Summary: S.2253 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (05/20/1980)

(Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 96-1041)

=Title I: Rock Island Transition and Employee Assistance= - Rock Island Railroad Transition and Employee Assistance Act - Declares that: (1) the continuation of service over Rock Island Railroad lines is dependent on adequate employee protection provisions covering Rock Island employees not hired by other railroads; and (2) premature cessation of service over lines which are the subject of pending purchase applications would result in harm to the shipping public and could imperil continuation of vital commuter service.

Directs the Interstate Commerce Commission to order directed service over any line of the Rock Island Railroad, for 90 days, if the Secretary of Transportation certifies that: (1) a lack of rail service exists which cannot be resolved by a grant of interim authority and grains or foods are ready to be shipped to market; and (2) a party has expressed an interest in purchasing, leasing, or rehabilitating a line and there is a reasonable expectation that such transaction will be consummated.

Limits expenditures for such service to $15,000,000.

Continues compensation agreements for trackage rights, joint facilities, and other similar arrangements between other railroads and the trustee of the Rock Island Railroad which are in effect on portions of the lines of the Rock Island Railroad involved in temporary emergency operations, for the duration of the temporary emergency operating authority, with the carrier providing temporary emergency service substitutions for the trustee. Specifies that such continuation shall not alter or affect the ultimate rights of other railroads under trackage rights, joint facilities, or similar arrangements, nor prejudice the ultimate determination of any controversy or proceeding concerning rights of the parties with regard to assignment by the trustee of rights in or to the facilities or under the arrangements.

Provides for priority hiring of Rock Island Railroad employees by other railroads so long as it does not interfere with other carriers' equal employment obligations.

Specifies that the rights afforded to Rock Island Railroad employees by this Act shall be coequal to the rights afforded to Chicago, Milwaukee, Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad Company employees under the Milwaukee Railroad Restructuring Act.

Prescribes methods by which the Rock Island Railroad and labor organizations representing the employees of such railroad may enter into an agreement on labor protection for employees adversely affected as a result of a reduction in service by such railroad within ten days of the date of enactment of this Act. Directs the parties, if they are unable to enter into an employee protection agreement within such period, to immediately submit the matter to the Commission. Requires that within 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall impose upon the parties an arrangement with respect to employee protection, unless the Rock Island Railroad and the authorized representatives of its employees have entered into a labor protection agreement.

Directs the court having jurisdiction over the organization of the Rock Island Railroad to direct the Railroad's trustee and the labor organizations representing the employees of the Railroad, to implement any employee protection arrangement imposed by the Commission.

Provides that any order of the Commission or of any such reorganization court entered pursuant to such an agreement may not be stayed by any court and is appealable directly to an appropriate United States circuit court of appeals. Requires that such appeals shall be filed within five days after entry of the Commission's order and that the court shall finally determine any such appeal within 60 days after it is filed. Prohibits any other court from reviewing such a determination by the court of appeals.

Requires that employee benefit or allowance claims under such agreements be filed with the Railroad Retirement Board. Directs the Board to determine the amount for which an employee is eligible and to certify such amount to the Rock Island Railroad for payment. Directs that such benefits shall be paid by the Rock Island Railroad from its own assets and treated as administrative expenses of the Rock Island Railroad.

Amends the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (formerly the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare) to make specified records available to the Board.

Requires the Board to prepare lists of employees separated from employment to be made available on request to other rail carriers, and to maintain such lists through December 31, 1984.

Provides, generally, that an employee who receives assistance under an employee protection agreement or an arrangement entered into pursuant to this Act shall be deemed to waive any employee protection benefits otherwise available to such employee under the Bankruptcy Act or any other applicable contract or agreement. Directs Rock Island Railroad employees entitled to receive assistance under this Act to file a statement with the Board indicating such employees' choice of assistance or benefits by April 1, 1981.

Authorizes the appropriation of $1,000,000 for fiscal year 1981 to cover administrative expenses, such sum to remain available for obligation until expended. Amends the Milwaukee Railroad Restructuring Act to authorize additional appropriations for new career training assistance under such Act and under this Act.

Directs the Secretary of Transportation to guarantee obligations of the Rock Island Railroad for purposes of providing employee protection. States that such obligations are to be treated as administrative expenses of the estate of the Rock Island Railroad. Limits to $75,000,000 the aggregate unpaid principal amount of specified obligations which may be guaranteed by the Secretary. Limits to $75,000,000 the total liability of the Rock Island Railroad in connection with benefits and allowances provided under employee protection agreements or arrangements entered into under this Act.

Directs the Commission to give proceedings involving the Rock Island Railroad preference over other pending proceedings related to rail carriers, and to make all of its decisions at the earliest practicable time. Requires the Commission to reach a final decision on proceedings filed after January 1, 1980, involving a sale, transfer, or lease of any line of the Rock Island Railroad to a solvent carrier within 100 days of the filing of an application.

Amends the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 to require the Secretary to purchase: (1) not less than $25,000,000 in redeemable preference shares or trustee certificates convertible to specified redeemable preference shares as necessary for the purchase, lease, or rehabilitation of properties of the Rock Island Railroad by non-carrier entities to be used for common carrier rail service; and (2) not more than $18,000,000 in such preference shares or trustee certificates as necessary for the purchase of properties of the Milwaukee Railroad by responsible non-carrier entities to be used for common carrier rail service. Requires the Secretary to insure that all indebtedness under this section is secured. Defines "noncarrier entities" for the purpose of providing such assistance. Directs that any such ownership plan be submitted to the Secretary by August 20, 1980, or such later date as the Secretary considers appropriate.

Authorizes the Board to prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out its duties under this Act. Directs the Board to make available for distribution by the Rock Island Railroad within 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, to all eligible employees, a document which describes the rights of such employees under this Act.

Amends the Milwaukee Railroad Restructuring Act to require the Commission to provide directed service, for up to 30 days, on the Milwaukee Railroad, limited to specified lines or line segments. Authorizes the Commission to so direct service without inclusion of a six percent profit factor. States that the Commission shall take such action only in the event that the Secretary determines that such service cannot be continued under the Emergency Rail Service Assistance Act.

Authorizes the Federal Railroad Administration to exempt from the mandatory requirements of the Safety Appliance Acts, any railroad equipment, or equipment which will be operated on rails, when such requirements preclude the development or implementation of more efficient railroad transportation equipment or other transportation innovations. Provides that such authority may only be exercized after a hearing or pursuant to an agreement between national rail labor representatives and the developers or operators of such equipment or technology.

Amends the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 by stating that the Railway Labor Executives' Association shall be deemed to represent all of the representatives of crafts or classes of employees of the Conrail Corporation and its subsidiaries as though that organization held powers of attorney from each representative of a craft or class for the limited purposes of negotiating and agreeing upon an employee stock ownership plan. States that such employee stock ownership plan shall not be subject to change under certain provisions of the Railway Labor Act until after such time as securities have been distributed from the plan to the participants in the plan or their beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the plan.

Provides indemnification for certain persons, including the trustees of the plan, the Corporation, ConRail Equity Corporation, the Railway Labor Executives' Association, and their directors, officers, employees, and agents, as well as members of the Finance Committee, their employees and agents, from liabilities incurred: (1) in connection with the employee stock ownership plan and related trust established by the Corporation or with ConRail Equity Corporation; (2) for or in connection with the establishment, continuation, or implementation of the plan and related trust or of ConRail Equity Corporation; and (3) for or in connection with any other action taken or not taken pursuant to any term or condition of the plan or related trust agreement or of the articles of incorporation or bylaws of ConRail Equity Corporation, provided that such actions are taken at the direction, or with the consent, of the Association or of the Secretary.

States that the provision of such indemnifications shall not be interpreted to relieve any person from any fiduciary or other responsibility, obligation, or duty under any Federal or State law to take or not to take specified actions in respect to the plan.

Directs the United States to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless certain persons from and against all liabilities and costs incurred in connection with the establishment or operation of the plan or ConRail Equity Corporation or with any required transaction, if such persons were acting in good faith.

Declares that such indemnity shall be a full faith and credit obligation of the United States.

Allows an employee who elects to receive a separation allowance from the Rock Island Railroad under an employee protection agreement to receive from the Board reasonable expenses, up to $3,000, for training for new career opportunities. Sets forth eligibility requirements for such assistance. Prohibits any such assistance after April 1, 1984.

Directs the Commission to order directed service, for two years, over passenger commuter lines of the Rock Island Railroad in operation on March 1, 1980. States that such commuter lines over which directed service is provided may not be abandoned, and service over such lines may not be discontinued, during the period of such directed service.

Prohibits, for the 180-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, any rail line or facility of the Rock Island Railroad which has been approved for abandonment by the Commission or the bankruptcy court, from being downgraded, scrapped, or otherwise disposed of without the approval of the Secretary. Prohibits the Secretary from approving a disposition of a portion of the Rock Island rail line or related facility to any carrier or other entity not engaged in providing railroad services before abandonment has been approved or before such 180-day period after enactment. Directs the Secretary to grant such approvals under specified conditions.

Permits the Commission to authorize any rail carrier to use the tracks and facilities of the Rock Island or Milwaukee Railroads under such terms of compensation as the carriers establish between themselves or as the Commission finds to be reasonable. Directs the Commission to require, to the maximum extent practicable, the use of the employees who would normally have performed work in connection with the traffic subject to the action of the Commission.

=Title II: Rail Passenger Corridors= - Passenger Railroad Rebuilding Act of 1980 - Amends the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 to extend the time period within which regularly scheduled and dependable intercity rail passenger service is to be established between Boston and New York and New York and Washington, D.C. to September 30, 1985.

Extends the deadline for submission by the Secretary of Transportation of a comprehensive report on the financial and operating results of such intercity rail passenger service by three years.

Directs the Department of Transportation, within six months after the date of enactment of this Act, to develop plans for alternate off-corridor routings of freight traffic over Northeast Corridor lines between Washington, D.C. and the New York Metropolitan area.

Authorizes the Secretary to enter into agreements with rail freight carriers and regional transportation agencies to provide for the implementation by such rail carriers of the off-corridor routings on such terms and conditions as the parties may agree. Sets forth: (1) procedures by which the Secretary shall apply to the Commission for approval of such agreements; and (2) the circumstances under which the Commission shall approve such agreements, or, if the Secretary and the involved parties are unable to reach agreement, find the terms and conditions necessary and binding upon all involved rail freight carriers. Directs the Secretary to report to Congress, within 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, on factors concerning the mixing of freight and passenger service on the same rail lines. Requires the Secretary to: (1) consult with the Comptroller General, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, the United States Railway Association, affected railroads, and other interested parties in preparing such report; and (2) consider such factors as congestion, delays, fuel efficiency, and safety.

Adds as a goal of the Northeast Corridor improvement project the elimination of congestion in rail freight and rail passenger traffic at the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland.

Increases the authorization of appropriations for the Northeast Corridor improvement project. Authorizes appropriations to remain available until expended for freight diversion and for repairs to the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel.

Authorizes the Secretary to acquire any real property which the Secretary deems necessary to effectuate such rail passenger service. Authorizes the Secretary to enter into contracts with cost-sharing parties which permit the Secretary to incur obligations to carry out improvements in anticipation of reimbursement from such parties. Permits the Secretary to transfer to the Corporation excess real or personal property from the Northeast Corridor improvement project.

Establishes goals leading to self-sufficiency for such intercity rail passenger service beginning in fiscal year 1987. Directs the Corporation to include a discussion and accounting of its success in meeting such goals in its annual report.

Directs the Secretary and the Corporation, within 90 days of the enactment of this Act, to agree on the reallocation to the Corporation of authority and responsibility as regards the contracting of construction related to Northeast Corridor track improvements.

Directs the Secretary, effective October 1, 1985, to transfer to the Corporation all authority and responsibility for carrying out the Northeast Corridor improvement project.

Amends the Department of Transportation Act to authorize the Secretary to establish a working capital fund for financing the activities of the Transportation Systems Center. Sets forth the activities of such Center, including research, testing, and analysis for the Department and other Government agencies and, when approved by the Secretary, for State and local governments, other public authorities, private sources, and foreign countries.

Amends the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 to repeal a provision directing the payment to the Corporation of funds appropriated for capital grants and the use of such grants for temporary reduction of outstanding loan balances.

Lists priorities to be considered in the selection and scheduling of specific projects on the Northeast Corridor improvement project.

Directs the Secretary of Transportation to consult with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of Commerce, and other Federal officials, on the utilization of Federal funds to assist redevelopment in the vicinity of urban rail stations on the Northeast Corridor. Requires the Secretaries to report on such activities to Congress within one year after the date of enactment of this Act.

Authorizes the expenditure of funds for the purchase of a self-propelled single car for 50 to 60 passengers for the purpose of demonstrating the feasibility of developing feeder service to basic system, service and State subsidized service. Directs the Secretary, in consultation with the Corporation to develop a method for evaluating 13 specified rail passenger corridors. Requires such evaluation method to determine which of such corridors: (1) have the greatest potential for attracting riders; (2) have the greatest potential for reducing energy consumption; and (3) are capable of providing the most cost-effective rail passenger service. Specifies factors that the Secretary shall consider in making such evaluation.

Directs the Secretary, in consultation with the Corporation, to use the method developed under this Act to evaluate the named corridors and to compile a ranking of such corridors.

Directs the Secretary, within 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, to submit the proposed evaluation method and the ranking of the corridors to both Houses of Congress, and to specified Congressional committees.

Directs the Corporation, in consultation with the Secretary and the appropriate State officials, to develop design and engineering plans for new service in such corridors.

Directs the Corporation to develop a design and engineering plan for a corridor in cooperation with the rail carriers that own tracks and facilities used or to be used in providing passenger service in such corridor. Authorizes the Corporation to apply to the Secretary for assistance in obtaining such cooperation from rail carriers.

Requires the Corporation to submit, by February 15, 1981, a report to both Houses of Congress on each corridor for which a design and engineering plan has been developed. Prescribes certain information to be included in such report.

Directs the Corporation to acquire the necessary equipment for purposes of providing rail passenger service in corridors listed in this Act.

Directs the Secretary to encourage the private sector development of potential rail passenger corridors, including the corridor between Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and sets forth measures to be taken in so doing. Directs the Secretary to report, by February 15, 1981, to Congress describing the action taken under this section.

Directs the Corporation to identify restrictions imposed by a State or local government on the speed of Amtrak trains and to consult with such governments for purposes of evaluating alternatives to such restrictions.

Directs the Corporation, under certain conditions, to undertake improvements in service between corridors in order to maximize ridership.

Authorizes appropriations for: (1) fiscal year 1981 for the evaluation of corridors and the preparation of design and engineering plans; and (2) for fiscal year 1982 for the acquisition of equipment.

Authorizes appropriations, out of funds available under the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, for fiscal year 1981 for private sector development, to remain available until expended.

Extends until October 1, 1981, the period during which the Corporation shall operate commuter rail passenger service which it operated on January 1, 1979.

Directs the Consolidated Rail Corporation (ConRail) to make payments of benefits in accordance with the employee protection provisions of the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973. Prohibits the "United States Railway" Association from withholding any funds from ConRail as a result of such payments.

Directs the Secretary to consider and report to Congress on specified factors concerning the relocation of the Amtrak maintenance-of-way facility at Bristol, Pennsylvania. Prohibits the Secretary from taking any action concerning such relocation until 60 days after the submission of such report.

Authorizes the Secretary, upon notification that the Corporation is unable to reach an agreement with a rail carrier for operation of additional passenger trains over such carrier's tracks, to order such carrier to permit or provide such operation within 60 days. Sets forth guidelines for the schedules of such additional trains. Entitles the carrier to compensation from the Corporation for the operation of such additional trains. Directs the Commission to determine the amount of such compensation if such compensation is not subject to an existing agreement or cannot be voluntarily agreed upon.