Summary: S.1554 — 95th Congress (1977-1978)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1554. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (05/18/1977)

Rail Rehabilitation Act - Title I: Findings, Purpose, and Definitions - Declares that the purposes of this Act are to designate an Interstate Railroad System, to rehabilitate the lines within such System, and to transfer to the States the responsibility for maintaining rail lines not included within such System.

Title II: Interstate Railroad System - Requires each rail carrier to provide the Secretary of Transportation with specified information regarding its rail lines.

Stipulates that the Initial Interstate Railroad System shall be comprised of: (1) all rail lines operated by railroad companies within the United States; (2) all out-of-service but not abandoned rail lines controlled by domestic railroad companies; and (3) such rail lines outside the United States which are operated by a railroad company which operates primarily within the United States and which are deemed essential to the System by the Secretary. Specifies exceptions to such inclusion. Directs the Secretary to prepare and distribute a report containing a description of all rail lines included in the Initial System and a report identifying all rail lines not included in the Initial System and the reason for such exclusion.

Directs the Rail Services Planning Office of the Interstate Commerce Commission to hold public hearings regarding the establishment of the Initial System, and to report to the Secretary its recommendations for additions to and deletions from such System.

Directs the Secretary, after receiving such recommendations, to prepare and release a summary of an Intermediate Interstate Railroad System. Requires the Secretary to include findings in support of each addition to or deletion from the Initial System. Stipulates that the Intermediate System shall designate the future maintenance standards of each rail line in the System according to specified criteria.

Directs the Rail Services Planning Office to hold public hearings to solicit comments on the Intermediate System and to report to the Secretary its recommendations for additions to and deletions from such System.

Directs the Secretary, after receiving such recommendations, to prepare and transmit to Congress the Final Interstate Railroad System. Stipulates that the Final System shall contain no deletions from the Intermediate System except those deletions recommended by the Office or approved by the Governor of the State in which the rail lines to be deleted are included. Stipulates that the Final Plan shall contain future maintenance standards for each rail line which are no lower than those contained in the Intermediate System except under specified circumstances.

Stipulates that the Final System shall be deemed approved unless either the House of Representatives or the Senate passes a resolution of disapproval within 60 days. Directs that, in the event such a resolution is passed, the Secretary shall submit a revised System to Congress for review.

Directs the Secretary, within 90 days of receiving the Office's recommendations regarding the Intermediate System, to establish a rehabilitation, capital improvement, and maintenance program for the restoration of all rail lines in the System to the future maintenance standards set forth in the Final System. Stipulates that this entire program shall be scheduled for completion within 12 years after the enactment of this Act.

Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of the Army, within three years after the enactment of this Act, to carry out a study of the long-term capital needs for the major upgrading of the Final System. Directs the Administrator of the Federal Rail Property Administration (as established by this Act) to establish a revised rehabilitation, capital improvement and maintenance program showing the schedule for completion of each element of the program.

Stipulates that all rail properties subject to reorganization under the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 shall be part of the Final System.

Title III: Federal Rail Property Administration - Establishes the Federal Rail Property Administration within the Department of Transportation.

Authorizes the Administration to acquire rail lines and transportation property other than rail lines from any railroad company operating within the United States or whose principal place of business is within the United States. Stipulates that such property may include United States railroads outside the U.S. in contiguous portions of Canada and Mexico where necessary for the Interstate Rail System.

Authorizes the Administration to enter into leases with railroad companies which deed rail lines to the Administration for the purpose of providing rail service for a period of not more than 25 years. Stipulates that such a lease shall be renewable. Sets forth provisions to be included in such a lease.

Directs the Administrator to establish regulations for the planning and implementation of projects to coordinate, and consolidate railroad operations.

Authorizes railroad companies, after the Final System is deemed approved, to offer to transfer all its rail facilities included in the System to the Administration. Authorizes ConRail to offer its rail facilities to the Administration any time 120 days after the enactment of this Act. Requires the Administration to accept title to such rail facilities and to enter into operating leases for such lines within 120 days after receipt of an offer to transfer.

Authorizes railroad companies (other than ConRail) to offer to transfer rail facilities before approval of the Final System under specified conditions.

Directs the Secretary of Transportation to develop rehabilitation and capital improvement programs for rail properties owned by the Administration. Requires such programs to be incorporated into the leases for such properties. Stipulates that the Administration shall pay the costs of such programs and shall contract with the leaseholding railroad to perform such programs.

Directs the Administrator and any rail carrier leasing property to establish a schedule of maintenance for such property after the conclusion of a rehabilitation program. Stipulates that such maintenance shall be the responsibility of the carrier or carriers involved. Directs the Administrator to supply all materials and equipment for such maintenance.

Directs the Administrator to report annually to the President and the Congress on the properties owned by the Administration and on the condition of all other rail properties in the nation.

Title IV: Funding - Authorizes appropriations in such amounts as may be necessary for each of the 12 years following the enactment of this Act for rehabilitation projects and maintenance projects.

Imposes a Rail User Charge on all railroads operating on facilities of the Administration. Stipulates that such charge shall amount to $.20 annually per thousand gross ton-miles of freight, passengers, and rail equipment move on such facilities.

Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Administrator to carry out provisions of this Act.

Title V: State and Local Rail Service Discontinuance and Abandonment - Sets forth conditions for the discontinuance or abandonment of rail service or rail properties transferred to the Administration.

Directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a Federal aid program in support of State rail planning as required by the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973.

Title VI: Labor Contracts - Stipulates that all contracts between rail carriers and labor organizations for maintenance of properties transferred to the Association shall remain in full effect. Authorizes the Association to enter into contracts for the performance of maintenance, rehabilitation and capital improvement projects provided that all employment pursuant to such contracts shall be subject to the terms of labor contracts in force at the time on the property affected.