Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended (10/29/2015)

Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015

This bill authorizes appropriations out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) (other than the Mass Transit Account) for FY2016-FY2021 for certain core federal-aid highway and related programs, prescribing obligation ceilings for federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs.

The bill revises and prescribes requirements for:

  • surface transportation programs; and
  • minimum penalties for repeat offenders for driving while intoxicated or under the influence, including mandatory ignition interlock systems.

The bill directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to designate national electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, and natural gas fueling corridors to improve the mobility of electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and natural gas fueling passenger and commercial vehicles.

The bill 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.

The bill exempts certain heavy-duty tow and recovery vehicles traveling on federal highways from federal vehicle weight limitations.

DOT shall appoint a Motorcyclist Advisory Council on infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists.

The bill amends the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 to extend through FY2021 the state infrastructure bank program.

Federal Public Transportation Act of 2015

The bill revises and prescribes requirements, as well as authorizes appropriations from the HTF Mass Transit Account, for certain public transportation grant programs, and reauthorizes:

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety programs,
  • for FY2016, the motor carrier safety assistance grant program, and
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Financial Assistance Programs.

The bill amends the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users to reauthorize FMCSA grant programs for FY2016.

The bill amends the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act to revise requirements exempting certain farm vehicles from federal commercial motor vehicle safety requirements.

The bill 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.

The bill revises electronic logging device requirements to permit 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.

The bill revises federal vehicle length limitations for trucks to prohibit 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.

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.

Transportation for Tomorrow Act of 2015

The bill reauthorizes for FY2016-FY2021 the highway research and development program and certain innovative programs, and abolishes the DOT Office of Intermodalism.

DOT, as part of the hazardous material technical assessment, research and development, and analysis program, may carry out cooperative research on hazardous materials (hazmat) transport.

DOT may convene a transportation technology policy interagency working group.

Neither an individual nor an entity shall be ineligible to receive a cash prize to stimulate innovation in basic and applied surface transportation research and technology development just for using a federal facility or consulting with a federal employee in relation to the prize competition unless the same facility or employee is made available equitably to all competition participants.

DOT may not require a prize competition participant to waive claims against DOT arising out of the unauthorized DOT use or disclosure of the participant's intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential business information. But the federal government may not gain an interest in intellectual property developed by a prize competition participant without the participant's written consent.

Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2015

The bill reauthorizes for the period FY2016-FY2021 hazmat transportation safety projects.

DOT may make certain expenditures during the same period, including an amount for hazmat training grants, from the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Fund.

Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015

The bill extends deadlines and modifies requirements for Class I, Class II, and Class III railroad carriers as well as providers of intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation to implement positive train control systems.

The bill requires the phase-out by specified deadlines of all railroad tank cars transporting Class 3 flammable liquids not retrofitted to meet DOT-117 or DOT-117R design specifications established by the May 2015 final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail.

The bill revises requirements for the National Multimodal Freight Network.

DOT shall establish:

  • a National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau, and
  • a Council on Credit and Finance.

The bill amends the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act to authorize appropriations for:

  • fish restoration and management projects,
  • boating infrastructure improvement projects,
  • Coast Guard (CG) administration, and
  • CG administrative expenses for state recreational boating safety and national recreational boating programs.