Summary: H.R.6308 — 97th Congress (1981-1982)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (08/12/1982)

(Measure passed House, amended)

Rail Safety and Service Improvement Act of 1982 - Title I: Rail Safety - Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1982 - Amends the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 to direct the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations to apply safety principles to track used for commuter or other short-haul rail passenger service in a metropolitan or suburban area.

Authorizes appropriations for the purposes of such Act for FY 1983 and 1984.

Revises provisions concerning the movement of railroad cars in need of repair.

Repeals the Act of May 30, 1908 (commonly referred to as the Ash Pan Act) concerning safety ash pans on locomotives.

Requires the Secretary to report to Congress on whether it should issue rules, regulations, orders, and standards requiring that leading railroad train cars in operation after July 1, 1983, be equipped with a mounted oscillating light.

Requires the Secretary within one year of enactment of this Act to issue regulations to insure that the construction, maintenance, and operation of railroad equipment maximize safety to rail passengers.

Requires the Secretary within two years of enactment of such Act to issue regulations requiring training of on-board railroad operating and service personnel in evacuation procedures and the use of emergency equipment.

Requires the Secretary to report to Congress on such regulations in comparison to other Federal transportation regulations, especially those administered by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Title II: Bankrupt Railroads - Bankrupt Railroad Service Preservation and Employee Protection Act of 1982 - Amends the Milwaukee Railroad Restructuring Act to provide a procedure for the acquisition of rail carrier lines subject to liquidation. Permits any person who is financially responsible and who has made a bona fide offer to acquire such rail line, and whose offer has been rejected by that carrier, to submit an application to the Interstate Commerce Commission seeking approval of acquisition of such carrier. Requires that a copy of such application be filed simultaneously with the appropriate bankruptcy court. Sets forth rules of procedure for the Commission upon receipt of such application.

Requires any person acquiring a rail line under this provision to use, to the maximum extent practicable, employees or former employees of the carrier in the operation of service. Prohibits such person from transferring or discontinuing service within four years of such acquisition.

Amends the Rock Island Railroad Transition and Employee Assistance Act to direct the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to order directed service for three years (currently two years) over any railroad in operation on March 1, 1980, which is subject to Federal bankruptcy laws and which has ceased to provide passenger commuter service.

Empowers the Commission to authorize temporary operations over any rail carrier subject to a liquidation until the disposition of the properties of the estate of such carrier.

Amends the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 to direct the Secretary to guarantee an obligaton of any railroad in reorganization under the Federal bankruptcy laws for purposes of funding any agreement between such railroads and their employees which provides for the protection of employees adversely affected by reduction in service or restructuring transactions. Sets forth the maximum amount of such guarantees.

Requires any class I rail carrier involved in a bankruptcy case, and in liquidation as a result, to enter into an agreement with its employees' labor organizations to provide protection for employees adversely affected by reductions in service by such carrier. Directs the ICC to prescribe fair and equitable terms if the parties do not agree within a specified time. Declares that any such order of the ICC or of any bankruptcy court having jurisdiction over the case may be appealed only to the appropriate United States Courts of Appeals.

Requires that employee claims for benefits and allowances under employee protection agreements be filed with the Railroad Retirement Board. Requires that benefits and allowances under such agreements be paid from the bankrupt carrier's assets or obligation guarantees.

Makes employees who elect to receive a separation allowance from a bankrupt railroad under an employee protection agreement eligible to receive career training assistance from the Railroad Retirement Board. Terminates such assistance after April 1, 1984.

Deems employees receiving assistance under this title to have waived any employee protection benefits otherwise available under certain provisions of the Bankruptcy Act or other applicable agreements except a specified agreement regarding Midwest Rail employees.

Sets forth procedures and limitations for employees who elect to receive assistance under this title.

Provides that such obligation guarantees shall be treated as administrative expenses of the estate of the bankrupt carrier. Limits the total liability of a bankrupt carrier to the amount guaranteed by the Secretary. Declares that prerequisites, general requirements, and employee protection provisions of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 shall not apply to such guaranteed obligations.

Provides for judicial review of this title.

Authorizes the Railroad Retirement Board to prescribe regulations as necessary to carry out its duties.

Makes technical and conforming amendments to the Milwaukee Railroad Restructuring Act.

Title III: Northeast Corridor Project - Authorizes the improvement in facilities for rail passenger service to Buffalo, New York, and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Makes sums available as may be required for numerous projects on the main line of the Northeast Corridor.

Permits authorized but unappropriated funds for a specific fiscal year to be carried forward and appropriated in excess of any authorization limit applicable to future fiscal years. Grants priority funding for FY 1983 through 1985 for main line service to Atlantic City, New Jersey and Buffalo, New York. Declares that such main line improvements shall not be undertaken as a substitute for improvements specified in a document entitled "Corridor Master Plan II, NECIP Restructured Program" prepared for the Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Northeast Corridor Improvement Project.

Title IV: Continuance of Preference Share Program - Amends the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 to extend the preference share program until September 30, 1985. Requires the Secretary to purchase a specified amount of redeemable preference shares as necessary for the purchase, lease, or rehabilitation of properties of the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) by non-carrier entities to be used for common carrier rail service, provided an application for a certificate of abandonment or notice of insufficient revenues has been filed with the ICC with respect to such rail service. Requires the Secretary to make certain that all indebtedness under this title is likely to be repaid or can be secured.

Directs the Secretary to purchase a specified amount of shares for the rehabilitation of the rail properties of the Delaware River Port Authority, upon application by the Authority.

Authorizes appropriations for fiscal year 1983 for the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Fund.

Sets aside certain amounts of preference share funding for the St. Louis Gateway project, in Missouri, and for the purchase or refinancing of the purchase of a rail line of the Rock Island Railroad between the cities of Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas.

Title V: Miscellaneous - Amends the Department of Transportation Act to revise the method of determining State rail service entitlements.

Directs the Secretary to operate the Transportation Test Center in Pueblo, Colorado, until the Center is transferred to another party. Requires the Secretary to attempt to transfer the Center to a non-Federal party before January 1, 1983.

Amends the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 to revise insurance provisions relative to Conrail.

Declares a specified portion of the Burnham Canal, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as nonnavigable.

Amends the Northeast Rail Service Act of 1981 and the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 to provide for reappropriations to conform to provisions of this Act.

Amends the Rail Passenger Service Act to transfer authority for the Northeast Corridor coordination from the Board of Directors of Amtrak Commuter to the Northeast Corridor Coordination Board.

Directs the United States Railway Association to make a specified amount available to Conrail to construct and improve a designated rail line connection.

Directs the Secretary to transfer the Alaska Railroad to the State of Alaska before October 1, 1982, under specified terms.

Vests in the United States for administration by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture, as appropriate, all right, title, and interest to lands within the boundaries of a conservation system unit or national forest held by the Alaska Railroad.

Reserves to the Alaska Railroad the right to use and occupy, without compensation, the surface of the lands on the right-of-way of the Railroad within the Denali National Park and Preserve for terminal and other existing facilities. Subjects the use of such lands to laws and regulations regarding the protection of resources of the national park system.

Reserves to the Secretary of the Interior: (1) existing and future rights-of-way and easements for park administration, transportation, and utility purposes; and (2) the right to use and occupy without compensation the McKinley Park Station for national park administrative purposes. Prohibits such reservations from unreasonably interfering with railroad operation and support functions.

Reserves to the Alaska Railroad, subject to reasonable stipulations of the Secretary of Agriculture, the right to use and occupy, without compensation, the surface of the lands within that portion of the right-of-way of the Railroad located within any national forests for terminal and other railroad facilities.

Declares that if the State of Alaska abandons any rights pursuant to the Railroad transfer such rights shall terminate and not be renewed except with congressional approval.

Transfers to the Secretary of the Interior the right to use and occupy railroad land at Talkeetna, Alaska, for the National Park Service administrative activities.

Directs the Secretary of the Interior to determine the validity of all claims of valid existing rights arising under Federal law and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in land excluded from rail properties of the Alaska Railroad. Provides for judicial review of the Secretary's determinations.

Provides for the administration of lands selected by Native corporations and lands transferred to the Railroad.

Grants the State of Alaska the option of paying the consideration for the railroad transfer with cash, land transfers, or both. Allows the State to extend the railroad across Federal lands through grants of rights-of-way in accordance with applicable provisions of law, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976.

Authorizes the appropriations for FY 1983 for the Office of the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Revises provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act to assure that feeder development lines are used expressly for shippers of agricultural products.