 days later, a final exemption of railroad rights-of-way from review for their effect on historic property consistent with a specified exemption for interstate highways approved on March 10, 2005.
Railroad Infrastructure Financing Improvement Act
(Sec. 11603) Amends the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 to direct DOT to make direct loans and loan guarantees to joint ventures that include, instead of at least one railroad, at least one railroad, state or local government, interstate compact, or government sponsored authority or corporation (entity).
(Sec. 11604) Requires direct loans and loan guarantees for railroad rehabilitation to:
- cover pre-construction costs;
- reimburse planning and design expenses relating to specified activities; and
- finance economic development during a specified four-year period, including commercial and residential development, and related infrastructure and activities, that incorporate private investment and meet certain other specifications.
Directs DOT to require a non-federal match of at least 25% for transit-oriented development projects.
(Sec. 11605) Divides into 30 days and 60 days the current 90 day deadline for approval or disapproval of a loan or loan guarantee application. Requires DOT to notify direct loan or loan guarantee applicants within 30 days if their applications are incomplete, and within another 60 days to approve or disapprove a resubmitted application.
Authorizes the collection of charges for certain costs additional to the evaluation of applications. Repeals the current formula cap on such a charge.
(Sec. 11606) Allows the term for repayment of a direct loan or loan guarantee to extend from a maximum of 35 years to a maximum of the lesser of:
- 35 years after the date of substantial completion of the project; or
- the estimated useful life of the rail equipment or facilities to be acquired, rehabilitated, improved, developed, or established.
Authorizes DOT to allow, for up to one year over the duration of the direct loan, an obligor to add unpaid principal and interest to the outstanding balance if at any time after the date of substantial completion the project is unable to generate sufficient revenues to pay the scheduled loan repayments of principal and interest on a direct loan. Allows also prepayments without penalty.
Authorizes DOT, after notifying the obligor, also to sell to another entity or reoffer into the capital markets a direct loan for the project if the sale or reoffering has a high probability of being made on favorable terms. Prohibits any change to the original terms and conditions of the secured loan without the obligor's prior written consent.
Declares that a direct loan shall not be subordinated to the claims of any holder of project obligations in the event of the obligor's bankruptcy, insolvency, or liquidation. Permits waiver of this prohibition against subordination for a public agency borrower that is financing ongoing capital programs and has outstanding senior bonds under a preexisting indenture for an A-rated direct loan that meets specified security and other criteria.
(Sec. 11607) Repeals authority for cohorts of loans.
Allows a direct loan or loan guarantee applicant to propose, and requires DOT to accept as a basis for determining the amount of a credit risk premium any of the following in addition to the value of any tangible asset:
- the net present value of a future stream of state or local subsidy income or other dedicated revenues to secure the direct loan or loan guarantee;
- adequate coverage requirements to ensure repayment, on a non-recourse basis, from cash flows generated by the project or any other dedicated revenue source;
- an investment-grade rating on the direct loan or loan guarantee (which must be from at least two rating agencies if the loan or guarantee exceeds $75 million); or
- a rating on the direct loan or loan guarantee.
(Sec. 11608) Authorizes DOT to enter into a master credit agreement (to make one or more direct loans or loan guarantees at future dates for a program of related projects secured by a common security pledge) contingent upon prior satisfaction of specified conditions.
(Sec. 11609) Requires DOT, in granting direct loans and loan guarantees, among other priority projects to give priority to those for improving railroad stations and passenger facilities and increasing transit-oriented development.
(Sec. 11611) Directs the GAO to analyze how the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program can be used to improve passenger rail infrastructure.
DIVISION B--COMPREHENSIVE TRANSPORTATION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT OF 2015
TITLE XXIV[sic]--MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY
(Sec. 24101) Reauthorizes through FY2020 the administration of DOT motor vehicle safety requirements and requirements for consumer information, bumper standards, odometers, automobile fuel economy, and theft prevention.
(Sec. 24102) Requires the DOT Inspector General to report periodically to specified congressional committees on whether and what progress has been made to implement the recommendations in the Office of Inspector General Audit Report issued June 18, 2015 (ST-2015-063).
Requires the NHTSA to brief these committees periodically on the actions it has taken to implement those recommendations, and submit a final report on implementation of all of the recommendations within one year after enactment of this Act.
(Sec. 24103) Directs DOT to meet specified requirements to implement current information technology, web design trends, and best practices that will help ensure that motor vehicle safety recall information available to the public on the federal website is readily accessible and easy to use.
Requires the GAO to study the current consumer, dealer, and manufacturer use of the safety recall information made available to the public, including the usability and content of the federal and manufacturers' websites and NHTSA efforts to publicize and educate consumers about safety recall information.
Amends MAP-21 to require DOT to:
- update periodically the method of conveying recall information to consumers, dealers, and manufacturers, such as through public service announcements; and
- make available to the public on the Internet detailed guidance for consumers submitting safety complaints.
(Sec. 24104) Directs DOT to prescribe a final rule revising the regulations for manufacturer's recall for a defect relating to motor vehicle safety or a noncompliance with a federal motor vehicle safety standard. Requires any recall to include notification by electronic means in addition to notification by first class mail.
(Sec. 24105) Directs DOT to implement a two-year pilot program of grants to states to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a state process for informing consumers of open motor vehicle recalls at the time of motor vehicle registration in the state.
(Sec. 24106) Extends a manufacturer's recall obligations to filing of a petition in bankruptcy under chapter 7 (Liquidation).
(Sec. 24107) Prescribes owner or requester notification requirements for a dealer to meet in order to obtain reimbursement from a manufacturer fair reimbursement for providing a remedy without charge under the manufacturer's recall.
(Sec. 24108) Extends from 60 days to 180 days the time after receipt of a recall notice for a tire owner or purchaser to present a defective or noncomplying tire to the manufacturer to remedy the defect or noncompliance.
(Sec. 24109) Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2015
Authorizes a rental company that receives a notification (approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) from the manufacturer of a covered rental vehicle about any equipment defect, or noncompliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards, to rent or sell the vehicle or equipment only if the defect or noncompliance is remedied.
Specifies any rental vehicle: (1) rated at 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less, (2) rented without a driver for an initial term of under 4 months, and (3) that is part of a motor vehicle fleet of 5 or more motor vehicles used for rental purposes by a rental company.
Prescribes a special rule to require rental companies to comply with specified limitations on sale, lease, or rental of a motor vehicle as soon as practicable, but within 24 hours after the earliest receipt of the manufacturer's notification of a defect or noncompliance with vehicle safety standards, whether by electronic means or first class mail. Extends the 24-hour deadline for complying with such limitations to 48 hours if the notification covers more than 5,000 motor vehicles in the rental company's fleet.
Permits a rental company to rent (but not sell or lease) a motor vehicle subject to recall if the defect or noncompliance remedy is not immediately available and the company takes any actions specified in the notice to alter the vehicle temporarily to eliminate the safety risk posed.
Makes these special rules for rental companies inapplicable to junk automobiles.
Prohibits a rental company from knowingly making inoperable any safety devices or elements of design installed on or in a compliant motor vehicle or vehicle equipment unless the company reasonably believes the vehicle or equipment will not be used when the devices or elements are inoperable.
Authorizes the Secretary, upon request, to inspect records of a rental company with respect to a safety investigation. Authorizes the Secretary to require a rental company to keep records or make reports for purposes of compliance with federal motor vehicle safety orders or regulations.
Authorizes the Secretary to study the effectiveness of the amendments made by this Act and of other activities of rental companies.
Amends the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) to require the mandatory study of the safety of rental trucks during a specified seven-year period to evaluate the completion of safety recall remedies on rental trucks.
Directs the Secretary to solicit comments regarding the implementation of this Act from members of the public, including rental companies, consumer organizations, automobile manufacturers, and automobile dealers.
Declares that nothing in this Act shall: (1) be construed to create or increase any liability for a manufacturer who manufactures or imports a motor vehicle that is subject to defect or noncompliance recall requirements; or (2) supersede or otherwise affect the contractual obligations, if any, between such manufacturer and a rental company.
(Sec. 24110) Increases from $5,000 to $21,000 maximum civil penalties for certain violations of motor vehicle safety, and from $35 million to $105 million the maximum civil penalty for a series of violations.
(Sec. 24111) Authorizes a state, without DOT approval, to allow electronic odometer disclosures meeting certain requirements relating to the transfer of vehicles.
(Sec. 24112) Directs DOT (which currently is merely authorized) to promulgate rules requiring a senior official responsible for safety in any company submitting information to the Secretary in response to a request for information in a safety defect or compliance investigation to make specified certifications.
(Sec. 24113) Requires DOT to report on the feasibility of a technical system that would operate in each new motor vehicle to indicate when it is subject to an open manufacturer's recall.
(Sec. 24114) Changes from discretionary to mandatory the authority of DOT to initiate research into effective ways to minimize the risk of hyperthermia or hypothermia to children or other unattended passengers in rear seating positions.
(Sec. 24115) Directs DOT, within one year after enactment of this Act, to publish a proposed rule that:
- updates standards pertaining to tire pressure monitoring systems to ensure that such a system installed in a new motor vehicle after the effective date of the updated standards cannot be overridden, reset, or recalibrated in such a way that the system will no longer detect when the inflation pressure in one or more of the vehicle's tires has fallen to or below a significantly underinflated pressure level; and
- does not contain any provision that has the effect of prohibiting the availability of direct or indirect tire pressure monitoring systems that meet the requirements of the updated standards.
Requires DOT, within two years after enactment of this Act and with sufficient notice and comment opportunity, to issue a final rule based on the proposed rule that:
- allows a manufacturer to install a tire pressure monitoring system that can be reset or recalibrated to accommodate the repositioning of tire sensor locations on vehicles with split inflation pressure recommendations, tire rotation, or replacement tires or wheels of a different size than the original equipment tires or wheels; and
- ensures that a tire pressure monitoring system that is reset or recalibrated according to the manufacturer's instructions would illuminate the low tire pressure warning telltale when a tire is significantly underinflated until the tire is no longer significantly underinflated.
(Sec. 24116) Requires a manufacturer required to furnish a report for a defect or noncompliance in a motor vehicle or in an item of original or replacement equipment to include specified information on any specific component or components involved in the recall.
Subtitle B--Research And Development And Vehicle Electronics
Sec. 24201) Directs DOT to report to specified congressional committees on the operations of the Council for Vehicle Electronics, Vehicle Software, and Emerging Technologies, especially its accomplishments, its role in integrating and aggregating electronic and emerging technologies expertise across the NHTSA, its role in coordinating with other federal agencies, and its priorities over the next five years.
(Sec. 24202) Directs DOT, in carrying out motor vehicle and highway safety research, development, and testing programs and activities, and in coordination with Department of State, to enter into cooperative agreements and collaborative research and development agreements with foreign governments.
Requires the DOT Inspector General to audit DOT management and oversight of cooperative agreements and collaborative research and development agreements, including any cooperative agreements with foreign governments.
Subtitle C--Miscellaneous Provisions
Part I--Driver Privacy Act of 2015
Driver Privacy Act of 2015
(Sec. 24302) Declares that any data in an event data recorder required to be installed in a passenger motor vehicle (as provided for under Department of Transportation [DOT] regulations concerning the collection, storage, and retrievability of onboard motor vehicle crash event data) is the property of the owner or lessee of the vehicle in which the recorder is installed, regardless of when the vehicle was manufactured.
Prohibits a person, other than the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle, from accessing data recorded or transmitted by such a recorder unless:
- a court or other judicial or administrative authority authorizes the retrieval of such data subject to admissibility of evidence standards;
- an owner or lessee consents to such retrieval for any purpose, including vehicle diagnosis, service, or repair;
- the data is retrieved pursuant to certain authorized investigations or inspections of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) or DOT;
- the data is retrieved to determine the appropriate emergency medical response to a motor vehicle crash; or
- the data is retrieved for traffic safety research, and the owner's or lessee's personally identifiable information and the vehicle identification number are not disclosed.
(Sec. 24303) Directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after completing a study and submitting a report to Congress, to promulgate regulations concerning the amount of time event data recorders installed in passenger motor vehicles may capture and record vehicle-related data to provide accident investigators with pertinent crash-related information.
Part II--Safety Through Informed Consumers Act Of 2015
Safety Through Informed Consumers Act of 2015
(Sec. 24322) Revises passenger motor vehicle information program requirements.
Directs DOT to promulgate a rule to ensure that passenger motor vehicle crash avoidance information is indicated next to crashworthiness information on stickers placed on motor vehicles by their manufacturers.
Part III--Tire Efficiency, Safety, and Registration Act of 2015
Tire Efficiency, Safety, and Registration Act of 2015 or the TESR Act
(Sec. 24332) Requires DOT to promulgate regulations for:
- tire fuel efficiency minimum performance standards, and
- tire wet traction minimum performance standards.
(Sec. 34433) Directs DOT to initiate a rulemaking to require independent distributors or dealers of tires to maintain records containing certain information on sales of tires.
(Sec. 34434) Directs DOT to examine the feasibility of requiring all tire manufacturers that must maintain purchaser records and procedures to:
- include electronic identification on every tire that reflects all of the information currently required in the tire identification number, and
- ensure that the same type and format of electronic information technology is used on all tires.
(Sec. 34435) Directs DOT to establish a publicly available electronic tire recall database.
Part IV--Alternative Fuel Vehicles
(Sec. 24341) Directs the EPA to revise certain regulations for calculating average fuel economy and average carbon-related exhaust emissions for natural gas dual fuel model type vehicles to accelerate the mandatory application of a combined model type fuel economy determined according to a specified formula starting model years after 2016 instead of starting model years after 2019.
Part V--Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act
Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act
(Sec. 24352) Prescribes certain whistleblower incentives and protections for motor vehicle manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership employees or contractors who voluntarily give DOT information relating to any motor vehicle defect, noncompliance, or any violation of any notification or reporting requirement which is likely to cause unreasonable risk of death or serious physical injury.
Authorizes DOT to pay awards to one or more whistleblowers in an aggregate amount of up to between 10% and 30% of total monetary sanctions collected pursuant to an administrative or judicial action resulting in aggregate monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million.
Denies an award to any whistleblower who:
- is convicted of a criminal violation related to such administrative or judicial action;
- contributes to the alleged violation of a requirement under this Act;
- submits to DOT information based on facts previously submitted by another whistleblower;
- fails to provide original information to DOT in the appropriate form; or
- fails to report or attempt to report the information internally through an internal reporting mechanism to the motor vehicle manufacturer, parts supplier, or dealership, unless the whistleblower reasonably believed it would have resulted in retaliation or was already known by the manufacturer, part supplier, or dealership, or unless DOT has good cause to waive this requirement.
Prohibits also an award to any whistleblower who knowingly and intentionally makes false representations. Subjects such a whistleblower to criminal penalties.
Requires nondisclosure of a whistleblower's identity, except in specified circumstances.
Authorizes a whistleblower to appeal DOT determinations in the appropriate U.S. court of appeals.
Subtitle D--Additional Motor Vehicle Provisions
(Sec. 24401) The NHTSA shall publish annually on its website, and file with specified congressional committees, an annual plan for the next year detailing its projected activities, including:
- its policy priorities,
- any rulemakings projected to be commenced,
- any plans to develop guidelines,
- any plans to restructure NHTSA or to establish or alter working groups,
- any planned NHTSA projects or initiatives, including its working groups and advisory committees, and
- any projected dates or timetables associated with any of these items.
(Sec. 24402) Declares that the requirement that a remedy be provided without charge for a defect or noncompliance does not apply if the motor vehicle or replacement equipment was bought by the first purchaser more than 15 (currently, more than 10) calendar years before the notice of a defect or noncompliance is given.
(Sec. 24403) DOT shall issue a final rule requiring each manufacturer of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment to retain all motor vehicle safety records, as required by specified federal regulations, for a period of at least 10 calendar years from the date on which they were generated or acquired by the manufacturer. Applies such a rule, however, only to any record in the manufacturer's possession on the rule's effective date.
(Sec. 24404) Declares that certain prohibitions on manufacturing, selling, and importing noncomplying motor vehicles and equipment shall not apply to the introduction of a motor vehicle in interstate commerce solely for purposes of testing or evaluation by a manufacturer that agrees not to sell or offer it for sale at the conclusion of the testing or evaluation, and that before the enactment of this declaration:
- has manufactured and distributed motor vehicles into the United States that are certified to comply with all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards;
- has submitted to DOT appropriate manufacturer identification information meeting specified criteria; and
- if applicable, has identified an agent for service of process.
(Sec. 24405) Directs DOT to exempt from Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards applicable to motor vehicles (but not those pertaining to motor vehicle equipment) up to 325 replica motor vehicles per year manufactured or imported by a registered low-volume manufacturer (other than an importer) whose annual worldwide production, including by the manufacturer's parent or subsidiary, is not more than 5,000 motor vehicles.
Defines "replica motor vehicle" as one produced by a low-volume manufacturer and that:
- is intended to resemble the body of another motor vehicle manufactured at least 25 years earlier; and
- is manufactured under a license for the product configuration, trade dress, trademark, or patent, for the motor vehicle that is intended to be replicated from the original manufacturer, its successors or assignees, or current owner of such product configuration, trade dress, trademark, or patent rights.
Amends the Clean Air Act to exempt form vehicle emission standards, and allow the installation of, a motor vehicle engine (including all engine emission controls) in an exempted specially produced motor vehicle if the motor vehicle engine meets certain requirements and is from a motor vehicle covered by:
- a certificate of conformity issued by the EPA for the model year in which the exempted specially produced motor vehicle is produced, or
- an executive order subject to regulations promulgated by the California Air Resources Board for the model year in which the exempted specially produced motor vehicle is produced.
(Sec. 24406) Declares that no DOT motor vehicle safety guidelines shall confer any rights on any person, state, or locality, nor operate to bind DOT or any person to the approach recommended in such guidelines.
Requires DOT, in any enforcement action regarding motor vehicle safety, to allege a violation of a provision of this subtitle, a motor vehicle safety standard issued under this subtitle, or another relevant statute or regulation.
Prohibits DOT from basing an enforcement action on, or executing a consent order based on, practices alleged to be inconsistent with any such guidelines, unless the practices allegedly violate this subtitle, a motor vehicle safety standard issued under it, or another relevant statute or regulation.
(Sec. 24407) Directs DOT to revise the NHTSA crash investigation data collection system to include the collection of the following data in connection with vehicle crashes whenever a child restraint system was in use in a vehicle involved in a crash:
- the type or types of child restraint systems in use during the crash in any vehicle involved in the crash, including whether a five-point harness or belt-positioning booster; and
- if a five-point harness child restraint system was in use during the crash, whether the child restraint system was forward-facing or rear-facing in the vehicle concerned.
TITLE XXXI[sic]--HIGHWAY TRUST FUND AND RELATED TAXES
Subtitle A--Extension of Trust Fund Expenditure Authority and Related Taxes
(Sec. 31101) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend through September 30, 2020, authority for expenditures from, and transfers to: (1) the Highway Trust Fund Highway and Mass Transit Accounts, (2) the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, and (3) the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.
(Sec. 31102) Extends through September 30, 2022: (1) excise taxes on fuel used by certain buses, certain alcohol fuels, gasoline (other than aviation gasoline) and diesel fuel or kerosene, certain heavy trucks and trailers, and tires, and (2) the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund financing rate.
Extends: (1) the tax on the use of certain heavy motor vehicles, (2) the period for claiming floor tax refunds, (3) exemptions from tax of certain sales of petroleum products and use of highway motor vehicles by states and localities, and (4) the authority for transfers of taxes to the Highway Trust Fund and transfers from such Fund of motorboat and small-engine fuel taxes.
Subtitle B--Additional Transfers to Highway Trust Fund
(Sec. 31201) Authorizes additional transfers of funds to the Highway and Mass Transit Accounts in the Highway Trust Fund.
(Sec. 31202) Authorizes the transfer of motor vehicle safety penalties to the Highway Trust Fund.
(Sec. 31203) Authorizes the transfer of amounts in the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund to the Highway Account in the Highway Trust Fund.
TITLE XXXII: OFFSETS
Subtitle A--Tax Provisions
(Sec. 32101) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to require the Department of the Treasury, upon receiving certification by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that any individual has a seriously delinquent tax debt in excess of $50,000, to transmit the certification and disclose certain tax return information to the Department of State for action with respect to denial, revocation, or limitation of a passport for the individual. Prohibits State, upon receiving such certification, from issuing a passport to such an individual except in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons. Requires State to revoke a passport previously issued to the individual; but to allows permitting a limited passport for return travel to the United States.
Authorizes State to deny a passport application or revoke a passport if the application does not include the applicant's Social Security number, or includes an incorrect or invalid number willfully, intentionally, negligently, or recklessly provided by the applicant.
(Sec. 32102) Directs the IRS to: (1) enter into qualified tax collection contracts to collect outstanding inactive tax receivables; (2) establish a program to hire, train, and employ special compliance personnel to collect taxes using the automated collection system; and (3) report to specified congressional committees on qualified tax collection contracts and the hiring and training of special compliance personnel.
(Sec. 32104) Amends the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 to repeal the requirement that Treasury modify appropriate regulations to set maximum extension for the tax returns of employee benefit plans filing Form 5500 at an automatic three-and-a-half-month period ending on November 15 for calendar year plans.
Subtitle B--Fees and Receipts
(Sec. 32201) Amends the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 to require Treasury to make an annual adjustment for inflation to fees for certain custom services.
Makes collected fees available for reimbursement of customs services and inspections costs, but only to the extent provided in appropriations Acts.
(Sec. 32202) Amends the Federal Reserve Act to limit the amount of surplus funds of federal reserve banks to $10 billion. Requires transfer of any amounts of surplus funds exceeding this limit to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board) for transfer to the Department of the Treasury for deposit in the general fund of the Treasury.
(Sec. 32203) Prescribes a formula for determining the annual dividend of stockholders of federal reserve banks whose total consolidated assets exceed $10 billion. Requires the dividend to be the smaller of:
- the current 6% of paid-in capital stock, or
- the rate equal to the high yield of the 10-year Treasury note auctioned at the last auction held before payment of the dividend.
Reserves the current 6% dividend for a stockholder with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or less.
Requires the Federal Reserve Board to adjust the dollar amounts of total consolidated assets annually for inflation to reflect the change in the Gross Domestic Product Price Index.
(Sec. 32204) Directs DOE to draw down and sell from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) the quantity of barrels of crude oil appropriate to maximize the financial return to United States taxpayers for each of FY2016-FY2017.
Specifies the numbers of barrels of crude oil to be drawn down from the SPR during FY2023-FY2025, ranging from 16 million (FY2023) to 25 million barrels (FY2025).
Prohibits DOE from drawing down and selling crude oil in quantities that would limit DOE authority to sell petroleum products in the full quantity authorized for prevention or reduction of the adverse impact of severe domestic energy supply interruptions.
Authorizes DOE to increase the drawdown and sales of crude oil during each of these fiscal years as appropriate to maximize the financial return to United States taxpayers.
Prohibits any drawdown or sales after a total of $6.2 billion has been deposited in the Treasury general fund from sales authorized under this section.
(Sec. 32205) Amends the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 to repeal, as of the date of enactment of that Act, its amendment to the Federal Crop Insurance Act requiring the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to renegotiate the Standard Reinsurance Agreement by December 31, 2016, and at least once every five years thereafter.
(The Standard Reinsurance Agreement is an agreement between the USDA and the private companies that administer the federal crop insurance program. It specifies details such as administrative and operating expense reimbursements and risk sharing between the USDA and the companies in the operation of the program. The repealed amendment establishes an 8.9% cap on the overall rate of return for insurance providers under the agreement, which is a decrease from the current negotiated rate of approximately 14.5%.)
(Sec. 32301) Amends the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982 to eliminate the payment of interest on overpayments under leases of oil and gas on federal lands.
Subtitle D--Budgetary Effects
(Sec. 32401) Prohibits the budgetary effects of this Act from being entered on either PAYGO scorecard maintained pursuant to the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.
TITLE XLI[sic]--FEDERAL PERMITTING IMPROVEMENT
Revises the process for federal approval of major infrastructure projects by establishing best practices, requiring coordination of federal agency review of projects, and shortening the period for challenges to final decisions for issuing project permits.
(Sec. 41001) Sets forth definitions of terms used in this title, including the definition of "covered project" as any activity in the United States that requires authorization or environmental review by a federal agency involving construction of infrastructure for renewable or conventional energy production, electricity transmission, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource projects, broadband, pipelines, manufacturing, or any other sector as determined by a majority vote of the Federal Infrastructure Permitting Improvement Steering Council established by this Act and that:
- is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA);
- is likely to require a total investment of more than $200 million;
- does not qualify for abbreviated authorization or environmental review processes under any applicable law; or
- involves a project the size and complexity of which make it likely to benefit from enhanced oversight and coordination, including a project likely to require authorization from, or environmental review involving, more than two agencies or the preparation of an environmental impact statement under NEPA.
Excludes from coverage by this title: (1) highway or transportation projects, and (2) water resources development projects subject to environmental review.
(Sec. 41002) Establishes the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, to be chaired by an Executive Director appointed by the President.
Requires the Executive Director to:
- establish an inventory of covered projects that are pending environmental review or authorization by the head of any federal agency;
- categorize the projects in the inventory based on sector and project type;
- for each category, identify the types of environmental reviews and authorizations most commonly involved;
- add a covered project to the inventory after receiving a notice of the initiation of a proposed covered project by a project sponsor; and
- designate a facilitating agency for each category of covered projects and publish a list of such agencies.
Requires the Council to issue recommendations on an annual basis on best practices relating to the permitting process, including best practices for enhancing early stakeholder engagement, coordination between federal and non-federal governmental entities, information collection, transparency, and training.
Requires the chief environmental review and permitting officer of each agency to: (1) act as an advisor to his or her agency's council members on matters related to environmental review and authorizations; (2) provide technical support; (3) analyze agency environmental review and authorization processes, policies, and authorities; and (4) review and develop training programs for agency staff.
Requires the Office of Management and Budget to designate a federal agency to provide support for projects that are not covered projects and administrative support and staff for the Executive Director.
(Sec. 41003) Allows for the initiation of a covered project by a project sponsor after notice to the Executive Director and the facilitating agency (the agency receiving notice from the project sponsor).
Requires the Executive Director to maintain an online database known as the Permitting Dashboard to track the status of federal environmental reviews and authorizations for covered projects and shall make a specific entry for a project on the Dashboard.
Requires a facilitating or lead agency to establish a Coordinated Project Plan for coordinating public and agency participation in, and completion of, any required federal environmental review and authorization for a covered project. Requires the Plan to include a permitting timetable that sets deadlines for action on any federal environmental review or authorization required for a project. Requires the Executive Director to mediate any disputes relating to the permitting timetables.
Directs the facilitating or lead agencies to provide an expeditious process for project sponsors to consult with each cooperating and participating agency.
(Sec. 41004) This section grants the consent of Congress for three or more contiguous states to enter into an interstate compact establishing regional infrastructure development agencies to facilitate authorization and review of covered projects.
(Sec. 41005) This section requires agencies to complete environmental reviews required under NEPA for covered projects in a timely, coordinated, and environmentally responsible manner.
(Sec. 41006) This section directs federal agencies with statutory authority to authorize a state to issue or administer a permit program to initiate a national process to determine whether best practices developed by the Council are generally applicable to state permitting processes.
(Sec. 41007) Limits the period for challenges to an authorization of a covered project to no more than two years after the date of publication in the Federal Register of the final decision, unless a shorter period is specified in federal law.
(Sec. 41008) Directs the Executive Director to report annually to Congress over a 10-year period on progress under this Act during the previous fiscal year. Requires the report to assess the performance of each participating agency and lead agency. Directs the GAO also to report to Congress on agency progress in making improvements consistent with best practices and agency compliance with performance schedules.
(Sec. 41009) Authorizes specified agencies, after public notice and opportunity for comment, to issue regulations establishing a fee structure for reimbursing the United States for reasonable costs incurred in conducting environmental reviews and authorizations for covered projects. Requires the deposit of such fees into an Environmental Review Improvement Fund for use by the Executive Director solely to administer, implement, and enforce this Act. Requires the regulations to ensure that the use of fees will not impact impartial decision-making with respect to environmental reviews or authorizations.
(Sec. 41010) Applies this Act to any covered project for which: (1) a notice of initiation is filed, or (2) an application or other request for a federal authorization is pending before a federal agency 90 days after enactment of this Act.
(Sec. 41011) Requires the GAO to report to congressional committees whether the provisions of this title could be adapted to streamline the federal permitting process for smaller projects that are not covered projects.
(Sec. 41012) States that nothing in this title amends NEPA.
(Sec. 41013) Requires the termination of this title seven years after its enactment.
TITLE XLII--ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS
(Sec. 42001) Directs the GAO to study and report on payments made to vendors of kerosene used in noncommercial aviation.
TITLE XLIII--PAYMENTS TO CERTIFIED STATES AND INDIAN TRIBES
(Sec. 43001) Amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to require increased and accelerated payments to certified states and Indian tribes to carry out abandoned mine reclamation projects.DIVISION E--EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF THE UNITED STATES
Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015
TITLE LI[sic]--TAXPAYER PROTECTION PROVISIONS AND INCREASED ACCOUNTABILITY
(Sec. 51001) Amends the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 to set at $135 billion, for each of FY2015-FY2019, the authorized aggregate amount of loans, guarantees, and insurance the Export-Import Bank may have outstanding at any time.
Declares that, if the rate at which borrowing entities are in default on a payment obligation (default rate) is 2% or more for a quarter, the Bank may not exceed the amount of loans, guarantees, and insurance outstanding on the last day of that quarter until the default rate becomes less than 2%.
(Sec. 51002) Directs the Bank to build to and hold in reserve, to protect against future losses, at least 5% of its aggregate amount of disbursed and outstanding loans, guarantees, and insurance.
(Sec. 51003) Amends the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012 (EIBRA) to require the Government Accountability Office's quadrennial review of the adequacy of the design and effectiveness of the Bank's fraud controls to include review of the Bank's compliance with these controls.
(Sec. 51004) Establishes an Office of Ethics within the Bank to recommend administrative actions to establish or enforce standards of official conduct.
(Sec. 51005) Establishes a Chief Risk Officer of the Bank to oversee all issues relating to risk within the Bank.
(Sec. 51006) Establishes also a Risk Management Committee to:
- oversee periodic stress testing on the entire Bank portfolio and the monitoring of industry, geographic, and obligor exposure levels; and
- review all required reports on the Bank's default rate.
(Sec. 51007) Directs the Bank's Inspector General to conduct an audit or evaluation of the Bank's portfolio risk management procedures, including its implementation of the duties assigned to the Chief Risk Officer.
(Sec. 51008) Authorizes the Bank to establish a pilot program for reinsurance under which it may enter into contracts and other arrangements to share risks associated with its provision of guarantees, insurance, or credit, or participation in the extension of credit.
Declares that the aggregate amount of liability the Bank may transfer through risk-sharing under a contract or other arrangement may not exceed $1 billion, nor a total of $10 billion during a fiscal year.
TITLE LII--PROMOTION OF SMALL BUSINESS EXPORTS
(Sec. 52001) Directs the Bank to:
- increase from 20% to 25% of its lending authority the amount made available to finance direct exports by small business concerns, and
- include in its annual report to Congress a report on its programs for U.S. businesses with less than $250 million in annual sales.
TITLE LIII--MODERNIZATION OF OPERATIONS
(Sec. 53001) Requires the Bank to implement policies to accept electronic payments and transaction documents.
(Sec. 53002) Extends through FY2019 the Bank's authority to use a portion of its surplus to update its information technology systems.
TITLE LIV--GENERAL PROVISIONS
(Sec. 54001) Reauthorizes through FY2019 the Bank, the Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee, and authority for dual use exports (of nonlethal defense articles or services primarily for civilian use).
(Sec. 54002) Limits to $25 million the principal amounts of medium-term financing by the Bank.
Increases from a minimum of $10 million to a minimum of $25 million the amounts of:
- long-term loans or loan guarantees the Bank shall seek to ensure that U.S. insurance companies have a fair and open competitive opportunity to insure in connection with any transaction for which the loan or guarantee is provided,
- working capital export loans and guarantees to small businesses, and
- long-term support for projects to which certain procedures apply regarding the potential beneficial and adverse environmental effects of goods and services for which direct lending and guarantee support is requested.
Declares that, if the long-term support for projects subject to environmental effects consideration is less than $25 million, the minimum threshold shall be the one established pursuant to international agreements, including the Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence, as adopted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Council on June 28, 2012, and the risk-management framework ("Equator Principles") adopted by financial institutions for determining, assessing, and managing environmental and social risk in projects.
TITLE LV--OTHER MATTERS
(Sec. 55001) Prohibits the Bank from:
- denying an application for financing based solely on the industry, sector, or business that the application concerns; or
- promulgating or implementing policies that discriminate against an application based solely on the industry, sector, or business that the application concerns.
Applies these prohibitions only to applications for Bank financing for projects concerning the exploration, development, production, or export of energy sources and the generation or transmission of electrical power, or combined heat and power, regardless of the energy source involved.
(Sec. 55002) Amends the EIBRA to require the President instead of the Department of the Treasury to initiate and pursue negotiations to end export credit financing.
Directs the President to propose to Congress a strategy to pursue with other major exporting countries, including Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members and non-OECD members, to eliminate over a 10-year period subsidized export-financing programs, tied aid, export credits, and all other forms of government-supported export subsidies.
(Sec. 55003) Directs the Bank to study the extent to which products it offers are available and used by companies that export information and communications technology services and related goods.DIVISION F--ENERGY SECURITY
(Sec. 61001) Directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to adopt procedures to:
- improve communication and coordination between DOE's energy response team, federal partners, and industry;
- leverage the Energy Information Administration's subject matter expertise within DOE's energy response team to improve supply chain situation assessments;
- establish company liaisons and direct communication with DOE's energy response team to improve situation assessments;
- streamline and enhance processes for obtaining temporary regulatory relief to speed up emergency response and recovery;
- facilitate and increase engagement among states, the oil and natural gas industry, and DOE in developing state and local energy assurance plans;
- establish routine education and training programs for key government emergency response positions with DOE and states; and
- involve states and the oil and natural gas industry in comprehensive drill and exercise programs.
Includes among these activities collaborative efforts with state and local government officials and the private sector.
(Sec. 61002) Amends the Federal Power Act to require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ensure that any emergency order that may result in conflict with federal, state, or local environmental law or regulations:
- requires generation, delivery, interchange, or transmission of electricity only during hours necessary to meet the emergency and serve the public interest;
- be consistent with applicable environmental law; and
- minimizes any adverse environmental impacts to the maximum extent practical.
Declares that any necessary action or omission in such an emergency that does not comply with federal, state, or local environmental law or regulation shall not be considered a violation of it, or subject the party involved to any related requirement, civil or criminal liability, or a citizen suit.
Requires such emergency orders to expire within 90 days. Authorizes FERC to renew or reissue an order for subsequent periods of no more than 90 days each as necessary to meet the emergency and serve the public interest.
Authorizes a municipality engaged in the transmission or sale of electricity, and not otherwise subject to FERC jurisdiction, to make temporary connections during an emergency with public utilities that are subject to FERC jurisdiction, and construct necessary or appropriate temporary electricity transmission facilities, without becoming subject to FERC jurisdiction by reason of that temporary connection or construction.
(Sec. 61003) Amends the Federal Power Act to authorize DOE, with or without notice, hearing, or report, to issue orders for emergency measures to protect or restore the reliability of either critical electric infrastructure or defense critical electric infrastructure whenever the President issues a written directive or determination identifying an imminent grid security emergency. Requires the President to notify specified congressional committees promptly upon issuing such a directive.
Defines "critical electric infrastructure" to mean a system or asset of the bulk-power system, whether physical or virtual, whose incapacity or destruction would negatively affect national security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination of such matters.
Defines "defense critical electric infrastructure" to mean any electric infrastructure located in the United States (including the territories) that serves a DOE-designated facility, but is not owned or operated by the facility owner or operator.
Requires DOE to designate any such facilities that are: (1) critical to the defense of the United States, and (2) vulnerable to a disruption of the supply of electric energy provided by an external provider.
Requires DOE, before issuing an order for emergency measures, to the extent practicable in light of the nature of the grid security emergency and the urgency of the need for action, to consult with governmental authorities in Canada and Mexico, certain entities, the Electricity Sub-sector Coordinating Council, and other appropriate federal agencies regarding implementation of the emergency measures.
Prescribes: (1) implementation procedures (including expiration and reissuance of emergency orders); and (2) related cost recovery measures affecting owners, operators, or users of the bulk-power system.
Directs DOE, to the extent practicable and consistent with obligations to protect classified information, to provide temporary access to classified information relating to a grid security emergency to key personnel of relevant entities in order to optimize communications between them and federal agencies.
Exempts critical electric infrastructure information from mandatory disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
Directs FERC to: (1) designate critical electric infrastructure information, and (2) prescribe regulations and orders prohibiting its unauthorized disclosure but also authorizing appropriate voluntary sharing with federal, state, local, and tribal authorities.
Authorizes DOE also to designate critical electric infrastructure information.
States that critical electric infrastructure information may not be designated as such, however, for longer than five years, and any designation shall be subject to judicial review.
Declares that no cause of action shall lie or be maintained in any federal or state court for sharing or receiving information in accordance with this Act.
Makes DOE the lead Sector-Specific Agency for cybersecurity for the energy sector to:
- coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other relevant federal departments and agencies;
- collaborate with critical electric infrastructure owners and operators as well as independent regulatory agencies and state, local, tribal, and territorial entities;
- serve as a day-to-day federal interface for the dynamic prioritization and coordination of sector-specific activities;
- carry out incident management responsibilities;
- provide, support, or facilitate technical assistance and consultations for the energy sector to identify vulnerabilities and help mitigate incidents; and
- give DHS annually sector-specific critical electric infrastructure information to support its reporting requirements.
(Sec. 61004) Directs DOE, acting through the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, to submit to Congress a plan to establish a Strategic Transformer Reserve for the storage, in strategically located facilities, of spare large power transformers and emergency mobile substations in sufficient numbers to temporarily replace critically damaged large power transformers and substations that are critical electric infrastructure or serve defense and military installations to mitigate significant impacts to the electric grid resulting from physical attack, cyber attack, electromagnetic pulse attack, geomagnetic disturbances, severe weather, or seismic events.
(Sec. 61005) Directs DOE also to develop and report to specified congressional committees, after public notice and comment, recommended U.S. energy security valuation methods.
Requires the report to:
- evaluate and define U.S. energy security to reflect modern domestic and global energy markets and the collective needs of the United States and its allies and partners;
- identify procedures and criteria to ensure that energy-related actions that significantly affect the supply, distribution, or use of energy are evaluated with respect to their potential impact on energy security, consumers and the economy, energy supply diversity and resiliency, well-functioning and competitive energy markets, the U.S. trade balance, and national security objectives; and
- recommend an implementation strategy meeting specified requirements.
DIVISION G--FINANCIAL SERVICES
TITLE LXXI[sic]--IMPROVING ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR EMERGING GROWTH COMPANIES
(Sec. 71001) Amends the Securities Act of 1933 to reduce from 21 to 15 the number of days before a "road show" that an emerging growth company (EGC), before its initial public offering (IPO) date, may publicly file a draft registration statement for confidential nonpublic review by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
(A financial "road show" is an offer [other than a statutory prospectus or a portion of one] that contains a presentation regarding an offering by one or more members of the issuer's management and includes discussion of one or more of the issuer, such management, and the securities being offered. Typically, a road show is a series of meetings across different cities, often before an IPO, in which top executives from a company have the opportunity to talk with current or potential investors.)
(Sec. 71002) Prescribes a grace period during which an issuer that was an EGC at the time it filed a confidential registration statement (or, in lieu of that, a publicly filed registration statement) for SEC review, but ceases to be an EGC, shall continue to be treated as an emerging market growth company for one year or, if earlier, until consummation of its IPO.
(Sec. 71003) Amends the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act to direct the SEC to prescribe conditions under which a registration statement filed (or submitted for confidential review) by an issuer before its IPO may omit financial disclosure information for historical periods otherwise required.TITLE LXXII--DISCLOSURE MODERNIZATION AND SIMPLIFICATION
(Sec. 72001) Directs the SEC to issue regulations permitting issuers to submit a summary page on annual and transition report form 10-K if each item on that page cross-references electronically or otherwise the material contained in form 10-K to which the item relates.
(Sec. 72002) Directs the SEC to revise regulation S-K (Standard Instructions for Filing Forms under the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975) in order to:
- reduce the burden on smaller issuers, including emerging growth companies, accelerated filers, and smaller reporting companies (while still providing all material information to investors); and
- eliminate duplicative, overlapping, outdated, or unnecessary provisions.
(Sec. 72003) Requires the SEC to study ways to: (1) modernize and simplify requirements in regulation S-K, and (2) evaluate information delivery and presentation methods as well as explore methods to discourage repetition and disclosure of immaterial information.
Directs the SEC also to issue a proposed rule to implement any recommendations it makes to Congress based upon the study.TITLE LXXIII--BULLION AND COLLECTIBLE COIN PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY AND COST SAVINGS
(Sec. 73001) Repeals: (1) the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to change the design of certain gold bullion coins, and (2) requirements for the protective covering for certain bullion coins.
Repeals the copper content requirements for quarter dollar coins, and requires the silver content to be at least 90%.
Makes technical revisions to the requirements for palladium bullion investment coins.
(Sec. 73002) Requires proof and uncirculated versions of American Eagle silver coins issued during calendar year 2016 to have a smooth edge incused with a designation that notes the 30th anniversary of the first issue of such coins.TITLE LXXIV--SBIC ADVISERS RELIEF
(Sec. 74001) Amends the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to exempt specified advisers of small business investment companies (SBICs) from certain: (1) SEC registration requirements with respect to the provision of investment advice relating to venture capital funds, and (2) SEC registration and reporting requirements with respect to assets under management of private funds.
(Sec. 74003) Extends the same exemption to specified SBIC advisers with respect to any state or local law requiring the registration, licensing, or qualifications of investment advisers.
TITLE LXXV--ELIMINATE PRIVACY NOTICE CONFUSION
TITLE LXXVI--REFORMING ACCESS FOR INVESTMENTS IN STARTUP ENTERPRISES
(Sec.76001) Amends the Securities Act of 1933 to exempt from security registration requirements, and related prohibitions against using interstate commerce and the mails for the sale or delivery of securities after sale, any transaction where:
- each purchaser is an accredited investor;
- neither the seller, nor any person acting on the seller's behalf, offers or sells securities by general solicitation or advertising;
- the seller and prospective purchaser obtain from an issuer meeting certain criteria reasonably current specified information;
- the transaction is not for the sale of a security whose seller is neither an issuer nor a subsidiary of the issuer;
- neither the seller, nor any person receiving remuneration for participating in the offer or sale of the securities, is subject to certain legal disqualification (bad actor);
- the issuer is engaged in business, is not in the organizational stage or in bankruptcy or receivership, and is not a blank check, blind pool, or shell company with no specific business plan or purpose or has indicated that the issuer's primary business plan is to engage in a merger or combination of the business with, or an acquisition of, an unidentified person;
- the transaction does not involve a security that constitutes the whole or part of an unsold allotment to, or a subscription or participation by, a broker or dealer as an underwriter of the security or a redistribution; and
- the transaction does involve a security of a class authorized and outstanding for at least 90 days before the transaction.
Deems any securities acquired in such exempt transactions to: (1) have been acquired in a transaction not involving any public offering, (2) not be a distribution involving an underwriter, and (2) be restricted securities not subject to certain transaction requirements.
Exempts all transactions under this Act from state regulation of securities offerings.TITLE LXXVII--PRESERVATION ENHANCEMENT AND SAVINGS OPPORTUNITY
(Sec. 77001) Amends the Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act of 1990 (LIHPRHA) with respect to a plan of action the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may approve for extension of the low-income affordability restrictions on any eligible low-income housing.
Entitles the owner of a property subject to a plan of action or use agreement to distribute:
- annually all surplus cash generated by the property, but only if the owner is in material compliance with the use agreement, including compliance with prevailing physical condition standards established by HUD; and
- any funds accumulated in a residual receipts account, notwithstanding any conflicting provision in the use agreement, but only if the individual is in material compliance with the use agreement and has completed, or set aside sufficient funds to complete, any capital repairs identified by the most recent third party capital needs assessment.
Requires an owner distributing any such amounts to:
- continue to operate the property in accordance with the affordability requirements of its use agreement for its remaining useful life;
- continue to renew or extend any project-based rental assistance contract for at least 20 years, as required by the property's plan of action; and
- have the option to extend the contract to a 20-year term, if he or she has an existing multi-year project-based rental assistance contract for less than 20 years.
(Sec. 77002) Prohibits the LIHPRHA, or any plan of action or use agreement implementing it, from restricting an owner from obtaining a new loan or refinancing an existing loan secured by a low-income housing project, or from distributing the proceeds of such a loan, except that, in conjunction with such refinancing:
- the owner shall provide for adequate rehabilitation pursuant to a capital needs assessment to ensure long-term sustainability of the property satisfactory to the lender or bond issuance agency;
- any resulting budget-based rent increase shall include debt service on the new financing, commercially reasonable debt service coverage, and replacement reserves as required by the lender; and
- any rent increases resulting from the refinancing transaction for units not covered by a project-based rental subsidy contract shall be limited to 10%, with the following exception.
Prohibits requiring any tenant who occupies a dwelling unit as of the time of the refinancing, and gives the owner proof of income, to pay for rent and utilities, for the duration of the tenancy, any amount exceeding the greater of: (1) 30% of the tenant's income, or (2) the amount the tenant paid for rent and utilities immediately before the refinancing.
(Sec. 77003) Directs HUD to issue any guidance necessary to carry out this Act within 120 days after its enactment.TITLE LXXVIII--TENANT INCOME VERIFICATION RELIEF
(Sec. 78001) Amends the United States Housing Act of 1937 with respect to annual review of low-income families' income for eligibility requirements for certain federal assisted housing programs.
Declares that, after the initial review of any family's fix income, a public housing agency (PHA) or owner may not be required to review its income for any year for which the family certifies, in accordance with specified requirements as HUD shall establish.
Requires the PHA or the owner to review each such family's income at least once every three years.
Requires PHAs also to review the income of a family receiving Section 8 (rental assistance voucher program) assistance at least once every three years (currently, at least annually).TITLE LXXIX--HOUSING ASSISTANCE EFFICIENCY
(Sec. 79001) Amends the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to allow (in addition to a state, local government, or public housing agency) a private nonprofit organization to administer permanent housing rental assistance provided through the Continuum of Care Program under the Act.
(Sec. 79002) Requires HUD, at least once (currently, twice) during each fiscal year, to reallocate any housing assistance provided from the Emergency Solutions Grants Program that is unused or returned or that becomes available after the minimum allocation requirements under the Act.TITLE LXXX--CHILD SUPPORT ASSISTANCE
(Sec. 80001) Amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act, with respect to the permissible purposes of consumer reports, to authorize a consumer reporting agency to furnish a consumer report in response to a request by the head of a state or local child support enforcement agency (or an authorized state or local government official), if the requester certifies that the report is needed for enforcing a child support order, award, agreement, or judgment.
Repeals the requirement for 10 days' prior notice to a consumer whose report is requested.TITLE LXXXI--PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN HOUSING
(Sec. 81001) Directs HUD to establish a demonstration program under which, in FY2016 through FY2019, it may execute budget-neutral, performance-based agreements (for up to 12 years each) that result in a reduction in energy or water costs with appropriate entities to carry out projects for energy or water conservation improvements at up to 20,000 residential units in multifamily buildings participating in:
- Section 8 project-based rental assistance programs under the United States Housing Act of 1937, other than Section 8 (voucher program) assistance;
- supportive housing for the elderly programs under the Housing Act of 1959; or
- supportive housing for persons with disabilities programs under the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act.
Prescribes requirements for payment under an agreement, which shall be contingent on documented utility savings, as well as for agreement terms, eligibility, geographical diversity, and funding for the program.
Limits this demonstration program to properties subject to affordability restrictions, which may be through an affordability agreement under a new housing assistance payments contract with HUD, or through an enforceable covenant with the property owner, for at least 15 years after completion of any conservation improvements made under the program.
Requires HUD to submit to specified congressional committees a detailed plan for the implementation of this Act.
Authorizes HUD, for each fiscal year during which an agreement is in effect, to use any appropriated funds for the renewal of contracts under the program.TITLE LXXXII--CAPITAL ACCESS FOR SMALL COMMUNITY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
(Sec. 82001) Amends the Federal Home Loan Bank Act to treat certain privately insured credit unions as insured depository institutions for purposes of determining eligibility for membership in a federal home loan bank.
Declares that a credit union which lacks federal deposit insurance and has applied for membership in a federal home loan bank may be treated as meeting all the eligibility requirements for federal deposit insurance if the supervisor of the chartering state has determined that it meets all federal deposit insurance eligibility requirements.
Deems such a credit union to have met the eligibility criteria for federal home loan bank membership if, six months after its application date, the state supervisor has failed to act upon the application.
Declares that no state law authorizing a conservator or liquidating agent of a credit union to repudiate contracts may apply to any: (1) extension of credit from a federal home loan bank to a credit union which is a member of that bank, or (2) security interest in the assets of the credit union securing such extension of credit.
Declares that if a federal home loan bank makes an advance to a state-chartered credit union that is not federally insured:
- the bank's interest in any collateral securing that advance has the same priority and is afforded the same standing and rights that the security interest would have had if the advance had been made to a federally-insured credit union, and
- the bank has the same right to access such collateral that it would have had if the advance had been made to a federally-insured credit union.
Amends the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to require private deposit insurers of credit unions that are members of a federal home loan bank to submit copies of their audit reports within seven days to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
(Sec. 82002) Directs the Government Accountability Office to study: (1) the adequacy of insurance reserves held by a private deposit insurer that insures deposits in an insured credit union or any credit union eligible to apply to become one, and (2) such credit unions' compliance with federal regulations governing disclosure of a lack of federal deposit insurance.TITLE LXXXIII--SMALL BANK EXAM CYCLE REFORM
(Sec. 83001) Amends the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to increase from $500 million to $1 billion the asset size of small insured depository institutions eligible for 18-month on-site examination cycles.
Qualifies such an institution also for the 18-month cycle if its total assets are at most $200 million (currently $100 million) and the most recent examination found its composite condition to be good rather than outstanding.
Grants a federal banking agency discretion to increase this assets ceiling amount from $200 million to $1 billion (currently from $100 million to $500 million) if that greater asset size would be consistent with the principles of safety and soundness.
TITLE LXXXIV--SMALL COMPANY SIMPLE REGISTRATION
(Sec. 84001) Directs the SEC to revise Form S-1 so that a smaller reporting company may incorporate by reference in a registration statement filed on that form any documents it files with the SEC after the registration statement's effective date.
TITLE LXXXV--HOLDING COMPANY REGISTRATION THRESHOLD EQUALIZATION
(Sec. 85001) Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require an issuer that is a savings and loan holding company to register with the SEC if: (1) its assets exceed $10 million, and (2) it has a class of equity security held of record by 2,000 or more persons.
Requires this registration to be terminated after a savings and loan holding company certifies that its holders of record of that class of security have been reduced to fewer than 1,200 persons.
Declares that the duty of a savings and loan holding company to file supplementary and periodic information shall be suspended automatically if the securities of each class to which the registration statement relates (other than any class of asset-backed securities) are held of record by fewer than 1,200 persons.
TITLE LXXXVI--REPEAL OF INDEMNIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
(Sec. 86001) Amends the Commodity Exchange Act to repeal the requirement that specified entities agree to indemnify the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for any expenses arising from litigation relating to certain information about swaps cleared by derivatives clearing organizations which is shared with the entities before the CFTC may share the information with them.
Repeals a similar requirement for the same entities with which a swap data repository may share swap data to agree to indemnify the repository and the CFTC for any expenses arising from similar litigation.
Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to repeal a similar requirement for the same entities (plus the CFTC) with which a securities-based swap data repository may share securities-based swap data to agree to indemnify the repository and the SEC for any expenses arising from similar litigation.
Makes these repeals take effect retroactively to enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
TITLE LXXXVII--TREATMENT OF DEBT OR EQUITY INSTRUMENTS OF SMALLER INSTITUTIONS
(Sec. 87001) Amends the Financial Stability Act of 2010 with respect to the date for determining the consolidated assets of smaller depository institution holding companies supervised by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Exempts from otherwise required capital deductions, pursuant to mandatory minimum leverage and risk-based capital requirements, any debt or equity instruments issued before May 19, 2010, by depository institution holding companies with total consolidated assets of less than $15 billion as of March 31, 2010 (currently as of December 31, 2009).
TITLE LXXXVIII--STATE LICENSING EFFICIENCY
State Licensing Efficiency Act of 2015
(Sec. 88002) Amends the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 to require the Attorney General to give access to all criminal history information to state officials responsible for regulating, not only state-licensed loan originators (as under current law), but also other financial service providers, to the extent such checks are required under the laws of the state for the licensing of such other financial service providers.
TITLE LXXXIX--HELPING EXPAND LENDING PRACTICES IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act of 2015 or the HELP Rural Communities Act of 2015
(Sec. 89002) Directs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to establish an application process under which a person who lives or does business in a state may apply to have the CFPB identify as rural an area it has not already so identified.
Specifies factors for the CFPB to take into consideration when evaluating such an application. Permits the CFPB to disregard any designation of the area as nonrural by another federal agency.
Subjects any application to 90 days of public comment. Requires the CFPB to make a decision on a designation application within 90 days after the end of the public comment period.
(Sec. 89003) Amends the Truth in Lending Act to modify the requirements for a qualified mortgage or an escrow or impound account relating to certain consumer credit transactions secured by a first lien on the consumer's principal dwelling.
Authorizes the CFPB to include as a qualified mortgage, with respect to the presumption that the consumer has a reasonable ability to repay it, a balloon loan extended by any creditor that operates in rural or underserved areas, whether predominantly or not. (Currently the creditor must operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas.)
Authorizes the CFPB also to exempt a creditor, in connection with a consumer credit transaction secured by a first lien on the consumer's principal dwelling, from the requirement to establish an escrow or impound account for the consumer if the creditor operates in rural or underserved areas, whether predominantly or not. (Currently the creditor must operate predominantly in such areas.)