PASSENGER RAIL REFORM AND INVESTMENT ACT OF 2015
(House of Representatives - March 04, 2015)

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[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 37 (Wednesday, March 4, 2015)]
[Pages H1578-H1596]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




            PASSENGER RAIL REFORM AND INVESTMENT ACT OF 2015


                             General Leave

  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous materials on H.R. 749.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Hardy). Is there objection to the 
request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 134 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 749.
  The Chair appoints the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Harris) to 
preside over the Committee of the Whole.

                              {time}  1235


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 749) to reauthorize Federal support for passenger rail programs, 
and for other purposes, with Mr. Harris in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster) and the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. DeFazio) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I want to begin by thanking Chairman Denham and Ranking 
Members DeFazio and Capuano, who have all worked well on this bill 
together. I also would like to thank Ms. Brown who, in the last 
Congress, when this bill started on its path, to thank her for her 
great work. Ms. Brown is from the State of Florida.
  Since I became chairman of the Railroad Subcommittee in the 112th 
Congress and since I have become chairman of the full committee, this 
has been one of my top priorities: to pass a bipartisan passenger rail 
bill that reforms Amtrak. I am so happy to be here on the floor today 
with the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015.
  The previous passenger rail bill passed in 2008 and resulted in some 
real improvements to Amtrak, which we are seeing today. Ridership is up 
14 percent; revenue is up 37 percent; and, in the Northeast corridor, 
the profits are up an amazing 250 percent.
  The last bill created the Northeast Corridor Commission, which has 
helped the States, Amtrak, and DOT finally work together on planning 
the future of the corridor; however, more work needs to be done to help 
Amtrak maximize its strengths and tackle some of its longstanding 
challenges.
  That is why we introduced the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment 
Act of 2015. I know some of my colleagues are skeptical about Amtrak 
and passenger rail in general. Because of its current structure, 
Amtrak's finances have not been transparent to either Congress or to 
consumers.
  The profits on the Northeast corridor have subsidized money-losing 
routes, masking the true cost of these services. This bill makes 
significant reforms to eliminate those issues.
  In particular, we focus on the Northeast corridor in this bill, which 
truly is a nationally significant transportation corridor. With 18 
percent of our population and 20 percent of our GDP produced in the 
Northeast corridor on 3 percent of our land mass, it is the most 
densely populated area of the United States and one of the most densely 
populated in the world, so passenger rail is needed.
  By separating Amtrak into business lines, the Northeast corridor 
profits stay in the corridor, allowing for more investment there. 
Setting the other business lines apart allows the corporation to make 
better-informed business decisions about those lines' operations. This 
will help make Amtrak's operations much more transparent for both the 
States and the Congress.
  By focusing our resources on the Northeast corridor and existing 
corridors where passenger rail makes sense, we will help to improve 
passenger rail without breaking the bank.

[[Page H1579]]

  Finally, we also provide environmental review streamlining reforms 
for rail projects, something that is important to not only passenger 
rail, but it also will include freight rail in these environmental 
reviews, which will help them to be able to expand their rail network 
to help America move its freight more effectively and efficiently.
  It is something we are already doing in highway and transit and water 
infrastructure projects. This will help make our limited Federal 
dollars go further because we all know time is money when dealing with 
infrastructure projects.
  I know on both sides of the aisle--my colleagues on the other side of 
the aisle want to do more and have more money invested, which I 
understand, and there needs to be more investment. My colleagues on my 
side of the aisle think we may be spending too much money.
  These reforms are going to move Amtrak in a positive direction. It is 
not going to solve all of our problems today, but I think it 
substantially moves the ball down the field to get to a point where 
someday maybe Amtrak can stand on its own two feet.
  This debate has been raging in this assembly for the last 40 or so 
years. My colleagues on the other side point out that no passenger rail 
operates without subsidies. They are correct.
  Also, there is only one freight rail system in the world that doesn't 
get subsidies, and that is in the United States of America, our freight 
rail system. I think we can move Amtrak in that direction.
  My colleagues on my side of the aisle argue, Amtrak has been a 
failure, let's get rid of it. I don't think that is the answer either 
because, as I mentioned earlier, there are places in this country that 
desperately need to have an expanded passenger rail service.
  When the United States is moving towards 400 million people, we are 
going to need that passenger rail service in various parts of this 
country. We need to make sure that we are building today a better 
Amtrak to serve the future of the American people and of a people that 
is growing.
  This is a bipartisan bill, so neither side got everything that it 
wants, but it is a good strong reform bill that I firmly believe will 
significantly improve Amtrak.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support this bill, and I look forward 
to working with the Senate to take it to the President's desk.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I want to thank the chairman, Chairman Shuster, from Pennsylvania; 
subcommittee chairman Mr. Denham; and the ranking member serving on our 
side, Mike Capuano, for a bill that is an okay bill.
  This is in the tradition, the greatest tradition, of the 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which we have differences, 
as the chairman pointed out, over the future of rail and the funding 
levels that are needed, but there is consensus that this is important 
to the country, and we can continue that debate as we continue to 
improve the operations of Amtrak.
  An awful lot of the focus is on the Northeast corridor. That is 
essentially the ``cash cow.'' In the Northeast corridor now in the 
rail-air market, 78 percent of the D.C.-New York travelers are now 
using the train. That is a success story. There is a lot of focus on 
that, but Amtrak is bigger than that. We are a large nation.
  I remember after 9/11, when I had a Federal official here from my 
region, head of the Bonneville Power Administration, and he needed to 
get back for some important meetings in the West, he took the train. 
There was no plane option.
  Maintaining a national network, I believe, is essential. We need to 
keep that perspective in mind as we look at Amtrak as a whole, not just 
a corridor in one of the most populated parts of the country.
  In the West, we have two long-distance trains: the Coast Starlight 
from Seattle through Portland, Eugene, down to Los Angeles; and the 
Empire Builder, which starts in Seattle and Portland, converges in 
Spokane--kind of a unique route--and continues on to Chicago.
  We also have a State-supported route in Oregon, which is an 
international route. It goes from Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver, British 
Columbia. Ridership last year was almost up to 1 million on that route, 
as Interstate 5 becomes more and more problematic and congested, 
particularly over the line in Washington State. These are essential 
assets to give people an alternative.
  I would also say that we need to be planning for a better future. 
Last year, Oregon did get about a $20 million grant through the 
Intercity Passenger Rail grant program to finish planning and 
preliminary engineering work for the possibility of a higher-speed 
route--not high speed. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards in the 
near future.
  We have a wonderful train set, an Acela train set, which can travel a 
lot faster than it can now because of the current routing and 
congestion. We are planning on doing that, working cooperatively with 
the freight railroads and also looking at some alternative routes for 
at least part of that train.
  I would also point out that this bill, the railroads themselves, the 
freight railroads, which the chairman mentioned, are investing a 
phenomenal amount of money in upgrading their track, their systems, and 
their power; but there are still a lot of projects that are undone and 
don't have potential revenue sources, particularly for the short lines.

                              {time}  1245

  I am really pleased that this bill streamlines the Railroad 
Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program, RRIF. It sounds like 
something my dog would say. In any case, this is sort of a very 
infinitely bureaucratic and lengthy process. The bill requires that the 
loans be done within 45 days of getting a complete application, and it 
also contains strong Buy America provisions. It will be all American 
steel, iron, and manufactured goods. I think that is an improvement on 
two levels, and that is a needed change.
  Finally, as the chairman said, there are some of us on this side of 
the aisle who believe we should be making more investment so that 
Amtrak can have a program to acquire more power, so it can make 
improvements on some of the very aged and decrepit parts of the Neck 
here and in other places where they have critical infrastructure needs 
around the country. That was not to be in this bill, but this bill does 
leave us that option in the future. I strongly--and I believe most on 
this side of the aisle will strongly--support this legislation.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Nevada (Mr. Hardy).
  Mr. HARDY. Mr. Chairman, I rise today as a member of the 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to support this bill.
  I believe it will bring efficiency, savings, and greater transparency 
to Amtrak. Instead of increasing government interference, this bill 
will actually create development opportunities for the private sector 
and encourage non-Federal participation by unlocking new revenue 
streams. This bill is common sense and straightforward. It reduces red 
tape by streamlining environmental issues.
  As a former small business owner, it makes perfect sense to me that 
we direct Amtrak to target investments where there is the best 
potential for success and conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis for 
long distance routes.
  Finally, I am excited to further empower States to have a greater 
role in managing their routes. States must be equal partners with a 
greater say in ensuring that the residents--Amtrak passengers--get the 
best benefit. That is why, Mr. Chairman, I stand in support of this 
bipartisan legislation.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
New York (Mr. Nadler).
  Mr. NADLER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Passenger Rail Reform and 
Investment Act of 2015. This bill authorizes $7 billion for passenger 
rail, including $5.8 billion for Amtrak, over the next 4 years.
  This bill is not perfect, but I appreciate the committee leadership's 
efforts to develop a bill in a bipartisan manner.
  This bill significantly reforms the way Amtrak funding is authorized.

[[Page H1580]]

Rather than authorizing separate appropriations for debt service, 
capital, and operating expenses, the bill creates two new accounts--a 
Northeast corridor account and a national network account. The bill 
also creates a new program to provide grants to the States, funded at 
$300 million annually, of which $150 million is dedicated to the 
Northeast corridor.
  The Northeast corridor region contains 4 of the 10 largest 
metropolitan areas in the country. It is home to more than 51 million 
people, and our regional economy is the fifth-largest in the world 
between France and Germany. If the Northeast corridor were to 
unexpectedly shut down for just one day, the potential impact on the 
U.S. economy could be $100 million in transportation-related impacts 
and productivity losses.
  There is no question that it is absolutely in our national interest 
to do everything we can to maintain and develop the Northeast corridor, 
but New Yorkers also understand the importance of maintaining a 
national network, so I am pleased that the bill grants Amtrak the 
flexibility to transfer funds, if needed, to keep the national rail 
system operational. The bill also requires a more detailed plan for 
implementing specific improvements to the Northeast corridor that is 
free of poison pill, antilabor provisions, and it applies Buy America 
to the RRIF loan program.
  All of this is good, but we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture, 
which is that we are still woefully underfunding Amtrak. We spend more 
than $50 billion per year on highways and transit and over $15 billion 
on aviation, while Amtrak is just $1.4 billion, or less than 2 percent, 
of Federal transportation spending. This is despite the fact that the 
rail system needs at least $52 billion, or $2.6 billion per year, for 
20 years just to meet ridership demands and bring the system into a 
state of good repair.
  The President's FY16 budget request, on the other hand, includes $5 
billion for rail. Half of that is intended to bring public rail assets 
throughout the country to a state of good repair, including $550 
million for the Northeast corridor; $2 billion is for high-speed rail 
and commuter rail; and $204 million is for the FRA rail safety 
measures, proven to be so necessary by the accidents on Metro North in 
New York and Connecticut.
  Unfortunately, this bill before us today simply authorizes current 
funding levels, but given the budget constraints imposed by the 
majority, it is probably the best bill we can hope for right now if we 
want to move a bipartisan bill.
  I would like to thank Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for 
their efforts to advance an Amtrak reauthorization bill that moves the 
process forward. I look forward to working with them and the rest of my 
colleagues to make sure passenger rail receives the attention and 
resources it deserves. For now, this is a good bill, and I urge its 
adoption.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is now my pleasure to yield 2 minutes 
to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Costello), the newest member of 
the T&I Committee.
  Mr. COSTELLO of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this 
bipartisan solution to enhance passenger rail networks and strengthen 
this country's transportation infrastructure.
  Amtrak's Northeast and Keystone rail lines are a critical thread in 
the transportation fabric of my district in southeastern Pennsylvania. 
For me, Amtrak equals SEPTA, in many respects, as 90 percent of the 
2,000 daily train rides along the Northeast corridor are regional 
commuter lines like SEPTA.
  This important legislation does something very significant, Mr. 
Chairman. It keeps revenues generated on the Northeast corridor for 
reinvestment along the Northeast corridor. It compels Amtrak, the 
Federal Railroad Administration, and States to work together to develop 
and implement a 5-year Northeast corridor capital investment plan. For 
my district, it offers more promise for the Schuylkill Metro project, 
for the concept of utilizing existing rail beds known as the Green Line 
along route 29 in Montgomery and Chester Counties. And of course, it 
makes available more Federal funding for new train stations to replace 
aging train stations such as Paoli and Downingtown.
  I want to thank Chairman Shuster and Chairman Denham for their smart, 
reasoned approach and for their leadership in strengthening the 
passenger rail network. This is a great bill. It is great for 
southeastern Pennsylvania, and it is great for this country.

  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Ohio (Ms. Kaptur).
  Ms. KAPTUR. I thank Ranking Member Capuano for yielding me this time.
  I want to thank the capable chairman of the committee, Mr. Shuster, 
and the chairman and the ranking member of the full committee, Mr. 
DeFazio, for bringing this important Passenger Rail Reform and 
Investment Act before us.
  Mr. Chairman, as the Representative of the busiest Amtrak station in 
Ohio at Toledo and the Amtrak stations in Sandusky and Elyria-Lorain, I 
rise to urge the passage of this important bill to continue and advance 
passenger rail service across our Nation.
  When I was born, the population of the United States was 146 million 
people. Today, it surpasses 320 million. By 2020, our Nation's 
population is projected to reach over half a billion people--over 500 
million. As time moves forward, the necessity for passenger rail will 
become clearer with each passing day.
  Many of our major urban centers are clogged with traffic jams daily, 
and the railroads across my region of our continent have severe freight 
rail and passenger rail conflicts because they are forced to use the 
same tracks. Imagine that we are living in the 21st century, and we are 
still tethered to 19th century rail pathways.
  Passenger rail travel in Ohio is booming despite these constraints--
up from 108,000 passengers in 2007 to 160,000 passengers in 2013. A 
trend in my district has grown as well, with Toledo passengers on the 
northwest Ohio corridor increasing from 53,000 to 77,000 over the same 
time. Imagine the traffic jams if all of these individuals traveled by 
car instead of rail.
  It is not just the northeastern part of our Nation that needs added 
attention to passenger rail service, as important as that is. It should 
also include the Great Lakes Region. The corridor that stretches the 
length of my district and connects our industrial heartland corridor 
from Pittsburgh to Cleveland to Sandusky to Toledo to Gary to Chicago 
needs special attention, too.
  During an extended stretch last year, between July and September, the 
Capitol Limited, which runs from Washington, D.C., to Chicago and 
includes my northern Ohio stretch, completed only 2.7 percent of its 
trips on time--2.7 percent out of 100 percent on time. The dramatic 
increase of freight rail consistently bumps passenger service. We need 
both, but what we have are these lengthy delays to passenger service 
across our vast region.
  I have two articles I would like to insert into the Record detailing 
these troubles.

                            [From the Blade]

      Amtrak Trains Often Trickle Into Toledo After Rash of Delays

                            (By David Patch)

       Christine Smith boarded Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited in 
     Chicago on Tuesday night to visit a friend in Toledo.
       The train left Chicago two hours late and made it only 
     about 15 miles to Indiana's northwest corner, where it sat 
     for about three hours, Ms. Smith recalled. By the time it got 
     to Toledo, it was six hours behind schedule.
       It was only the latest of a series of late Amtrak trains 
     the Melbourne, Australia, resident said she had encountered 
     since arriving in Los Angeles last month and riding from 
     there to San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Spokane, and Chicago.
       Late trains are nothing new for Amtrak, particularly for 
     the overnight, long-distance trains such as those that serve 
     Toledo--the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited. Trains 
     running more than three hours late have become the norm 
     recently, and they have often lost that much or more just on 
     the Chicago-Toledo portion of trips. The Capitol Limited was 
     12 hours behind schedule on Sunday.
       While there have been exceptions, by far the biggest 
     obstacle to Amtrak's time-keeping across northern Indiana and 
     northern Ohio has been tracks blocked by freight trains 
     belonging to Norfolk Southern, which owns and operates the 
     line Amtrak uses between Chicago and Cleveland.
       ``It's absolutely unbelievable what they're doing to the 
     American people. It's a fraud,'' Ms. Smith said. ``Every 
     train I've been on

[[Page H1581]]

     has been late leaving and late arriving, and freight trains 
     are given as the reason.''
       During the 12 months that ended in August, Capitol Limited 
     trains arrived at their end stations in Chicago or Washington 
     within 30 minutes of schedule only 22.5 percent of the time, 
     while the Lake Shore reached Chicago or New York on time 30.8 
     percent of the time, according to Amtrak.
       But August itself was significantly worse, and September 
     data, when available, is unlikely to show improvement. In 
     August, the best performer was the eastbound Lake Shore, 
     which reached New York within 30 minutes of schedule 6.5 
     percent of the time--two trips. The westbound was late into 
     Chicago every day of the month, and the Capitol Limiteds 
     arrived on time once in each direction.
       Late westbound arrivals in Chicago also translate to late 
     eastbound departures, because Amtrak lacks spare equipment in 
     Chicago to make up replacement trains when equipment arrives 
     late, and it also does not have enough engineers and 
     conductors to always have an extra train crew ready to 
     replace one that has worked the maximum 12-hour shift set by 
     federal regulation.
       Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman in Chicago, laid even 
     the late departures from Chicago at Norfolk Southern's feet.
       ``If the train is late getting to Chicago, it's most likely 
     going to be late eastbound while we're servicing equipment 
     and getting proper rest for our crews,'' Mr. Magliari said. 
     ``The result is to drive up our costs, dissatisfy our 
     passengers, and create `never again' riders.''
       While its ridership pales in comparison to major stations 
     like New York and Chicago, Toledo historically has been 
     Amtrak's busiest Ohio stop, and its ridership has declined of 
     late.
       After peaking at more than 90,000 riders in 2010 and 2011, 
     Toledo's Amtrak ridership dropped to 87,073 in 2012 and 
     86,252 last year, according to statistics provided to the 
     Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which owns the Toledo 
     station.
       During the first seven months of 2014, Amtrak's Toledo 
     ridership has fallen by another 7 percent, those statistics 
     show.
       David Pidgeon, a Norfolk Southern spokesman, said the 
     freight-train backlog is a product of ``more trains and 
     capacity challenges in the corridor between Chicago and 
     Cleveland'' because the freight traffic exceeds what the 
     company handled before the 2008 recession.
       ``We generally have a cooperative relationship with Amtrak 
     because we are each other's landlords,'' Mr. Pidgeon said. 
     ``We run on their network and they run on ours, so there's 
     plenty of business and personal incentive to keep the 
     cooperation going.
       ``We want to keep freight and passenger trains moving, 
     period.''
       One of the busiest pieces of railroad in the entire United 
     States, Norfolk Southern's double-track main has become, to 
     varying degrees, an obstacle course of stopped and slow-
     moving freight trains.
       A particular growth area has been oil shipments from the 
     Bakken oilfields of North Dakota to terminals on the East 
     Coast, rail traffic that simply didn't exist before 2009 but 
     now accounts for dozens of trains through Toledo each week.


                             Rail expansion

       Norfolk Southern is building a third main track between 
     Chesterton and Gary, Ind., a 30-mile section that is the 
     busiest stretch of the region's busiest freight railroad. It 
     includes several major junctions and runs through the heart 
     of one of America's most heavily industrialized areas, the 
     steel mills and a major oil refinery along Lake Michigan's 
     southern shore. Until that third track is ready for use, its 
     construction is impairing train traffic.
       When only one track is open for trains, traffic only goes 
     one way while opposing trains wait. The spot where Ms. 
     Smith's train stopped is near the west end of the Chesterton-
     Gary construction zone. LaPorte, Ind.--where the Chicago-
     bound Amtrak trains from Toledo have often sat for hours in 
     recent weeks--is near the east end.
       And not only have passenger trains to and from Toledo been 
     affected by that problem, so too have Amtrak's five daily 
     round-trip trains between Chicago and Detroit, Grand Rapids, 
     and Port Huron, Mich., which use the same rails west of 
     Chesterton.
       The third track in northwest Indiana is one of several 
     capacity-improvement projects under way on Norfolk Southern 
     in the region.
       Most prominent among the others is a $160 million expansion 
     of the Bellevue, Ohio, yard, which will double in size when 
     the project is done later this year, easing congestion at 
     other yards, Mr. Pidgeon said.
       That ``will ease the demand for space in Elkhart and 
     hopefully significantly reduce transit times for our freight 
     trains, keeping us moving and the network fluid,'' he said.
       Norfolk Southern has 50 new locomotives soon to be 
     delivered and also has bought several hundred used ones in 
     the past year or two to address shortages.
       It also is hiring close to 100 new train conductors in the 
     Toledo area and has transferred 120 more from other parts of 
     its system to the Cleveland-Chicago corridor to alleviate 
     crew shortages, Mr. Pidgeon said.
       The Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers, an advocacy 
     group, cites another factor in the freight-train delays: An 
     automated dispatching system Norfolk Southern has been 
     introducing on portions of its rail network during the past 
     two years.
       The system, called the Auto-Router, is designed to mimic a 
     job human train dispatchers have done for years--deciding 
     which trains run on which tracks at what time. The automated 
     system could supplement that work, allowing the human 
     dispatchers to work larger territories, or eventually it 
     could replace them.
       Train dispatching is a job with a lot of variables because 
     freight trains don't all travel at the same speed. Some are 
     long, heavy, and slow; others are short and, ideally, fast.
       Hills, track repairs, and certain trains' need to stop at 
     yards along the way to pick up or drop off cars also can 
     factor into how trains are dispatched.
       Critics of the system including OARP--also known as All 
     Aboard Ohio--and Norfolk Southern sources who spoke on 
     condition of anonymity because they're not authorized to talk 
     to reporters said the Auto-Router system's flaws are 
     contributing to the railroad's congestion.


                          Passenger complaints

       While Amtrak riders interviewed by The Blade said they 
     understand how the passenger trains are at the freight 
     railroads' mercy, some said the passenger-train operator 
     could handle the situation better, too.
       Jean McGraw of Port Clinton, who boarded the Boston-bound 
     Lake Shore in Sandusky in late September to visit a sister in 
     New Hampshire, said she and her travel companion got two 
     emails ``in the middle of the night'' about train delays but 
     got no updates after that.
       And when the bus Ms. McGraw and other Boston-bound 
     passengers rode from Albany got to Boston at 4 a.m. the next 
     day, the station there was locked. The passengers cajoled the 
     bus driver into letting them take shelter in a neighboring 
     bus garage, she said.
       ``That was it--it was ridiculous,'' Ms. McGraw said.
       As compensation, Amtrak offered vouchers good toward future 
     train travel. Ms. McGraw said she hopes to use hers once the 
     current problems are resolved, but her companion swore off 
     train travel because of the experience.
       Untested is whether Norfolk Southern's handling of Amtrak 
     violates a 1973 federal law directing the freight railroads 
     to give the passenger trains preferential handling.
       A more recent federal law, passed in 2008, directed the 
     Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to develop 
     performance standards for Amtrak trains.
       However, a later appellate court ruling stalled this. 
     According to the rail passengers association, Amtrak's 
     overall on-time performance has plummeted since that 2013 
     ruling, which is the subject of a pending Supreme Court 
     appeal.
       Dan McMackin, a United Parcel Service spokesman, said his 
     company has recently changed the train routes it uses to move 
     packages in response to train delays, though he did not 
     confirm that the company specifically removed its cargo from 
     the Norfolk Southern route.
       ``We have seen some recent lower reliability in several 
     lanes and are adjusting accordingly, with guidance from our 
     rail service partners as to appropriate network 
     corrections,'' Mr. McMackin said. ``While there have been 
     lanes affected over the last several months, we expect long-
     term reliability to return and most of our adjustments are 
     seen as temporary.''
       But while UPS may be ready to send packages back to the 
     Cleveland-Toledo-Chicago corridor once Norfolk Southern's 
     problems are resolved, Amtrak could have a harder time 
     winning back Tanya Miller, of Taylor, Mich., one of the 
     riders who boarded the New York-bound train in Toledo on 
     Wednesday morning.
       ``This is my first time and my very last time taking 
     Amtrak,'' she said. ``I'm not recommending Amtrak to 
     anyone.''
                                  ____


                        [From The Plain Dealer]

 Solutions Sought for Chronic Amtrak, Freight Train Delays in Northern 
                                  Ohio

                           (By Alison Grant)

       Cleveland, OH.--Passengers sitting on the tracks one recent 
     morning near an idled Lake Shore Limited train in Cleveland 
     had a lot of time to kill.
       Their eastbound train was late getting out of Chicago Union 
     Station and pulled into Cleveland about 3\1/2\ hours after 
     its scheduled arrival of 5:35 a.m.
       Then a switch problem or a downed power line on the CSX 
     tracks between downtown Cleveland and Collinwood--reports 
     varied--meant another delay of five hours before the Amtrak 
     train pulled out of town.
       Ed and Rosemary Sobala, heading home to Buffalo after a 
     train trip to the canyon-lands of Arizona, Utah and Nevada, 
     weren't too surprised.
       Not one of the Amtraks on their two-week journey was on 
     time, they said. In fact, not one was less than 5\1/2\ hours 
     late. When the Lake Shore Limited was stalled in Cleveland, 
     they were headed home to Buffalo--four hours away by car.
       ``A number of us riders jokingly referred to an Amtrak 
     schedule as a wish list more than a schedule,'' Ed Sobala 
     said.
       Delays like this--and they're chronic nationwide, including 
     along northern Ohio's east-west corridor, for both Amtrak 
     passenger trains and freight trains--have prompted three of 
     this region's metropolitan planning organizations to set up a 
     rail alliance to work on improving what is the fastest-
     growing U.S. transportation mode in the 21st century.

[[Page H1582]]

       ``Passenger rail ridership has increased dramatically, but 
     specifically on that corridor,'' said Grace Gallucci, 
     executive director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide 
     Coordinating Agency, which joined with the Toledo 
     Metropolitan Area Council of Governments and the Erie County 
     Regional Planning Commission to form the Northern Ohio Rail 
     Alliance.
       ``And the freight railroads are aggressively pursuing 
     increasing their capacity.''
       Gallucci attributes the increase in passenger rail traffic 
     to economics and demographics--high gas prices, expensive air 
     fares, Millennials more interested in public transportation 
     than their parents.
       Four daily passenger trains carry enough passengers to fill 
     a dozen Boeing 737s each day along the tracks in northern 
     Ohio, according to the advocacy group All Aboard Ohio, and 70 
     daily freight trains carry about 20,000 truckload equivalents 
     of cargo.
       Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited service, from Chicago through 
     Ohio to New York City and Boston, averages 1,100 passengers a 
     day.
       One of the rail alliance's first goals is to persuade the 
     Ohio Department of Transportation to release $938,000 that 
     Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur secured in 2010 for rail planning.
       The money was earmarked for ODOT to study high-speed rail, 
     but that project was scrubbed by Gov. John Kasich when he 
     took office. Kasich said high-speed rail was a ``money pit'' 
     because it would cost the state about $17 million a year to 
     maintain and operate, with no guarantee enough tickets could 
     be sold to cover the expenses.
       The train money has been sitting in ODOT's accounts since.
       ``The study area has changed many times,'' agency spokesman 
     Steve Faulkner explained.
       ``Most recently, folks in northern Ohio changed (it) to 
     include a review of the Cleveland to Toledo route. That's 
     new. For that reason, all interested parties...must again 
     meet in person to discuss and agree on details of the study 
     plan.''
       ODOT last week set up a meeting for Oct. 28 to discuss the 
     funding, Gallucci said.
       The Northern Ohio Rail Alliance and All Aboard Ohio say 
     redesigning the Amtrak stations in northern Ohio would do a 
     lot to improve rail service. Trains stopping at Cleveland, 
     Elyria and Sandusky can process passengers from only one 
     track of the two-track railway.
       That requires trains to ``slalom'' between tracks, and 
     during the crossover, both tracks at the station are 
     occupied. Opposing rail traffic must stop. The result: At 
     least 80 minutes of delay to the four passenger trains that 
     arrive nightly at each station, and as much or more delay to 
     freight traffic.
       The station in Toledo can process passengers from both 
     tracks but only at ground-level walkways not platforms.
       Gallucci said rail projects should qualify for money 
     overseen by ODOT's Transportation Review Advisory Council--
     which typically deals with projects that add capacity to Ohio 
     roads. She said rail station work also should be eligible for 
     money the state is raising for ODOT projects by letting the 
     Ohio Turnpike issue bonds that will be paid off with toll 
     increases.
       ``We have to get away from this idea that every 
     transportation mode competes against the others,'' Gallucci 
     said.
       Record high oil shipments from the Bakken Fields in the 
     Dakotas to East Coast refineries have added to freight 
     delays, including in Cleveland.
       Of the 60 to 90 freight trains that rumble daily through 
     Northeast Ohio on the tracks owned and operated by Norfolk 
     Southern, nine are oil trains. And that's due to grow by 
     another 18 trains in coming months, said Ken Prendergast, All 
     Aboard Ohio executive director.
       In September, officials representing agricultural, auto and 
     chemical industries told a Senate committee that widespread 
     delays in freight shipments were affecting an array of 
     industries and forcing some out of business. The Associated 
     Press reported that lawmakers displayed a photo of a giant 
     mound of wheat languishing in North Dakota because farmers 
     couldn't get a railroad company to ship it.
       Jonathan Fields and Jacquie Mon, traveling on the Empire 
     Builder from Portland, Oregon to Albany, New York, were 
     delayed five hours in Minot, North Dakota, when their train 
     was put on a siding track while oil trains moved past.
       ``We thought Amtrak trains had priority to the freight-
     owned rails if they were within a certain window of time,'' 
     Mon wrote in an email. ``I spent some time Googling the 
     subject and learned about the oil trains, the judge who ruled 
     that it wasn't legal to require the freight trains to give 
     Amtrak priority and that his decision was being appealed.''
       Then came the hang-up in Cleveland, a stone's throw from 
     FirstEnergy Stadium.
       ``If there had been a game, we would have had enough time 
     for a leisurely tailgate party, time to settle into our seats 
     and watch the teams warmup, enjoy--more or less--the game, 
     and time for drinks and play-call second guessing after the 
     game,'' Fields said.
       Sobala said he concluded that Amtrak isn't reliable for 
     travelers on firm schedules.
       ``One couple departed the sleeper car with their luggage 
     during the delay in Cleveland,'' he said. ``They decided to 
     fly to New York because they had an appointment they couldn't 
     miss. I last saw them get in a cab headed for the Cleveland 
     airport.''

  Ms. KAPTUR. Customers are understandably frustrated. Our region needs 
customer-convenient hours and passenger-friendly arrivals and 
departures. Our Great Lakes Region needs a capital investment plan, 
too, for passenger service. We need evaluation for State-supported 
routes. Our region needs expedited attention, methodology development, 
and service planning to remedy growing congestion inefficiencies that 
benefit no one, not the freight lines, not the passenger service, and 
surely not the communities they are supposed to serve--nor connectivity 
to inner city passenger rail service.
  I appreciate the efforts of Chairman Shuster and of Ranking Member 
DeFazio, as well as of Subcommittee Chair Denham and Ranking Member 
Capuano, in working together to produce this bill.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. CAPUANO. I yield the gentlewoman an additional 30 seconds.
  Ms. KAPTUR. I ask that our vast Midwest industrial heartland region 
not be excluded for alternative passenger rail service pilot programs, 
opportunities for rail investment, station improvements, and historic 
preservation, nor for public-private partnerships that can advance 
modern passenger rail in this vital corridor of our country.
  I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member, and I urge 
the adoption of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is my pleasure to yield 5 minutes to 
the gentleman from California (Mr. Denham). He is one of the principal 
authors of this piece of legislation, the gentleman who did yeoman's 
work on this bill and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, 
Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.
  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Chairman, there is a lot of talk about bipartisanship 
in this body. Oftentimes, a bill will come to the floor, and you may 
hope that one party or the other might throw some votes your way or 
that you might get some last-minute votes. True bipartisanship is what 
has happened on this committee.
  I, Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, and Ranking Member 
Capuano have worked together to not only form a bipartisan bill but to 
actually educate every one of our Members. We want to talk to Members 
of both parties and now of even both Houses to make sure that we are 
actually reforming something that is going to create not only a more 
efficient system but create American jobs.
  I want to thank each of those individuals for their willingness not 
only to work together but to work hard. It takes a lot of time to set 
up separate meetings with every single one of your colleagues in order 
to explain all of the intricacies on such a large bill. In this case, 
we have done that. We saw bipartisan and unanimous support first out of 
the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last year and now, this 
year, again, unanimous support out of the Rules Committee on a bill for 
which we get real structural reform.
  After 35 years, this splits off the Northeast corridor. So, if you 
are riding the train on the Northeast corridor, your profits--the money 
that each rider is spending--will actually go back to fixing your rail. 
We make sure that you are upgrading the infrastructure, that you are 
creating jobs, and that you are creating a more efficient Amtrak. That 
is something the riders on the Northeast corridor should be proud of, 
and it should be a lesson for every other corridor across the country--
that you get to keep your profits and improve your infrastructure and 
actually have greater ridership numbers in the process.
  Amtrak has made some great strides. In this bill, we are cutting our 
authorizations by 40 percent. I think it is a great opportunity to 
actually highlight some of the successes that they have had but to also 
demand more.
  This also defunds high-speed rail. We want to make sure that what is 
happening in California does not happen in the rest of the country. 
Where you have great rail projects going with higher speed--with high-
speed moving into New York and Florida--we want to make sure that we 
don't have the same challenges that are plaguing California's high-
speed rail, which has tripled in price.

[[Page H1583]]

  We also have other conservative issues in here that will get rid of 
waste. That includes the food and beverage losses that we see year 
after year. We want to make sure that Amtrak is moving in the right 
direction to eliminate those losses.

                              {time}  1300

  This builds American infrastructure and creates jobs to fix century-
old infrastructure problems. It unlocks the RRIF program, a program 
which has billions of dollars in it, yet every year when you are going 
to upgrade your infrastructure when you have a new project, this is one 
of the least areas that you want to work in because RRIF is so much of 
a challenge.
  There are long timelines, long approval processes. If you are going 
to invest in something, you want to know: Am I going to win out this 
loan application, or is it something that is going to actually hinder 
or slow down our project?
  We want to streamline that. We want to have those who need the access 
to capital that are going to improve our infrastructure to actually 
have the benefits of that program.
  This introduces competition and leverages the private sector to 
reduce the Amtrak subsidies and actually use the stations to be more 
profitable. Amtrak has stations in many key cities that can be utilized 
to increase profits from everything from the restaurants and shopping 
that they have, but to also be able to advertise in those stations. And 
advertise on the right-of-way, the right of way that Amtrak has to be 
able to use billboards, set up cell sites. There is so much more 
profitability that we can have by having Amtrak as a partner.
  I just want to touch on a couple of final issues.
  One of the challenges that freight rails have is the red tape they 
have to go through on the environmental process and on the historical 
review process. In this reform bill, we are not saying that you don't 
have to go through that process; we are just saying that we are going 
to streamline it so you can go through it quickly. There ought to be 
timelines. You ought to be able to meet timelines so you can plan your 
infrastructure and you can plan those jobs so you can actually move 
America forward and move our rail forward at the same time.
  This also empowers States. We have taken this reform bill to the next 
level. We reformed the State routes last PRIIA bill. We are doing it 
again this time to empower States to have more control over their 
routes. If a train is going to come through their district or their 
State, they ought to have some input on not only whether or not it is 
going to stop, but also increasing ridership in that process. They 
ought to have some skin in the game, and this allows them to do that.
  One area that I want to mention that I think has created more 
bipartisanship than anything else in this bill, and somebody else that 
should receive some recognition is actually my dog, Lilly, who will now 
be able to ride on the train.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. SHUSTER. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.
  Mr. DENHAM. If you are on the Northeast corridor and you have never 
ridden the rail before because you have a pet that you either have to 
leave at home or a pet that you are going to drive because of, you will 
now have the opportunity to ride on Amtrak--not only in the Northeast 
corridor, but all across the country. This is something that we have 
had pet owners reach out to us on from every different State asking 
that they actually be able to do this.
  I can take my dog back and forth to California on the airplane. I pay 
an additional fee to do that, but it is something that provides me the 
ability to be able to travel with my pet. Why wouldn't we do that same 
thing on Amtrak?
  If Amtrak is looking for more riders, if they are looking for greater 
revenue, why wouldn't they be able to compete in this one more area 
with our airlines? I mean, this is a commonsense opportunity for those 
who want to take rail to actually be able to travel with their pet. I 
would like to say that it has been something that has not only helped 
us build a path, but brought on greater bipartisanship.
  This bill has taken a lot of work. I appreciate the chairman's work 
and the ranking member's work on this. It has been a great bipartisan 
effort. I am looking forward to its passage today.
  Mr. CAPUANO. I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from the District 
of Columbia (Ms. Norton).
  Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, the Amtrak reauthorization before us today 
speaks volumes for the chairman and ranking member of our committee. It 
is the first Amtrak bill on the floor since 2008. It is a bipartisan 
bill. But, it also speaks volumes that Amtrak has performed so well 
without additional revenue.
  This bill leaves Amtrak at about level funding, just a tiny bit more. 
When we call Amtrak ``America's railroad,'' that is not a metaphor, Mr. 
Chairman. All of its stock is owned by the Department of 
Transportation. The reason for that is that the private sector in the 
1970s found running a railroad to be a money-losing proposition and 
asked the Federal Government to take over Amtrak.
  Amtrak, of course, is a fiction. It is structured as a private 
company. But like every railroad in the world, it is either subsidized 
by the government or the public cannot afford to ride. The bill has 
almost no new funding, but even without new funding, Amtrak has already 
scored great points.
  Amtrak has essentially overseen the revival of train travel in the 
United States of America, and it has done so in a way that the 
government can take almost no credit for. For example, ticket revenue 
was $1.5 billion in 2005; then we go 5 years later to 2010, it is $1.8 
billion; and today, it is $2.1 billion. Yet the average ticket has 
increased only $5 every 5 years over that period of time. Amtrak knows 
what the market is about, and it has grown based on volume, not 
revenue. The railroad has seen phenomenal growth in passengers, 
reaching records as high as its highest record in 1988, when the 
equipment was much newer.
  An important measure of efficiency is simply the number of seats 
filled. More Amtrak seats are filled today than at any time. Its on-
time performance is above 80 percent, and that is amazing when you 
consider that Amtrak does not own most of the tracks it runs over. They 
are owned by the freight companies. The first cause of delay, frequent 
freight traffic. The second cause of delay, reduced speed needed for 
maintenance.
  Amtrak has shown it knows how to run a railroad, and to run a 
railroad on time, but Amtrak needs to be able to run a 21st century 
railroad.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. CAPUANO. I yield the gentlewoman an additional 30 seconds.
  Ms. NORTON. Until the Federal Government owns up to investing more in 
the railroad that we own, Amtrak will be running a 20th century 
railroad--or is it a 19th century railroad, Mr. Chairman?
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I really appreciate Chairman Denham coming up and talking about some 
of the important reforms in this bill. I want to add to that.
  One of the key things we do in this bill is we are empowering the 
States. There are 19 States and 21 State-supported lines. I just look 
to Pennsylvania. I think they are a prime example of what happens when 
States work together with Amtrak.
  Again, this bill, for my colleagues, especially on my side of the 
aisle who I hope are listening to this debate, we are going to empower 
those States to have equal say with Amtrak when you are investing 
dollars in these various lines around the country. An example is the 
Keystone line in Pennsylvania from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.
  Several years ago, the State of Pennsylvania and Amtrak each invested 
$100 million into that line. They decreased the travel time by about 20 
minutes from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and Harrisburg to Philadelphia. 
They increased their reliability, and the ridership over the last 
several years has gone up almost 80 percent. This year, this first 
quarter, they are projecting they are going to make a profit on that 
line. That is exactly the kind of example that we in Congress need to 
look to.
  My friends on both sides of the aisle, we can have a better Amtrak if 
we do

[[Page H1584]]

things more businesslike. The reforms that are in this bill are 
significant.
  To name just a few of the lines that are State-supported:
  The Heartland Flyer in Texas. And Texas right now is investing 
private dollars into rail. These lines that are State sponsored, it is 
going to help them develop these lines. Environmental reviews, 
streamlining the review process, that is going to help Texas when those 
dollars are invested.
  If you look at to the Sacramento to San Francisco corridor, another 
State-sponsored line, when Amtrak and California get together, they can 
make improvements on that line to help the movement of people in that 
corridor.
  Going to Virginia and Washington--Lynchburg, Newport News, Norfolk, 
and Richmond, Virginia, the State of Virginia and Amtrak can come 
together and make those investments. That is one of the fastest growing 
corridors in America. I know the folks who represent Norfolk and 
southern Virginia and Washington, D.C., a growing area, passenger rail 
is essential.
  Another corridor is Raleigh, North Carolina, the technology corridor 
there in Raleigh connecting to the largest city in the Carolinas, 
Charlotte. Again, it is a State-sponsored line. It is going to give 
North Carolina the ability to work with Amtrak, to have power when they 
make those investments to upgrade those lines.
  Again, there are 21 corridors in 19 States. This is really important. 
Some of our fast-growing Southern States, look at this bill. This bill 
empowers the States. It has the reforms. I believe that all Members 
should be able to support this as real reform and improving Amtrak.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire how much time remains.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. McClintock). The gentleman from Massachusetts 
has 15 minutes remaining. The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 14 
minutes remaining.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Brown).
  Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Chairman, before I begin, let me thank 
Chairman Shuster and the ranking member for their leadership and hard 
work in bringing this bipartisan bill to the floor.
  I know that both sides had other provisions that they wanted included 
in the bill. I personally wanted to include much more funding for 
Amtrak, but in the tradition of our committee, we compromised and 
developed a bill that ensures that our Nation's passenger rail system 
has an opportunity to thrive.
  This legislation maintains long-distance routes, protects hardworking 
Amtrak employees, invests in the Northeast corridor, promotes minority 
opportunities in rail, improves access to the RRIF loan program, and 
takes another step forward in restoring passenger rail service to the 
Gulf States.
  As more and more Americans turn to rail as their preferred mode of 
transportation, Amtrak is building the infrastructure and organization 
to meet this demand. Amtrak carried a record number of 31.6 million 
passengers in 2013. Their ridership has been growing across the system 
for over a decade, with last year's ridership numbers being the largest 
in history. Currently, they serve more than 500 destinations in 46 
States and provide the only public transportation option for millions 
of rural Americans.
  Let me repeat that. Currently, they serve more than 500 destinations 
in 46 States, and provide the only public transportation options for 
millions of rural Americans.
  Amtrak has increased revenue, reduced debt, implemented new passenger 
service, improved their infrastructure, and purchased train sets that 
are being built in America with 100 percent American-made parts.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. CAPUANO. I yield an additional 1 minute to the gentlewoman.
  Ms. BROWN of Florida. Amtrak reduces congestion, improves our energy 
independence, and it plays a vital role in emergency preparedness and 
recovery, as it did in the 9/11 bombings and Hurricane Katrina.
  There is no perfect bill, but this is a perfect start, and I 
encourage all of my colleagues to support this legislation. Let's keep 
Amtrak moving forward.
  As I close, I just want to be clear: I support this bill. I ask all 
of my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on Amtrak and move it forward.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman 
from Nevada (Ms. Titus).
  Ms. TITUS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I appreciate the hard work that went into this important legislation 
to ensure passenger rail service remains a viable option for travelers 
across the country. In particular, as a pet lover, I am very happy to 
see the language based on Chairman Denham's Pets on Trains legislation, 
which I am cosponsor of. But I do have concerns that the bill we are 
going to pass today doesn't set us on a course for building out 
services to parts of the country that do not now have access to 
passenger rail.
  I represent Las Vegas, which welcomes more than 42 million people 
from around the world to our world-class resorts, casinos, restaurants, 
shopping, shows, et cetera. More and more of these visitors are coming 
from Asia and Europe, where rail services are accessible and efficient.

                              {time}  1315

  Unfortunately, the last Amtrak train to service Las Vegas departed 
from the station on Glitter Gulch behind the Union Plaza in May of 
1977.
  Over the past 18 years, Las Vegas has continued its transformation 
into the premier international tourist destination. Since the trains 
stopped running, nearly a million more residents now call southern 
Nevada home and 10 million more people come to Las Vegas for work and 
play every year. This growth has put an enormous strain on our highways 
and airports.
  While I will be supporting this legislation, I do hope, as the body 
advances further policies regarding passenger rail, we recognize the 
need to build out rail services to communities like Las Vegas, not just 
maintain the current system.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I understand the gentleman doesn't have 
any additional speakers, so I am prepared to close if he is ready to 
close.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I echo everything that has been said. This 
bill is pretty good, and it deserves our support. I am looking forward 
to voting ``yes'' on this bill, and I am looking forward to getting it 
passed through the Senate.
  I actually say, considering what is going on in Congress here now, 
this bill is my idea of a perfect situation. We didn't get everything 
we wanted; they didn't get everything some of their Members wanted, yet 
we are moving forward.
  I congratulate the chairman and my ranking member, Mr. DeFazio, for 
being, in my opinion, the perfect type of Member of Congress: someone 
who knows what they want but also knows how to compromise to move a 
bill forward.
  I am honored to be here today. I am honored to be working with such 
fine people.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. How much time do I have remaining?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 14 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. SHUSTER. I don't think I will use it all. I am sure any of my 
colleagues watching on TV are hoping I don't use it all also.
  I want to close by just emphasizing again that this is truly a reform 
bill that was crafted in a bipartisan basis. There is significant 
reforms in here. It is going to make Amtrak more transparent. They are 
going to force these metrics to measure like businesses do. They 
haven't done that for the 40 years or so they have been in existence.
  We have significant environmental streamlining, which not only 
benefits Amtrak projects, but it is going to benefit the freight rails, 
as they spend 18 percent of their revenues--almost $30 billion--that 
they will invest across the class I railroads to go into their 
infrastructure, which is incredibly important to movement of freight in 
this country and having an efficient economy.
  The bill also breaks out Amtrak into business lines, leaving the 
profits on the Northeast corridor--and the other profits on other 
corridors--but that is the biggest corridor, that is the one

[[Page H1585]]

that makes money, leaving it there to invest in that corridor.
  By the way, as they reinvest those dollars, we can learn from what is 
happening on the Northeast corridor because there are corridors around 
this country that need to be developed because of the growing 
population. That is why we empower the States on those 21 State-
sponsored lines.
  On those 21 lines, States are going to have more power, more say--
equal say, I will say--with Amtrak. As Texas develops their corridors 
down there, they are going to work with Amtrak--the North Carolina 
lines; the Virginia lines that run to Washington, D.C., and other 
places in Virginia; and California. Those State-sponsored lines are 
going to have the ability to make those investments with Amtrak to 
improve those lines.
  I just want to talk again about the Keystone line because I think 
that is really a prime example of what can happen on a corridor when 
the State and Amtrak work together. Ridership is up almost 80 percent 
over the past several years. They are going to be projecting a profit 
in the first quarter this year, which is the first time in history.
  When you do those kind of reforms, when you have transparency, when 
you give States power, when you streamline the environmental review 
process, those are the kind of good things that can happen.
  Again, this is not perfect. Amtrak is not perfect, but we are moving 
the ball in the right direction. We are moving the ball so that we can 
see a better Amtrak and improved passenger rail.
  I truly believe that you need passenger rail in this country, 
especially in some of these corridors--10, 11 corridors around this 
Nation where populations are growing. The population of the United 
States is growing, and we see the prime example of the Northeast 
corridor, 18 percent of the population on 3 percent of the land mass. 
They have to have passenger rail.
  There are about 11 million riders, almost 12 million riders on 
Amtrak, but there are 250 million people that connect to Amtrak through 
the transit systems in the Northeast corridor. It is an incredible link 
that needs to be maintained, needs to be improved; and this bill, I 
believe, does that.
  I would encourage all my Members to come to the floor today and vote 
in favor of this truly reform bill that will make Amtrak better and 
drive down what the Federal Government puts into that system. I think 
this bill does that. Again, I encourage the support of H.R. 749.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Chair, nearly two centuries ago we began 
to utilize rail for moving freight and people around our great nation. 
This technological leap helped to greatly expand our economy and bring 
together our vast continental nation.
  Today, passenger rail still plays a key role in connecting population 
centers and moving people to their places of work. It is vital that we 
continue to find new ways to improve and modernize our infrastructure 
to meet the demands of the modern world.
  As a member of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous 
Materials of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee I am 
proud to support this important legislation because it will help to 
accomplish this important goal.
  The Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act will assist in advancing 
large infrastructure projects through new partnerships with the private 
sector and states including giving states a greater role in managing 
routes.
  It will more quickly advance those projects through streamlining the 
environmental processes, and it increases transparency for Amtrak which 
will require it to operate in a more businesslike manner
  I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this important 
legislation to give our nation a stronger and more vital passenger rail 
system.
  Mr. SIRES. Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of the Passenger Rail 
Reform and Investment Act. This is good, bipartisan legislation that 
will strengthen our nation's passenger rail system and create American 
jobs. My district in New Jersey sits along the Northeast Corridor, the 
busiest corridor in the Nation. In 2014, the Northeast Corridor saw a 
ridership of 11.6 million; its highest ridership year on record.
  As ridership continues to grow, the necessity to invest in rail 
infrastructure becomes more vital. I am pleased that this bill will 
provide 1.9 billion dollars for capital improvements along the 
Northeast Corridor. This money will assist states with the opportunity 
to grow their passenger rail services, which in turn will help provide 
more affordable transportation options.
  I am a strong supporter of the Buy America provisions that will 
ensure that American rail is built with American iron and steel. In 
addition to providing the capital and resources needed to bring the 
American rail system into the 21st Century, this legislation will help 
meet the growing demand for more cost-efficient and environmentally 
friendly means of transportation. I urge my colleagues to support this 
bill.
  The Acting CHAIR. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment 
under the 5-minute rule.
  It shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose 
of amendment under the 5-minute rule an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute consisting of the text of Rules Committee Print 114-9. That 
amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read.
  The text of the amendment in the nature of a substitute is as 
follows:

                                H.R. 749

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Passenger 
     Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:
       Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

                TITLE I--AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS

       Sec. 101. Authorization for Amtrak.
       Sec. 102. Authorization for Amtrak Office of the Inspector 
           General.
       Sec. 103. National infrastructure investments.
       Sec. 104. Northeast Corridor.

                        TITLE II--AMTRAK REFORM

       Sec. 201. Amtrak planning and grant process.
       Sec. 202. 5-Year capital and operating plan.
       Sec. 203. State-supported routes.
       Sec. 204. Route and service planning decisions.
       Sec. 205. Competition.
       Sec. 206. Food and beverage reform.
       Sec. 207. Right of way leveraging.
       Sec. 208. Station development.
       Sec. 209. Amtrak debt.
       Sec. 210. Amtrak pilot program for passengers transporting 
           domesticated cats and dogs.
       Sec. 211. Amtrak boarding procedures.

               TITLE III--INTERCITY PASSENGER RAIL POLICY

       Sec. 301. Federal-State partnership for Northeast Corridor 
           development and improvement.
       Sec. 302. RRIF improvements.
       Sec. 303. NEC fast forward.
       Sec. 304. Large capital project requirements.
       Sec. 305. Small business participation study.
       Sec. 306. Gulf Coast rail service working group.
       Sec. 307. Miscellaneous.

                       TITLE IV--PROJECT DELIVERY

       Sec. 401. Project delivery rulemaking.
       Sec. 402. Historic preservation of railroads.

                         TITLE V--MISCELLANEOUS

       Sec. 501. Definition.
       Sec. 502. Title 49 definitions.

                TITLE I--AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS

     SEC. 101. AUTHORIZATION FOR AMTRAK.

       (a) Northeast Corridor Improvement Fund.--There are 
     authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for the use of 
     Amtrak for deposit into the Northeast Corridor Improvement 
     Fund account established under section 24319(a)(1) of title 
     49, United States Code (as added by section 201 of this Act), 
     the following amounts:
       (1) For fiscal year 2016, $439,000,000.
       (2) For fiscal year 2017, $464,000,000.
       (3) For fiscal year 2018, $480,000,000.
       (4) For fiscal year 2019, $498,000,000.
       (b) National Network.--There are authorized to be 
     appropriated to the Secretary for the use of Amtrak for 
     deposit into the National Network account established under 
     section 24319(a)(2) of title 49, United States Code (as added 
     by section 201 of this Act), the following amounts:
       (1) For fiscal year 2016, $973,000,000.
       (2) For fiscal year 2017, $974,000,000.
       (3) For fiscal year 2018, $985,000,000.
       (4) For fiscal year 2019, $997,000,000.
       (c) Project Management Oversight.--The Secretary may 
     withhold up to $2,000,000 of the amount appropriated pursuant 
     to subsection (a), and up to $2,000,000 of the amount 
     appropriated pursuant to subsection (b), for the costs of 
     management oversight of Amtrak.

     SEC. 102. AUTHORIZATION FOR AMTRAK OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR 
                   GENERAL.

       There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary 
     for the Office of the Inspector General of Amtrak the 
     following amounts:
       (1) For fiscal year 2016, $23,000,000.
       (2) For fiscal year 2017, $24,000,000.
       (3) For fiscal year 2018, $24,000,000.
       (4) For fiscal year 2019, $25,000,000.

     SEC. 103. NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS.

       (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to 
     the Secretary for capital grants

[[Page H1586]]

     under chapter 244 of title 49, United States Code, and 
     section 20154 of title 49, United States Code, the following 
     amounts:
       (1) For fiscal year 2016, $300,000,000.
       (2) For fiscal year 2017, $300,000,000.
       (3) For fiscal year 2018, $300,000,000.
       (4) For fiscal year 2019, $300,000,000.
       (b) Federal-State Partnership for Northeast Corridor 
     Development and Improvement.--Of the amounts authorized to be 
     appropriated under subsection (a), 50 percent for each fiscal 
     year shall be available for carrying out section 24407 of 
     title 49, United States Code, as added by section 301 of this 
     Act.
       (c) Project Management Oversight.--The Secretary may 
     withhold up to \1/2\ of 1 percent of amounts appropriated 
     pursuant to chapter 244 of title 49, United States Code, for 
     the costs of project management oversight of capital projects 
     carried out pursuant to such chapter.

     SEC. 104. NORTHEAST CORRIDOR.

       For purposes of this title, the term ``Northeast Corridor'' 
     means the Northeast Corridor main line between Boston, 
     Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, and facilities 
     and services used to operate and maintain that line.

                        TITLE II--AMTRAK REFORM

     SEC. 201. AMTRAK PLANNING AND GRANT PROCESS.

       (a) Requirements and Procedures.--
       (1) Amendment.--Chapter 243 of title 49, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new 
     sections:

     ``Sec. 24317. Costs and revenues

       ``(a) In General.--Not later than 60 days after the date of 
     enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 
     2015, Amtrak shall establish and maintain internal controls 
     to ensure Amtrak's costs and revenues are allocated to either 
     the Northeast Corridor or the National Network, including 
     proportional shares of common and fixed costs.
       ``(b) Definition.--For purposes of this chapter, the term 
     `Northeast Corridor' means the Northeast Corridor main line 
     between Boston, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, 
     and facilities and services used to operate and maintain that 
     line.

     ``Sec. 24318. Grant process

       ``(a) Procedures for Grant Requests.--Not later than 30 
     days after the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform 
     and Investment Act of 2015, the Secretary of Transportation 
     shall establish and transmit to the Committee on 
     Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on 
     Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the 
     Committee on Appropriations of the Senate substantive and 
     procedural requirements, including schedules, for grant 
     requests under this section.
       ``(b) Grant Requests.--Amtrak shall transmit grant requests 
     for Federal funds to be appropriated to the Secretary for the 
     use of Amtrak to--
       ``(1) the Secretary; and
       ``(2) the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
     and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of 
     Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation and the Committee on Appropriations of the 
     Senate.
       ``(c) Contents.--A grant request under subsection (b) 
     shall--
       ``(1) provide a detailed financial analysis for the 
     upcoming fiscal year for the Northeast Corridor, State-
     supported routes, and long-distance routes, including 
     projections for the items listed in 24320(c)(1), as 
     applicable, in comparison to prior fiscal year projections;
       ``(2) include a description of the work to be funded, along 
     with cost estimates and an estimated timetable for completion 
     of the projects covered by the request;
       ``(3) include an assessment of the continuing financial 
     stability of Amtrak;
       ``(4) be displayed on Amtrak's website within a reasonable 
     timeframe following its submission to the entities described 
     in subsection (b); and
       ``(5) be in similar format and substance to those submitted 
     by executive agencies of the Federal Government.
       ``(d) Review and Approval.--
       ``(1) 30-day approval process.--The Secretary shall 
     complete the review of a grant request and approve or 
     disapprove the request not later than 30 days after the date 
     on which Amtrak submits the grant request. If the Secretary 
     disapproves the request or determines that the request is 
     incomplete or deficient, the Secretary shall include the 
     reason for disapproval or the incomplete items or 
     deficiencies in a notice to Amtrak.
       ``(2) 15-day modification period.--Not later than 15 days 
     after receiving notification from the Secretary under 
     paragraph (1), Amtrak shall submit a modified request for the 
     Secretary's review.
       ``(3) Revised requests.--Not later than 15 days after 
     receiving a modified request from Amtrak, the Secretary shall 
     either approve the modified request, or, if the Secretary 
     finds that the request is still incomplete or deficient, the 
     Secretary shall identify in writing to the Committee on 
     Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on 
     Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the 
     Committee on Appropriations of the Senate the remaining 
     deficiencies and recommend a process for resolving the 
     outstanding portions of the request.
       ``(e) Payment to Amtrak.--
       ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), in 
     each fiscal year for which amounts are authorized to be 
     appropriated, amounts appropriated shall be paid to Amtrak as 
     follows:
       ``(A) 50 percent on October 1.
       ``(B) 25 percent on January 1.
       ``(C) 25 percent on April 1.
       ``(2) Exception.--The Secretary may make a payment to 
     Amtrak of appropriated funds more frequently than once every 
     90 days if Amtrak, for good cause, requests more frequent 
     payment before a 90-day period ends.
       ``(f) Availability of Amounts and Early Appropriations.--
     Amounts appropriated to the Secretary for the use of Amtrak 
     shall remain available until expended. Amounts for capital 
     acquisitions and improvements may be appropriated for a 
     fiscal year before the fiscal year in which the amounts will 
     be obligated.
       ``(g) Limitations on Use.--Amounts appropriated to the 
     Secretary for the use of Amtrak may not be used to subsidize 
     operating losses of commuter rail passenger or rail freight 
     transportation.

     ``Sec. 24319. Accounts

       ``(a) Establishment of Accounts.--Amtrak shall establish--
       ``(1) a Northeast Corridor Improvement Fund account; and
       ``(2) a National Network account.
       ``(b) Northeast Corridor Improvement Fund Account.--
       ``(1) Deposits.--Amtrak shall deposit in the Northeast 
     Corridor Improvement Fund account established under 
     subsection (a)(1)--
       ``(A) grant funds appropriated for the Northeast Corridor 
     Improvement Fund pursuant to section 101(a) of the Passenger 
     Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 or any subsequent Act;
       ``(B) compensation received from commuter rail passenger 
     transportation on the Northeast Corridor provided to Amtrak 
     pursuant to section 24905(c); and
       ``(C) any operating surplus of the Northeast Corridor, as 
     allocated pursuant to section 24317.
       ``(2) Use of northeast corridor improvement fund account.--
     Except as provided in subsection (d), amounts deposited in 
     the Northeast Corridor Improvement Fund account shall be made 
     available for the use of Amtrak for--
       ``(A) capital projects described in section 24401(2) (A) or 
     (B) to bring the Northeast Corridor to a state-of-good-
     repair, including projects described in section 
     24911(a)(2)(E)(i)(I);
       ``(B) capital projects intended to increase corridor 
     capacity, improve service reliability, and reduce travel time 
     for rail users on the Northeast Corridor, including projects 
     described in subclauses (II) and (III) of section 
     24911(a)(2)(E)(i), consistent with the planning process 
     established under section 24911; and
       ``(C) retirement of principal and payment of interest on 
     loans for capital equipment, or capital leases, attributable 
     to the Northeast Corridor.
       ``(c) National Network Account.--
       ``(1) Deposits.--Amtrak shall deposit in the account 
     established under subsection (a)(2)--
       ``(A) grant funds appropriated for the National Network 
     pursuant to section 101(b) of the Passenger Rail Reform and 
     Investment Act of 2015, or any subsequent Act;
       ``(B) compensation received from States provided to Amtrak 
     pursuant to section 209 of the Passenger Rail Investment and 
     Improvement Act of 2008 (42 U.S.C. 24101 note); and
       ``(C) any operating surplus from the National Network, as 
     allocated pursuant to section 24317.
       ``(2) Use of national network account.--Except as provided 
     in subsection (d), amounts deposited in the National Network 
     account shall be made available for the use of Amtrak for 
     capital expenses and operating costs of the National Network 
     and retirement of principal and payment of interest on loans 
     for capital equipment, or capital leases, attributable to the 
     National Network.
       ``(d) Transfer Authority.--
       ``(1) Authority.--Amtrak may transfer any funds 
     appropriated pursuant to the Passenger Rail Reform and 
     Investment Act of 2015 or any other Act, or any surplus 
     generated by operations, between the Northeast Corridor 
     Improvement Fund and National Network accounts upon the 
     expiration of 60 days after Amtrak has notified the Amtrak 
     Board of Directors of such transfer.
       ``(2) Report.--Not later than 30 days after the Amtrak 
     Board of Directors receives notification from Amtrak under 
     paragraph (1), the Board shall transmit a report to the 
     Secretary, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
     and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of 
     Representatives, and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation and the Committee on Appropriations of the 
     Senate, that includes--
       ``(A) the amount of the transfer; and
       ``(B) a detailed explanation of the reason for the 
     transfer, including effects on Amtrak services if no transfer 
     were made.
       ``(e) Letters of Intent.--
       ``(1) Requirement.--The Secretary shall issue a letter of 
     intent to Amtrak announcing an intention to obligate, for a 
     major capital project described in subclauses (II) and (III) 
     of section 24911(a)(2)(E)(i), an amount from future available 
     budget authority specified in law that is not more than the 
     amount stipulated as the financial participation of the 
     Secretary in the project.
       ``(2) Notice to congress.--At least 30 days before issuing 
     a letter under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall notify in 
     writing the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
     and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of 
     Representatives, and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation and the Committee on Appropriations of the 
     Senate, of the proposed letter. The Secretary shall include 
     with the notification a copy of the proposed letter, the 
     criteria used for selecting the project for a grant award, 
     and a description of how the project meets criteria of this 
     section.
       ``(3) Contingent nature of obligation or commitment.--An 
     obligation or administrative commitment may be made only when 
     amounts are appropriated. The letter of intent shall state

[[Page H1587]]

     that the contingent commitment is not an obligation of the 
     Federal Government, and is subject to the availability of 
     appropriations under Federal law and to Federal laws in force 
     or enacted after the date of the contingent commitment.
       ``(f) Rolling Stock Purchases.--Prior to entering into 
     contracts in excess of $100,000,000 for rolling stock 
     procurements, Amtrak shall submit a business case analysis to 
     the Secretary, the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure and the Committee on Appropriations of the 
     House of Representatives, and the Committee on Commerce, 
     Science, and Transportation and the Committee on 
     Appropriations of the Senate, on the utility of such 
     purchase. This analysis shall--
       ``(1) include a cost and benefit comparison that describes 
     the total lifecycle costs and the anticipated benefits 
     related to revenue, operational efficiency, reliability, and 
     other factors;
       ``(2) set forth the total payments by fiscal year;
       ``(3) identify the specific source and amounts of funding 
     for each payment, including Federal funds, State funds, 
     Amtrak profits, Federal, State, or private loans or loan 
     guarantees, and other funding;
       ``(4) include whether any payment under the contract will 
     increase Amtrak's grant request, as required under section 
     24318, in that particular fiscal year; and
       ``(5) describe how Amtrak will adjust the procurement if 
     future funding is not available.''.
       (2) Table of sections amendment.--The table of sections for 
     chapter 243 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by 
     adding at the end the following new items:

       ``24317. Costs and revenues.
       ``24318. Grant process.
       ``24319. Accounts.''.
       (b) Northeast Corridor Planning.--
       (1) Amendment.--Chapter 249 of title 49, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new 
     section:

     ``Sec. 24911. Northeast Corridor planning

       ``(a) Northeast Corridor Capital Investment Plan.--
       ``(1) Requirement.--Not later than 12 months after the date 
     of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act 
     of 2015, and annually thereafter, the Northeast Corridor 
     Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission established 
     under section 24905 (referred to in this section as the 
     `Commission') shall develop a capital investment plan for the 
     Northeast Corridor main line between Boston, Massachusetts, 
     and the District of Columbia, and the Northeast Corridor 
     branch lines connecting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 
     Springfield, Massachusetts, and Spuyten Duyvil, New York, and 
     facilities and services used to operate and maintain those 
     lines.
       ``(2) Contents.--Each such plan shall--
       ``(A) be developed to establish a coordinated approach to 
     capital spending on the Northeast Corridor;
       ``(B) cover a period of 5 fiscal years, beginning with the 
     first fiscal year after the date of the plan;
       ``(C) notwithstanding section 24902(b), prioritize projects 
     and investments along the Northeast Corridor based on--
       ``(i) the anticipated benefits and costs of projects;
       ``(ii) the anticipated Federal and non-Federal funding 
     available; and
       ``(iii) the information contained in the Northeast Corridor 
     asset management plans required under subsection (b), once 
     available;
       ``(D) ensure coordination and optimization across the 
     entire Northeast Corridor and among the various owners and 
     users;
       ``(E) include a financial plan for the investment period 
     that--
       ``(i) categorizes each capital project as being primarily 
     associated with--

       ``(I) normalized capital replacement;
       ``(II) replacement, rehabilitation, or repair of Northeast 
     Corridor infrastructure assets, including tunnels, bridges, 
     stations, and other assets; or
       ``(III) improvement of train performance on the Northeast 
     Corridor, including reduced trip times, increased train 
     frequencies, higher operating speeds, and other improvements;

       ``(ii) identifies the anticipated funding source and 
     financing method for each capital project described in 
     subclauses (II) and (III) of clause (i);
       ``(iii) describes the anticipated outcomes of each project, 
     including--

       ``(I) an assessment of the potential effect on passenger 
     accessibility, operations, safety, reliability, and 
     resiliency, and on the ability of infrastructure owners and 
     operators to meet regulatory requirements should the project 
     not be funded; and
       ``(II) an assessment of the benefits and costs;

       ``(iv) identifies the extent to which the capital assets 
     are or will be jointly used by intercity passenger rail 
     service and other users, and the proportionate share of that 
     joint usage; and
       ``(v) for projects that are expected to be fully or 
     partially funded through Federal financial assistance, 
     identifies the most appropriate public agency or entity to 
     receive those funds and implement each capital project.
       ``(3) Additional contents.--Any plan developed under 
     paragraph (1) after the publication by the Secretary of 
     Transportation of the Northeast Corridor service development 
     plan shall also--
       ``(A) be developed to identify, prioritize, and phase the 
     implementation of projects necessary to achieve the goals and 
     findings contained in such Northeast Corridor service 
     development plan;
       ``(B) allow for flexibility to change prioritization and 
     programs based upon the availability of Federal and non-
     Federal funding;
       ``(C) inform the Secretary in developing recommendations 
     for Congress on Federal funding needs for the Northeast 
     Corridor and any corresponding Federal investments in the 
     respective capital programs for Northeast Corridor 
     infrastructure owners and users; and
       ``(D) capture the network-level anticipated outcomes 
     associated with plan implementation, including the 
     anticipated effect on passenger accessibility, operations, 
     safety, reliability, and resiliency.
       ``(b) Northeast Corridor Asset Management Plans.--
       ``(1) Contents.--Amtrak, and States and public 
     transportation entities that own infrastructure that supports 
     or provides for intercity rail passenger transportation on 
     the Northeast Corridor, shall develop and update as necessary 
     Northeast Corridor asset management plans for the Northeast 
     Corridor main line between Boston, Massachusetts, and the 
     District of Columbia, and the Northeast Corridor branch lines 
     connecting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Springfield, 
     Massachusetts, and Spuyten Duyvil, New York, and facilities 
     and services used to operate and maintain those lines, that--
       ``(A) are consistent with the Federal Transit 
     Administration process, as authorized under section 5326, 
     when implemented; and
       ``(B) include, at a minimum--
       ``(i) an inventory of all capital assets owned by the 
     developer of the plan;
       ``(ii) an assessment of the condition of each of those 
     assets;
       ``(iii) a description of how the condition of each asset 
     has changed since the previous iteration of the plan; and
       ``(iv) a description of the necessary resources and 
     processes for bringing or maintaining those assets in a 
     state-of-good repair, including decision support tools and 
     investment prioritization methodologies.
       ``(2) Transmittal to commission.--Not later than 12 months 
     after the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and 
     Investment Act of 2015, each entity described in paragraph 
     (1) shall transmit to the Commission a plan developed under 
     paragraph (1). Any updates to such plan shall also be 
     transmitted to the Commission.
       ``(c) Northeast Corridor Service Development Plan 
     Updates.--The Commission shall, at least once every 10 years, 
     update the Northeast Corridor service development plan.''.
       (2) Table of sections amendment.--The table of sections for 
     chapter 249 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by 
     adding at the end the following new item:

       ``24911. Northeast Corridor planning.''.
       (c) Repeals.--The following provisions are repealed:
       (1) Sections 206 and 211 of the Passenger Rail Investment 
     and Improvement Act of 2008, and the items relating thereto 
     in the table of contents of such Act.
       (2) Section 24104 of title 49, United States Code, and the 
     item relating thereto in the table of sections for chapter 
     241 of such title.

     SEC. 202. 5-YEAR CAPITAL AND OPERATING PLAN.

       (a) Amendment.--Chapter 243 of title 49, United States 
     Code, is further amended by adding at the end the following 
     new section:

     ``Sec. 24320. 5-Year capital and operating plan

       ``(a) Plan.--Not later than 60 days after the date of 
     enactment of an Act appropriating funds pursuant to section 
     101 of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, 
     or any subsequent authorization of appropriations for the 
     same purposes, the Amtrak Board of Directors shall prepare 
     and transmit to the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure and the Committee on Appropriations of the 
     House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
     Science, and Transportation and the Committee on 
     Appropriations of the Senate a 5-year capital and operating 
     plan for the Northeast Corridor and National Network.
       ``(b) Consultation.--Each such plan shall be prepared in 
     consultation with--
       ``(1) the Federal Railroad Administration;
       ``(2) the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations 
     Advisory Commission, with respect to the Northeast Corridor; 
     and
       ``(3) the requisite States, with respect to the National 
     Network.
       ``(c) Contents.--A plan prepared under this section shall--
       ``(1) for each of the Northeast Corridor and the National 
     Network, include--
       ``(A) projected revenues and expenditures for the Northeast 
     Corridor, State-supported routes, long-distance routes, and 
     corporate development, including Federal and non-Federal 
     funding sources;
       ``(B) projected ridership levels for the Northeast 
     Corridor, State-supported routes, and long-distance routes;
       ``(C) projected capital and operational funding 
     requirements necessary to maintain passenger service in order 
     to accommodate predicted ridership levels and predicted 
     sources of Federal and non-Federal funding;
       ``(D) projected capital and operating requirements, 
     ridership, revenue, and expenditures for new passenger 
     service operations or service expansions;
       ``(E) an assessment of the continuing financial stability 
     of Amtrak, as indicated by factors including anticipated 
     Federal funding of capital and operating costs, Amtrak's 
     ability to efficiently recruit, retain, and manage its 
     workforce, and Amtrak's ability to effectively provide 
     passenger rail service;
       ``(F) estimates of long-term and short-term debt and 
     associated principal and interest payments (both current and 
     anticipated);
       ``(G) annual cash flow forecasts;
       ``(H) a statement describing methods of estimation and 
     significant assumptions;
       ``(I) specific measures that demonstrate measurable 
     improvement year over year in the financial results of 
     Amtrak's operations;

[[Page H1588]]

       ``(J) prior fiscal year and projected--
       ``(i) operating ratio, cash operating loss, and cash 
     operating loss per passenger on a route, business line, and 
     corporate basis;
       ``(ii) specific costs and savings estimates resulting from 
     reform initiatives;
       ``(iii) productivity statistics on a route, business line, 
     and corporate basis; and
       ``(iv) equipment reliability statistics;
       ``(K) capital and operating expenditures for anticipated 
     security needs; and
       ``(L) a prioritization of capital expenditures by business 
     line; and
       ``(2) reflect the Northeast Corridor planning, as 
     applicable, and grant processes established under sections 
     24911 and 24318.
       ``(d) Conformance to Authorized Funding Levels.--
       ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), any 
     financial projection for a fiscal year that is included in a 
     plan prepared under this section shall be based on the amount 
     of dedicated funding for such fiscal year.
       ``(2) Absence of appropriation.--In the absence of an 
     appropriation of funds for such fiscal year, the projection 
     shall be based on the amount of funds authorized by law to be 
     appropriated for that fiscal year, plus other dedicated 
     funding.
       ``(3) Dedicated funding defined.--In this subsection, the 
     term `dedicated funding' means any amounts appropriated for a 
     fiscal year and any other funding sources, including revenues 
     and other ancillary funding streams, for the Northeast 
     Corridor or the National Network.
       ``(e) Standards To Promote Financial Stability.--In 
     preparing a plan under this section, the Board shall apply 
     sound budgetary practices, including reducing costs and other 
     expenditures, improving productivity, increasing revenues, or 
     combinations of such practices.
       ``(f) Updates.--Amtrak shall provide monthly reports for 
     the current fiscal year in electronic format to the Secretary 
     and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and 
     the Committee on Appropriations of the House of 
     Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation and the Committee on Appropriations of the 
     Senate regarding the items described in subsection (c)(1), 
     which shall include a description of the work completed to 
     date, any differences from projections, and the reasons for 
     such differences.''.
       (b) Table of Sections Amendment.--The table of sections for 
     such chapter 243 is amended by adding at the end the 
     following new item:

       ``24320. 5-Year capital and operating plan.''.
       (c) Repeal.--Section 204 of the Passenger Rail Investment 
     and Improvement Act of 2008 (49 U.S.C. 24101 note), and the 
     item relating thereto in the table of contents of such Act, 
     are repealed.

     SEC. 203. STATE-SUPPORTED ROUTES.

       (a) Amendment.--Chapter 247 of title 49, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new 
     section:

     ``Sec. 24712. State-supported routes

       ``(a) State-Supported Route Advisory Committee.--
       ``(1) Establishment.--Not later than 90 days after the date 
     of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act 
     of 2015, the Secretary of Transportation shall establish a 
     State-Supported Route Advisory Committee to promote mutual 
     cooperation and planning pertaining to the rail operations 
     and related activities of trains operated on State-supported 
     routes and to further implement section 209 of the Passenger 
     Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (49 U.S.C. 24101 
     note).
       ``(2) Membership.--The Committee shall consist of 
     representatives of--
       ``(A) Amtrak;
       ``(B) the Department of Transportation, including the 
     Federal Railroad Administration; and
       ``(C) 7 States that sponsor State-supported routes, 
     selected by the Administrator of the Federal Railroad 
     Administration on the basis of appropriate expertise and 
     geographic balance, and in a manner that ensures that all 
     appropriate States are represented periodically on the 
     Committee.
       ``(3) Distribution of membership.--The membership belonging 
     to any of the groups described in each individual 
     subparagraph of paragraph (2) shall not constitute a majority 
     of the Committee's memberships.
       ``(4) Meetings; rules and procedures.--The Committee shall 
     establish a schedule and location for convening meetings, but 
     shall meet no less than 2 times every fiscal year. The 
     Committee shall develop rules and procedures to govern the 
     Committee's proceedings.
       ``(b) Cost, Service, and Ridership Forecasts.--
       ``(1) In general.--Not later than January 31, 2016, and 
     annually thereafter, Amtrak shall transmit to each State that 
     sponsors a State-supported route, and to the Committee on 
     Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on 
     Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the 
     Committee on Appropriations of the Senate--
       ``(A) a final statement of costs, revenues, ridership, and 
     other information determined appropriate by the Committee 
     established under subsection (a), pertaining to each such 
     route for the prior fiscal year; and
       ``(B) a cost, service, and ridership forecast for each such 
     route for the upcoming fiscal year, developed pursuant to the 
     methodology established under section 209 of the Passenger 
     Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (49 U.S.C. 24101 
     note).
       ``(2) Exception.--The Committee may establish a different 
     deadline than is required under paragraph (1) for submission 
     of final financial statements and cost, service, and 
     ridership forecasts.
       ``(3) Quarterly updates.--Beginning in 2016, and each year 
     thereafter, Amtrak shall transmit to each State that sponsors 
     a State-supported route quarterly updates of the cost, 
     service, and ridership forecast described in paragraph (1)(B) 
     to enable States to pace costs against State budgets, plan 
     effectively, and address unexpected changes in costs in a 
     timely manner, on the following dates:
       ``(A) April 30, for the period encompassing January through 
     March of such year.
       ``(B) July 31, for the period encompassing April through 
     June of such year.
       ``(C) October 31, for the period encompassing July through 
     September of such year.
       ``(c) Invoices.--Not later than February 15, 2016, and 
     monthly thereafter, Amtrak shall provide to each State that 
     sponsors a State-supported route a monthly invoice of the 
     cost of operating such route, including fixed costs and 
     third-party costs.
       ``(d) Dispute Resolution.--
       ``(1) Request for expedited resolution.--If a dispute 
     arises with respect to a forecast developed under subsection 
     (b), an invoice developed under subsection (c), or the terms 
     of a contract for operation of a State-supported route 
     negotiated between Amtrak and a State that sponsors the 
     route, either Amtrak or the State may request that the 
     Surface Transportation Board conduct expedited dispute 
     resolution under this subsection.
       ``(2) Procedures.--The Surface Transportation Board shall 
     establish procedures for expedited resolution of disputes 
     brought before it under this subsection.
       ``(3) Binding effect.--The decision of the Surface 
     Transportation Board under this subsection shall be binding 
     on the parties to the dispute.
       ``(e) FRA Assistance.--The Federal Railroad Administration 
     may provide assistance to the parties in the course of 
     negotiations for a contract for operation of a State-
     supported route.
       ``(f) Performance Metrics.--In negotiating a contract for 
     operation of a State-supported route, Amtrak and the State or 
     States that sponsor the route shall consider including 
     provisions that provide penalties and incentives for 
     performance based on metrics that take into account only 
     those factors within the control of Amtrak or the State or 
     States.
       ``(g) Definition of State.--In this section, the term 
     `State' means each of the 50 States and the District of 
     Columbia.''.
       (b) Table of Sections Amendment.--The table of sections for 
     such chapter 247 is amended by adding at the end the 
     following new item:

       ``24712. State-supported routes.''.

     SEC. 204. ROUTE AND SERVICE PLANNING DECISIONS.

       Section 208 of the Passenger Rail Investment and 
     Improvement Act of 2008 (49 U.S.C. 24101 note) is amended to 
     read as follows:

     ``SEC. 208. METHODOLOGIES FOR AMTRAK ROUTE AND SERVICE 
                   PLANNING DECISIONS.

       ``(a) Methodology Development.--Not later than 180 days 
     after the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and 
     Investment Act of 2015, as a condition of receiving a grant 
     under section 101 of such Act, Amtrak shall obtain the 
     services of an independent entity to develop and recommend 
     objective methodologies for Amtrak to use in determining what 
     intercity rail passenger transportation routes and services 
     it should provide, including the establishment of new routes, 
     the elimination of existing routes, and the contraction or 
     expansion of services or frequencies over such routes.
       ``(b) Considerations.--Amtrak shall require the entity, in 
     developing the methodologies described in subsection (a), to 
     consider--
       ``(1) the current and expected performance and service 
     quality of intercity rail passenger transportation 
     operations, including cost recovery, on-time performance, 
     ridership, on-board services, stations, facilities, 
     equipment, and other services;
       ``(2) connectivity of a route with other routes;
       ``(3) the transportation needs of communities and 
     populations that are not well served by intercity rail 
     passenger transportation service or by other forms of 
     intercity transportation;
       ``(4) the methodologies of Amtrak and major intercity rail 
     passenger transportation service providers in other countries 
     for determining intercity passenger rail routes and services;
       ``(5) the views of States, rail carriers that own 
     infrastructure over which Amtrak operates, Amtrak employee 
     representatives, and other interested parties; and
       ``(6) the funding levels that will be available under 
     authorization levels that have been enacted into law.
       ``(c) Recommendations.--Not later than 1 year after the 
     date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment 
     Act of 2015, Amtrak shall transmit to the Committee on 
     Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
     Representatives, and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation of the Senate the recommendations developed by 
     the entity pursuant to subsection (a).
       ``(d) Consideration of Recommendations.--Not later than 90 
     days after transmitting the recommendations pursuant to 
     subsection (c), the Amtrak Board of Directors shall consider 
     the adoption of the recommendations and transmit to the 
     Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House 
     of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
     and Transportation of the Senate a report containing an 
     explanation of any reasons for adopting or not adopting the 
     recommendations.''.

     SEC. 205. COMPETITION.

       (a) Amendment.--Section 24711 of title 49, United States 
     Code, is amended to read as follows:

     ``Sec. 24711. Alternate passenger rail service pilot program

       ``(a) In General.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 
     2015, the Federal

[[Page H1589]]

     Railroad Administration shall complete a rulemaking 
     proceeding to develop a pilot program that--
       ``(1) permits a rail carrier or rail carriers that own 
     infrastructure over which Amtrak operates a passenger rail 
     service route described in subparagraph (B), (C), or (D) of 
     section 24102(7) or in section 24702(a) to petition the 
     Federal Railroad Administration to be considered as a 
     passenger rail service provider over that route in lieu of 
     Amtrak for an operations period of 5 years;
       ``(2) requires the Federal Railroad Administration to 
     notify Amtrak within 30 days after receiving a petition under 
     paragraph (1) and establish a deadline by which both the 
     petitioner and Amtrak would be required to submit a bid to 
     provide passenger rail service over the route to which the 
     petition relates;
       ``(3) requires that each bid describe how the bidder would 
     operate the route, what Amtrak passenger equipment would be 
     needed, if any, and what sources of non-Federal funding the 
     bidder would use, including any State subsidy, among other 
     things;
       ``(4) requires the Federal Railroad Administration to 
     execute a contract within a specified, limited time after the 
     deadline established under paragraph (2) and award to the 
     winning bidder--
       ``(A) the right and obligation to provide passenger rail 
     service over that route subject to such performance standards 
     as the Federal Railroad Administration may require; and
       ``(B) an operating subsidy--
       ``(i) for the first year at a level not in excess of 90 
     percent of the level in effect for that specific route during 
     the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year in which the 
     petition was received, adjusted for inflation; and
       ``(ii) for any subsequent years at the level calculated 
     under clause (i), adjusted for inflation; and
       ``(5) requires that each bid contain a staffing plan 
     describing the number of employees needed to operate the 
     service, the job assignments and requirements, and the terms 
     of work for prospective and current employees of the bidder 
     for the service outlined in the bid, and that such staffing 
     plan be made available by the winning bidder to the public 
     after the bid award.
       ``(b) Route Limitations.--The Federal Railroad 
     Administration may not make the program available with 
     respect to more than 2 Amtrak intercity passenger rail 
     routes.
       ``(c) Performance Standards; Access to Facilities; 
     Employees.--If the Federal Railroad Administration awards the 
     right and obligation to provide passenger rail service over a 
     route under this section to a rail carrier or rail carriers--
       ``(1) it shall execute a contract with the rail carrier or 
     rail carriers for rail passenger operations on that route 
     that conditions the operating and subsidy rights on--
       ``(A) the service provider continuing to provide passenger 
     rail service on the route that is no less frequent, nor over 
     a shorter distance, than Amtrak provided on that route before 
     the award; and
       ``(B) the service provider's compliance with the standards 
     established under subsection (a)(4)(A), and such additional 
     performance standards as the Administration may establish;
       ``(2) it shall, if the award is made to a rail carrier 
     other than Amtrak, require Amtrak to provide access to its 
     reservation system, stations, and facilities directly related 
     to operations to any rail carrier or rail carriers awarded a 
     contract under this section, in accordance with subsection 
     (d), necessary to carry out the purposes of this section;
       ``(3) an employee of any person used by such rail carrier 
     or rail carriers in the operation of a route under this 
     section shall be considered an employee of that carrier or 
     carriers and subject to the applicable Federal laws and 
     regulations governing similar crafts or classes of employees 
     of Amtrak, including provisions under section 121 of the 
     Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997 (49 U.S.C. 4312 
     note) relating to employees that provide food and beverage 
     service; and
       ``(4) the winning bidder shall provide hiring preference to 
     qualified Amtrak employees displaced by the award of the bid, 
     consistent with the staffing plan submitted by the bidder, 
     and shall be subject to the grant conditions under section 
     24405 of this title.
       ``(d) Disputes.--If Amtrak and the rail carrier or rail 
     carriers awarded a route under this section cannot agree upon 
     terms to carry out subsection (c)(2), and the Surface 
     Transportation Board finds that access to Amtrak's facilities 
     or equipment, or the provision of services by Amtrak, is 
     necessary to carry out subsection (c)(2) and that the 
     operation of Amtrak's other services will not be impaired 
     thereby, the Surface Transportation Board shall, within 120 
     days after submission of the dispute, issue an order that the 
     facilities and equipment be made available, and that services 
     be provided, by Amtrak, and shall determine reasonable 
     compensation, liability, and other terms for use of the 
     facilities and equipment and provision of the services.
       ``(e) Cessation of Service.--If a rail carrier or rail 
     carriers awarded a route under this section cease to operate 
     the service or fail to fulfill their obligations under the 
     contract required under subsection (c), the Federal Railroad 
     Administration, in collaboration with the Surface 
     Transportation Board, shall take any necessary action 
     consistent with this title to enforce the contract and ensure 
     the continued provision of service, including the installment 
     of an interim service provider and rebidding the contract to 
     operate the service. The entity providing service shall 
     either be Amtrak or a rail carrier defined in subsection 
     (a)(1).
       ``(f) Adequate Resources.--Before taking any action allowed 
     under this section, the Secretary shall certify that the 
     Federal Railroad Administration has sufficient resources 
     appropriated under section 101(b) of Passenger Rail Reform 
     and Investment Act of 2015, or any subsequent appropriation, 
     for that purpose that are adequate to undertake the program 
     established under this section.
       ``(g) Budget Authority.--The Secretary of Transportation 
     may provide to a winning bidder selected under this section 
     appropriations authorized under sections 101(b) of the 
     Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, or any 
     subsequent appropriation for the same purposes, necessary to 
     cover the operating subsidy described in subsection 
     (a)(4)(B).''.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the conclusion of 
     the pilot program established under the amendment made by 
     subsection (a), the Federal Railroad Administration shall 
     submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
     of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
     Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report 
     on the results on the pilot program established under section 
     24711 of title 49 United States Code, and any recommendations 
     for further action.

     SEC. 206. FOOD AND BEVERAGE REFORM.

       (a) Amendment.--Chapter 243 of title 49, United States 
     Code, is further amended by adding at the end the following 
     new section:

     ``Sec. 24321. Food and beverage reform

       ``(a) Plan.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
     enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 
     2015, Amtrak shall develop and begin implementing a plan to 
     eliminate, within 5 years of such date of enactment, the 
     operating loss associated with providing food and beverage 
     service on board Amtrak trains.
       ``(b) Considerations.--In developing and implementing the 
     plan, Amtrak shall consider a combination of cost management 
     and revenue generation initiatives, including--
       ``(1) scheduling optimization;
       ``(2) on-board logistics;
       ``(3) product development and supply chain efficiency;
       ``(4) training, awards, and accountability;
       ``(5) technology enhancements and process improvements; and
       ``(6) ticket revenue allocation.
       ``(c) Savings Clause.--Amtrak shall ensure that no Amtrak 
     employee holding a position as of the date of enactment of 
     the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 is 
     involuntarily separated because of--
       ``(1) the development and implementation of the plan 
     required under subsection (a); or
       ``(2) any other action taken by Amtrak to implement this 
     section.
       ``(d) No Federal Funding for Operating Losses.--Beginning 
     on the date that is 5 years after the date of enactment of 
     the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, no 
     Federal funds may be used to cover any operating loss 
     associated with providing food and beverage service on a 
     route operated by Amtrak or an alternative passenger rail 
     service provider that operates a route in lieu of Amtrak 
     pursuant to section 24711.
       ``(e) Report.--Not later than 120 days after the date of 
     enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 
     2015, and annually thereafter for 5 years, Amtrak shall 
     transmit to the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
     Senate a report containing the plan developed pursuant to 
     subsection (a) and a description of progress in the 
     implementation of the plan.''.
       (b) Conforming Amendment.--The table of sections for 
     chapter 243 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by 
     adding at the end the following new item:

       ``24321. Food and beverage reform.''.

     SEC. 207. RIGHT OF WAY LEVERAGING.

       (a) Request for Proposals.--Not later than 180 days after 
     the date of enactment of this Act, Amtrak shall issue a 
     Request for Proposals seeking private sector persons or 
     entities to utilize Amtrak-owned right-of-way for 
     telecommunications systems, energy distribution systems, and 
     other activities considered appropriate by Amtrak. The 
     Request for Proposals shall provide sufficient information on 
     Amtrak's right-of-way real estate assets to enable 
     respondents to propose an arrangement that will monetize such 
     assets through revenue sharing agreements with Amtrak.
       (b) Consideration of Proposals.--Not later than 1 year 
     after the date of enactment of this Act, the Amtrak Board of 
     Directors shall review and consider each proposal submitted 
     pursuant to subsection (a). Amtrak may enter into such 
     agreements as are necessary to implement any such proposal or 
     proposals.
       (c) Report to Congress.--Not later than 18 months after the 
     date of enactment of this Act, Amtrak shall transmit to the 
     Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House 
     of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
     and Transportation of the Senate a report on the Request for 
     Proposals required by this section, including summary 
     information of any proposals submitted to Amtrak and any 
     proposals accepted by the Amtrak Board of Directors.

     SEC. 208. STATION DEVELOPMENT.

       (a) Report on Development Options.--Not later than 1 year 
     after the date of enactment of this Act, Amtrak shall 
     transmit to the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
     Senate a report on options to enhance development around 
     Amtrak stations, including--
       (1) strengthening multimodal connections, including 
     intercity buses;
       (2) options for capturing development-related revenue 
     streams; and

[[Page H1590]]

       (3) other opportunities to better leverage station assets.
       (b) Proposals.--
       (1) Request for proposals.--Not later than 18 months after 
     the date of enactment of this Act, Amtrak shall issue a 
     Request for Proposals seeking persons or entities, where 
     appropriate, to carry out the options identified under 
     subsection (a).
       (2) Consideration of proposals.--Not later than 24 months 
     after the date of enactment of this Act, the Amtrak Board of 
     Directors shall review and consider each proposal submitted 
     pursuant to paragraph (1). Amtrak may enter into such 
     agreements as are necessary to implement any such proposal or 
     proposals.
       (c) Report to Congress.--Not later than 30 months after the 
     date of enactment of this Act, Amtrak shall transmit to the 
     Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House 
     of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
     and Transportation of the Senate a report on the Request for 
     Proposals required by this section, including summary 
     information of any proposals submitted to Amtrak and any 
     proposals accepted by the Amtrak Board of Directors.

     SEC. 209. AMTRAK DEBT.

       Section 205 of the Passenger Rail Investment and 
     Improvement Act of 2008 (49 U.S.C. 24101 note) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), by inserting ``, to the extent 
     provided in advance in appropriations Acts'' after ``Amtrak's 
     indebtedness'';
       (2) by striking ``as of the date of enactment of this Act'' 
     each place it appears;
       (3) in subsection (a), by striking the second sentence;
       (4) in subsection (b), by striking ``The Secretary of the 
     Treasury, in consultation'' and inserting ``To the extent 
     amounts are provided in advance in appropriations Acts, the 
     Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation'';
       (5) in subsection (d), by inserting ``, to the extent 
     provided in advance in appropriations Acts'' after ``as 
     appropriate'';
       (6) in subsection (e)(1), by striking ``by section 102 of 
     this division''; and
       (7) in subsection (e)(2), by striking ``by section 102'' 
     and inserting ``for Amtrak''.

     SEC. 210. AMTRAK PILOT PROGRAM FOR PASSENGERS TRANSPORTING 
                   DOMESTICATED CATS AND DOGS.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, Amtrak shall develop a pilot program 
     that allows passengers to transport domesticated cats or dogs 
     on certain trains operated by Amtrak.
       (b) Pet Policy.--In developing the pilot program required 
     under subsection (a), Amtrak shall--
       (1) in the case of a passenger train that is comprised of 
     more than 1 car, designate, where feasible, at least 1 car in 
     which a ticketed passenger may transport a domesticated cat 
     or dog in the same manner as carry-on baggage if--
       (A) the cat or dog is contained in a pet kennel;
       (B) the pet kennel is stowed in accordance with Amtrak size 
     requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage;
       (C) the passenger is traveling on a train operating on a 
     route described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (D) of section 
     24102(7) of title 49, United States Code; and
       (D) the passenger pays a fee described in paragraph (3);
       (2) allow a ticketed passenger to transport a domesticated 
     cat or dog on a train in the same manner as cargo if--
       (A) the cat or dog is contained in a pet kennel;
       (B) the pet kennel is stowed in accordance with Amtrak 
     requirements for cargo stowage;
       (C) the passenger is traveling on a train operating on a 
     route described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (D) of section 
     24102(7) of title 49, United States Code;
       (D) the cargo area is temperature controlled in a manner 
     protective of cat and dog safety and health; and
       (E) the passenger pays a fee described in paragraph (3); 
     and
       (3) collect fees for each cat or dog transported by a 
     ticketed passenger in an amount that, in the aggregate and at 
     a minimum, covers the full costs of the pilot program.
       (c) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the pilot program 
     required under subsection (a) is first implemented, Amtrak 
     shall transmit to the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
     Senate a report containing an evaluation of the pilot 
     program.
       (d) Limitation on Statutory Construction.--
       (1) Service animals.--The pilot program required under 
     subsection (a) shall be separate from and in addition to the 
     policy governing Amtrak passengers traveling with service 
     animals. Nothing in this section may be interpreted to limit 
     or waive the rights of passengers to transport service 
     animals.
       (2) Additional train cars.--Nothing in this section may be 
     interpreted to require Amtrak to add additional train cars or 
     modify existing train cars.
       (3) Federal funds.--No Federal funds may be used to 
     implement the pilot program required under this section.

     SEC. 211. AMTRAK BOARDING PROCEDURES.

       (a) Report.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Amtrak Office of Inspector General 
     shall transmit to the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
     Senate a report that--
       (1) evaluates Amtrak's boarding procedures at its 10 
     stations through which the most people pass;
       (2) compares Amtrak's boarding procedures to--
       (A) commuter railroad boarding procedures at stations 
     shared with Amtrak;
       (B) international intercity passenger rail boarding 
     procedures; and
       (C) fixed guideway transit boarding procedures; and
       (3) makes recommendations, as appropriate, to improve 
     Amtrak's boarding procedures, including recommendations 
     regarding the queuing of passengers and free-flow of all 
     station-users.
       (b) Consideration of Recommendations.--Not later than 6 
     months after the release of the report required under 
     subsection (a), the Amtrak Board of Directors shall consider 
     each recommendation provided under subsection (a)(3) for 
     implementation across the Amtrak system.

               TITLE III--INTERCITY PASSENGER RAIL POLICY

     SEC. 301. FEDERAL-STATE PARTNERSHIP FOR NORTHEAST CORRIDOR 
                   DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVEMENT.

       (a) Amendment.--Chapter 244 of title 49, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new 
     section:

     ``Sec. 24407. Federal-State partnership for Northeast 
       Corridor rehabilitation and improvement

       ``(a) In General.--The Secretary of Transportation shall 
     develop and implement a program for issuing grants to 
     applicants, on a competitive basis, for the purpose of 
     financing the capital projects included in the Northeast 
     Corridor Priority Project List developed under subsection 
     (c).
       ``(b) Definitions.--In this section, the following 
     definitions apply:
       ``(1) Applicant.--The term `applicant' means a State 
     (including the District of Columbia), a group of States, an 
     Interstate Compact, or a public agency established by one or 
     more States and having responsibility for providing intercity 
     passenger or commuter rail service.
       ``(2) Major state-of-good-repair project.--The term `major 
     state-of-good-repair project' means a capital project 
     primarily intended to replace, rehabilitate or repair major 
     Northeast Corridor infrastructure assets utilized for 
     providing intercity rail passenger transportation, including 
     tunnels, bridges, stations, and other assets as determined by 
     the Secretary.
       ``(3) Improvement project.--The term `improvement project' 
     means a capital project primarily intended to improve 
     intercity passenger rail performance on the Northeast 
     Corridor, including reduced trip times, increased train 
     frequencies, higher operating speeds, and other improvements 
     as determined by the Secretary.
       ``(c) Northeast Corridor Priority Project List.--The 
     Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory 
     Commission, established under section 24905, shall develop 
     and approve a Northeast Corridor Priority Project List that 
     shall include--
       ``(1) a list of prioritized individual major state-of-good-
     repair projects and improvement projects along the Northeast 
     Corridor that--
       ``(A) can be completed based on--
       ``(i) the funding authorized under section 103(b) of the 
     Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015;
       ``(ii) any subsequent applicable authorization in effect;
       ``(iii) in the absence of such an authorization, a 5-year 
     funding amount based on the most recent appropriation; or
       ``(iv) the requirements of subsection (d); and
       ``(B) are consistent with the Northeast Corridor capital 
     investment plan required under section 24911(a);
       ``(2) an identification of the applicant for each 
     individual project;
       ``(3) an identification of the sources of non-Federal 
     matching funds for each project; and
       ``(4) a description of the benefits each project will bring 
     to intercity rail passenger services.
       ``(d) Use of Funds.--The Federal grants authorized under 
     this section shall be for no more than 50 percent of the net 
     project cost of the project involved.
       ``(e) Applicability of Capital Grant Requirements.--Except 
     as specifically provided in this section, the use of any 
     amounts appropriated for grants under this section shall be 
     subject to the requirements of this chapter.
       ``(f) Match Requirements.--No grants may be obligated to an 
     applicant under this section unless the applicant has 
     transmitted to the Secretary of Transportation a binding 
     written commitment to provide all amounts necessary for the 
     purpose of matching Federal contributions as required by this 
     section.
       ``(g) Updates to List.--The Northeast Corridor 
     Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission shall 
     revise the NEC Priority Project List as necessary to 
     reflect--
       ``(1) any differences in the availability of Federal 
     funding from the levels assumed for purposes of subsection 
     (c)(1)(A) (i) and (ii);
       ``(2) any elimination or addition of projects; and
       ``(3) any reduction or increase in benefits to be derived 
     from a project.
       ``(h) Availability.--Amounts appropriated for carrying out 
     this section shall remain available until expended.
       ``(i) Savings Clause.--Nothing in this section shall 
     supplant the requirement of applicants to compensate Amtrak 
     for the use of Amtrak facilities or services pursuant to 
     section 24905(c).
       ``(j) Definition.--For purposes of this section, the term 
     `Northeast Corridor' means the Northeast Corridor main line 
     between Boston, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, 
     and the Northeast Corridor branch lines connecting to 
     Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Springfield, Massachusetts, and 
     Spuyten Duyvil, New York, and facilities and services used to 
     operate and maintain those lines.''.
       (b) Conforming Amendment.--The table of sections for 
     chapter 244 of title 49, United States

[[Page H1591]]

     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

       ``24407. Federal-State partnership for Northeast Corridor 
           rehabilitation and improvement.''.

     SEC. 302. RRIF IMPROVEMENTS.

       (a) Regulations.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall 
     issue regulations implementing the amendments made by this 
     section.
       (b) Collateral.--Section 502(h)(2) of the Railroad 
     Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (45 U.S.C. 
     822(h)(2)) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``(2) The Secretary'' and inserting 
     ``(2)(A) The Secretary'';
       (2) by inserting ``The Secretary may subordinate rights of 
     the Secretary under any provision of title 49 or title 23 of 
     the United States Code, to the rights of the Secretary under 
     this section and section 503.'' after ``from another 
     source.''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
       ``(B) The Secretary shall, for purposes of making a finding 
     under subsection (g)(4), accept the net present value on a 
     future stream of State or local subsidy income or dedicated 
     revenue as collateral offered to secure the loan.''.
       (c) Office of Management and Budget Review.--Section 502(i) 
     of such Act (45 U.S.C. 822(i)) is amended by inserting ``In 
     order to enable compliance with such time limit, the Office 
     of Management and Budget shall take any actions required with 
     respect to the application within such 90-day period.'' after 
     ``disapprove the application.''.
       (d) RRIF Application.--Section 502(i) of such Act (45 
     U.S.C. 822(i)) is further amended--
       (1) by striking ``Disapproval.--Not later than 90 days 
     after receiving'' and inserting ``Disapproval.--
       ``(1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after an 
     application is determined pursuant to paragraph (2) to be''; 
     and
       (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
       ``(2) Completion of application.--The Secretary shall 
     establish procedures for making a determination, not later 
     than 45 days after submission of an application under this 
     section, whether the application is complete. Such procedures 
     shall--
       ``(A) provide for a checklist of the required components of 
     a complete application;
       ``(B) require the Secretary to provide to the applicant a 
     description of the specific components of the application 
     that remain incomplete if an application is determined to be 
     incomplete; and
       ``(C) permit reapplication without prejudice for 
     applications determined to be incomplete.
       ``(3) Independent financial analyst.--The Secretary shall 
     assign an independent financial analyst within 45 days of 
     submittal of a complete application.''.
       (e) Positive Train Control.--Section 502(c)(1) of such Act 
     (45 U.S.C. 822(c)(1)) is amended by inserting ``, including 
     projects for the installation of a positive train control (as 
     defined in section 20157(i) of title 49, United States Code) 
     system'' after ``public safety''.
       (f) Report to Congress.--Section 502 of such Act (45 U.S.C. 
     822) is further amended by adding at the end the following 
     new subsection:
       ``(k) Report to Congress.--Not later than 1 year after the 
     date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment 
     Act of 2015, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall 
     transmit to Congress a report on the program under this 
     section that provides information on loans approved and 
     disapproved by the Secretary during the previous year. Such 
     report shall not disclose the identity of direct loan or loan 
     guarantee recipients. The report shall describe--
       ``(1) the number of pre-application meetings with potential 
     applicants;
       ``(2) the number of applications received and determined 
     complete under subsection (i)(2), including the requested 
     loan amounts;
       ``(3) the dates of receipt of applications;
       ``(4) the dates applications were determined complete under 
     subsection (i)(2);
       ``(5) the number of applications determined incomplete 
     under subsection (i)(2);
       ``(6) the final decision dates for both approvals and 
     disapprovals of applications;
       ``(7) the number of applications withdrawn from 
     consideration; and
       ``(8) the annual loan portfolio asset quality.''.

     SEC. 303. NEC FAST FORWARD.

       (a) Northeast Corridor Authority.--Section 502(d) of the 
     Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (45 
     U.S.C. 822(d)) is amended by inserting ``40 percent shall be 
     available solely for projects described in subsection (l)(1), 
     and'' after ``Of this amount,''.
       (b) Northeast Corridor Fast Forward Program.--Section 502 
     of such Act is further amended by adding at the end the 
     following new subsection:
       ``(l) Northeast Corridor Fast Forward.--
       ``(1) Purpose.--The Secretary, as part of the Railroad 
     Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program, shall 
     provide direct loans and loan guarantees to eligible entities 
     described in subsection (a) for capital projects to improve 
     the Northeast Corridor (as used in section 24911 of title 49, 
     United States Code).
       ``(2) Collateral.--Loans made or guaranteed under this 
     subsection shall require collateral equal to the loan amount 
     requested.
       ``(3) Investment grade rating.--A direct loan or loan 
     guarantee shall be made under this subsection only if a 
     rating agency has assigned an investment grade rating of BBB 
     minus, Baa3, bbb minus, BBB (low), (or equivalent) or higher 
     to the project obligation. For purposes of this paragraph, 
     the term `rating agency' means a credit rating agency 
     registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a 
     nationally recognized statistical rating organization (as 
     that term is defined in section 3(a) of the Securities 
     Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78c(a))).
       ``(4) Inclusion in nec planning.--Loans and loan guarantees 
     made under this subsection shall be for projects that are 
     included in the most recent 5-year budget and business plan 
     prepared pursuant to section 24911(a) of title 49, United 
     States Code.
       ``(5) Refinancing.--Loans made or guaranteed under this 
     subsection shall not be used for the refinancing of 
     outstanding debt incurred.
       ``(6) Cohort of loans.--Subsection (f)(4) shall not apply 
     to loans made or guaranteed under this subsection.''.
       (c) Report on Leveraging RRIF.--Not later than 180 days 
     after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller 
     General shall transmit to the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
     Senate a report identifying potential revenue sources, 
     projects, and service improvements that could be achieved by 
     the amendments made by subsections (a) and (b).
       (d) Conditions of Funding.--
       (1) Grants.--Section 24405 of title 49, United States Code, 
     is amended--
       (A) by striking ``15 days'' and inserting ``30 days'' in 
     subsection (a)(4)(B); and
       (B) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following:
       ``(12) Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of 
     the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, and 
     annually thereafter, the Secretary shall transmit to the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
     Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
     of the House of Representatives a report listing any waiver 
     issued under this section during the preceding year.''.
       (2) RRIF.--Section 502(h)(3) of the Railroad Revitalization 
     and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (45 U.S.C. 822(h)(3)) is 
     amended--
       (A) by striking ``and'' at the end of subparagraph (A);
       (B) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) 
     and inserting ``; and''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(C) the requirements of section 24405(a) of title 49, 
     United States Code.''.

     SEC. 304. LARGE CAPITAL PROJECT REQUIREMENTS.

       Section 24402 of title 49, United States Code, is amended 
     by adding at the end the following subsection:
       ``(m) Large Capital Project Requirements.--
       ``(1) In general.--For a grant awarded under this chapter 
     for an amount in excess of $1,000,000,000, the following 
     conditions shall apply:
       ``(A) The Secretary of Transportation shall not obligate 
     any funding unless the applicant demonstrates to the 
     satisfaction of the Secretary that it has committed and will 
     be able to fulfill the non-Federal share required for the 
     grant within the applicant's proposed project completion 
     timetable.
       ``(B) The Secretary shall not obligate any funding for work 
     activities that occur after the completion of final design 
     unless--
       ``(i) the applicant transmits to the Secretary a financial 
     plan that generally identifies the sources of the non-Federal 
     funding required for any subsequent segments or phases of the 
     corridor service development program covering the project for 
     which the grant is made;
       ``(ii) the grant will result in a useable segment, a 
     transportation facility, or equipment, that has operational 
     independence; and
       ``(iii) the intercity passenger rail benefits anticipated 
     to result from the grant, such as increased speed, improved 
     on-time performance, reduced trip time, increased 
     frequencies, new service, safety improvements, improved 
     accessibility, or other significant enhancements are detailed 
     by the grantee and approved by the Secretary.
       ``(C) The Secretary shall ensure that the project is 
     maintained to the level of utility that is necessary to 
     support the benefits approved under subparagraph (B)(iii) for 
     a period of 20 years from the date the useable segment, 
     transportation facility, or equipment described in 
     subparagraph (B)(ii) is placed in service. If the project 
     property is not maintained as required by this subparagraph 
     for a period of time in excess of 12 months, then a pro-rata 
     share of the Federal contribution, based upon the percentage 
     remaining of the 20-year period that commenced when the 
     project property was placed in service, shall be refunded.
       ``(2) Early work.--The Secretary may allow a grantee 
     subject to this subsection to engage in at-risk work 
     activities subsequent to the conclusion of final design where 
     the Secretary determines that such work activities are 
     reasonable and necessary.''.

     SEC. 305. SMALL BUSINESS PARTICIPATION STUDY.

       (a) Study.--The Secretary of Transportation shall conduct a 
     nationwide disparity and availability study on the 
     availability and use of small business concerns owned and 
     controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged 
     individuals in publically funded intercity rail passenger 
     transportation (as defined in section 24102 of title 49, 
     United States Code) projects administered by the Federal 
     Railroad Administration.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 2 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall transmit to the 
     Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House 
     of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
     and Transportation of the Senate a report containing the 
     results of the study conducted under subsection (a).
       (c) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Small business concern.--

[[Page H1592]]

       (A) In general.--The term ``small business concern'' means 
     a small business concern as the term is used in section 3 of 
     the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632).
       (B) Exclusions.--The term ``small business concern'' does 
     not include any concern or group of concerns controlled by 
     the same socially and economically disadvantaged individual 
     or individuals that have average annual gross receipts during 
     the preceding 3 fiscal years in excess of $22,410,000, as 
     adjusted annually by the Secretary for inflation.
       (2) Socially and economically disadvantaged individual.--
     The term ``socially and economically disadvantaged 
     individual'' has the meaning given the term in section 8(d) 
     of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(d)) and relevant 
     subcontracting regulations issued pursuant to that Act, 
     except that women shall be presumed to be socially and 
     economically disadvantaged individuals for purposes of this 
     section.
       (d) Funding.--Of the total amount made available to the 
     Office of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation 
     and the Federal Railroad Administration, for each of fiscal 
     years 2016 and 2017, $3,000,000 shall be used to implement 
     the requirements of this section.

     SEC. 306. GULF COAST RAIL SERVICE WORKING GROUP.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Federal Railroad Administration 
     shall 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.
       (b) Membership.--The working group shall consist of 
     representatives of--
       (1) Amtrak;
       (2) the States along the proposed route or routes;
       (3) regional transportation planning organizations and 
     metropolitan planning organizations, municipalities, and 
     communities along the proposed route or routes, selected by 
     the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration;
       (4) the Southern Rail Commission;
       (5) freight railroad carriers whose tracks may be used for 
     such service; and
       (6) other entities determined appropriate by the 
     Administrator.
       (c) Responsibilities.--The working group shall--
       (1) evaluate all options for restoring intercity rail 
     passenger service in the Gulf Coast region, including options 
     outlined in the report transmitted to Congress pursuant to 
     section 226 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement 
     Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-432);
       (2) select a preferred option for restoring such service;
       (3) develop a prioritized inventory of capital projects and 
     other actions required to restore such service and cost 
     estimates for such projects or actions; and
       (4) identify Federal and non-Federal funding sources 
     required to restore such service, including options for 
     entering into public-private partnerships to restore such 
     service.
       (d) Report.--Not later than 9 months after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the working group shall transmit to 
     the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the 
     House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
     Science, and Transportation in the Senate a report that 
     includes--
       (1) the preferred option selected under subsection (c)(2) 
     and the reasons for selecting such option;
       (2) the information described in subsection (c)(3);
       (3) the funding sources identified under subsection (c)(4);
       (4) the costs and benefits of restoring intercity rail 
     passenger transportation in the region; and
       (5) any other information the working group determines 
     appropriate.

     SEC. 307. MISCELLANEOUS.

       (a) Title 49 Amendments.--Title 49, United States Code, is 
     amended--
       (1) in section 22106(b), by striking ``interest thereof'' 
     and inserting ``interest thereon'';
       (2) in section 24101(b), by striking ``subsection (d)'' and 
     inserting ``subsection (c)''; and
       (3) in section 24706--
       (A) in subsection (a)(1), by striking ``a discontinuance 
     under section 24704 or or'';
       (B) in subsection (a)(2), by striking ``section 24704 or''; 
     and
       (C) in subsection (b), by striking ``section 24704 or''.
       (b) Table of Sections Amendment.--The item relating to 
     section 24316 in the table of sections for chapter 243 of 
     such title is amended by striking ``Plan to assist'' and 
     inserting ``Plans to address needs of''.
       (c) Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act 
     Amendments.--Section 305 of the Passenger Rail Investment and 
     Improvement Act of 2008 (49 U.S.C. 24101 note) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), by inserting after ``equipment 
     manufacturers,'' the following: ``nonprofit organizations 
     representing employees who perform overhaul and maintenance 
     of passenger railroad equipment,'';
       (2) in subsection (c), by striking ``, and may establish a 
     corporation, which may be owned or jointly-owned by Amtrak, 
     participating States, or other entities, to perform these 
     functions''; and
       (3) in subsection (e), by striking ``and establishing a 
     jointly-owned corporation to manage that equipment''.

                       TITLE IV--PROJECT DELIVERY

     SEC. 401. PROJECT DELIVERY RULEMAKING.

       (a) Rulemaking.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall begin a rulemaking 
     to govern the Federal review, permitting, and approval or 
     disapproval of--
       (1) freight railroad and intercity rail passenger 
     transportation infrastructure projects, including those that 
     are carried out or planned to be carried out with the use of 
     Federal funds administered by the Department of 
     Transportation through a grant, contract, loan, or other 
     financing instrument; and
       (2) commuter rail passenger transportation (as defined in 
     section 24102(3) of title 49, United States Code) 
     infrastructure projects that are funded in whole or in part 
     through a direct loan or loan guarantee under title V of the 
     Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (45 
     U.S.C. 801 et seq.).
       (b) Deadline.--The Secretary shall complete the rulemaking 
     required under subsection (a) not later than 2 years after 
     the date of enactment of this Act.
       (c) Requirements and Considerations.--The rulemaking under 
     subsection (a) shall include procedures that--
       (1) reduce the aggregate time for review and permitting of 
     infrastructure projects described under subsection (a) while 
     preserving existing statutory requirements for public comment 
     or assessing the impact of a proposed project;
       (2) institutionalize or expand best practices or process 
     improvements that agencies are already implementing to 
     improve the efficiency of reviews;
       (3) identify high-performance attributes of infrastructure 
     projects described under subsection (a) that demonstrate how 
     projects seek to advance existing statutory and policy 
     objectives, thereby facilitating a more efficient review and 
     permitting process;
       (4) create a process to invite Federal agencies and State, 
     local, and tribal governments to participate in the review 
     process, expand coordination with such agencies and 
     governments, and require the identification as early as 
     practicable in the process of any--
       (A) Federal agency or State, local, or tribal government 
     with jurisdiction over the project or required by law to 
     conduct or issue a review or make a determination with regard 
     to the project; and
       (B) review, analysis, opinion, and permit, license, or 
     approval required for the project;
       (5) create process efficiencies, including--
       (A) designating Federal agencies and State, local, and 
     tribal governments as cooperating and participating agencies;
       (B) conducting concurrent and integrated reviews, analyses, 
     opinions, and permits, licenses, or approvals to the maximum 
     extent practicable;
       (C) establishing timelines, in coordination with affected 
     Federal agencies, for completion of those reviews, analyses, 
     opinions, and permits, licenses, or approvals;
       (D) developing a coordination plan and schedule, in 
     coordination with affected Federal agencies, for 
     participation in the review by Federal agencies, State, 
     local, and tribal governments, and the public; and
       (E) implementing a process to effectively identify and 
     resolve issues that may affect completion of reviews in a 
     timely manner;
       (6) effectively engage the public and interested 
     stakeholders as early in the review process as possible;
       (7) include opportunities to use existing share-in-cost 
     authorities and other nonappropriated funding sources to 
     support early coordination and project review;
       (8) expand the use of information technology tools and 
     identify priority areas for information technology investment 
     to replace paperwork processes, enhance effective project 
     siting decisions, enhance interagency collaboration, and 
     improve the monitoring of project impacts and mitigation 
     commitments;
       (9) ensure that documents developed under the procedures 
     are adopted and used by other Federal agencies, and State, 
     local, and tribal governments, to the maximum extent 
     practicable, to eliminate redundancy and duplicative reviews;
       (10) include improvements to mitigation policies to provide 
     added predictability, facilitate landscape-scale mitigation 
     based on conservation plans and regional environmental 
     assessments, facilitate interagency mitigation plans where 
     appropriate, ensure accountability and long-term 
     effectiveness of mitigation activities, and utilize 
     innovative mechanisms where appropriate; and
       (11) develop a process for periodically considering 
     expansion of categorical exclusions for infrastructure 
     projects described under subsection (a) that conform to those 
     of other modal administrations.

     SEC. 402. HISTORIC PRESERVATION OF RAILROADS.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 12 months after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with 
     appropriate Federal agencies, including the Advisory Council 
     on Historic Preservation, the National Conference of State 
     Historic Preservation Officers, the National Association of 
     Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and nongovernmental 
     stakeholders representing the railroad industry and historic 
     preservation concerns, shall--
       (1) administratively pursue program alternatives (as that 
     term is used in 36 C.F.R. 800.14) to promote a consistent 
     approach in the treatment of railroad and rail-related 
     properties for historic preservation review under section 106 
     of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f); 
     and
       (2) develop mechanisms for streamlining compliance with the 
     requirements of section 303 of title 49, United States Code, 
     for railroad and rail-related properties.
       (b) Considerations.--In carrying out subsection (a), the 
     Secretary shall--
       (1) consider, among other options, the development of--
       (A) programmatic agreements, program comments, exempted 
     categories of undertakings, and guidance for historic reviews 
     under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act 
     (as those terms are used in 36 C.F.R. 800.14); and
       (B) programmatic evaluations, de minimis impact 
     determinations, and regulatory guidance

[[Page H1593]]

     for reviews under section 303 of title 49, United States Code 
     (as those terms are used in 23 C.F.R. 774); and
       (2) take into account, at a minimum--
       (A) maintenance and repair of railroad and rail-related 
     property;
       (B) repair and replacement of bridges, structures, or 
     facilities in a like-for-like manner, or when the bridge, 
     structure, or facility is not a contributing element of a 
     historic district;
       (C) safety-related projects, including installation, 
     maintenance, and repair of positive train control systems;
       (D) management of railroad and rail-related properties that 
     include both historic and non-historic components;
       (E) integration of reviews under section 106 of the 
     National Historic Preservation Act, reviews under section 303 
     of title 49, United States Code, and environmental reviews; 
     and
       (F) consistency in treatment of railroads nationwide for 
     historic preservation purposes.

                         TITLE V--MISCELLANEOUS

     SEC. 501. DEFINITION.

       For purposes of this Act, the term ``Secretary'' means the 
     Secretary of Transportation.

     SEC. 502. TITLE 49 DEFINITIONS.

       (a) Title 49 Amendments.--Section 24102 of title 49, United 
     States Code, is amended--
       (1) by redesignating paragraphs (5) through (9) as 
     paragraphs (7) through (11), respectively;
       (2) by inserting after paragraph (4) the following new 
     paragraphs:
       ``(5) `long-distance route' means a route described in 
     subparagraph (C) of paragraph (7).
       ``(6) `National Network' includes long-distance routes and 
     State-supported routes.''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
       ``(12) `state-of-good-repair' means a condition in which 
     physical assets, both individually and as a system, are--
       ``(A) performing at a level at least equal to that called 
     for in their as-built or as-modified design specification 
     during any period when the life cycle cost of maintaining the 
     assets is lower than the cost of replacing them; and
       ``(B) sustained through regular maintenance and replacement 
     programs.
       ``(13) `State-supported route' means a route described in 
     subparagraph (B) or (D) of paragraph (7), or in section 
     24702, that is operated by Amtrak, excluding those trains 
     operated by Amtrak on the routes described in paragraph 
     (7)(A).''.
       (b) Conforming Amendments.--Section 217 of the Passenger 
     Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (49 U.S.C. 24702 
     note) is amended by striking ``24102(5)(D)'' and inserting 
     ``24102(7)(D)''.

  The Acting CHAIR. No amendment to that amendment in the nature of a 
substitute shall be in order except those printed in House Report 114-
36. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the 
report, by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered read, 
shall be debatable for the time specified in the report, equally 
divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be 
subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division 
of the question.


                Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. McNerney

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 1 
printed in House Report 114-36.
  Mr. McNERNEY. Mr. Chairman, I do have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 43, line 24, strike ``where appropriate'' and insert 
     ``including small business concerns owned and controlled by 
     socially and economically disadvantaged individuals''.
       Page 44, after line 16, insert the following:
       (d) Definitions.--In this section, the terms ``small 
     business concern'' and ``socially and economically 
     disadvantaged individual'' have the meanings given such terms 
     in section 305(c).

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 134, the gentleman 
from California (Mr. McNerney) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.
  Mr. McNERNEY. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank Chairman Shuster and 
Ranking Member DeFazio for their work on this. It has been a bipartisan 
effort.
  It has been a long time since we have seen a rail bill, and it's 
about time. We need to do something to improve our rail system. This 
bill authorizes $7.2 billion for passenger rail over the next 4 fiscal 
years and will help improve Amtrak's service and long-term stability. 
It has a wide range of support from all the stakeholders.
  I have two Amtrak stations in my region, and both of them are in 
communities that are devastated by the economic downturn, and 
unfortunately, our small businesses have been slower to recover from 
the recession because they have less access to capital and information.
  Section 208 of this bill directs Amtrak to submit a report to 
Congress within 1 year on the options to enhance economic development 
around the Amtrak stations. This provision requires Amtrak to issue a 
request for proposals seeking persons or entities to carry out these 
proposals.
  My amendment encourages the process to be inclusive of socially and 
economically disadvantaged businesses while keeping the intent to 
strengthen multimodal connections, capturing development-related 
streams, meaning multiple revenue sources and better leveraging station 
assets.
  We need to encourage our socially and economically disadvantaged 
small businesses a chance to provide their input and feedback on 
station development proposals in and around Amtrak communities.
  A disadvantaged business is one that is at least 51 percent owned and 
controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged 
individuals or groups. According to the Minority Business Development 
Agency, only 2 percent of all minority-owned firms are considered high 
revenue, meaning businesses with annual receipts of over $1 million. 
These enterprises account for 68 percent of total receipts and 61 
percent of all jobs produced by all minority enterprises.
  As these businesses grow and innovate, so does the rest of our 
economy. Our society and economy is made stronger from diversity, and 
socially and economically disadvantaged businesses should have 
information to compete and to be included in all the business 
development with public and private entities.
  The Department of Transportation has done very well in recognizing 
the role that disadvantaged small businesses play in the community. We 
must ensure that this also remains true of Amtrak.
  We need to see that these disadvantaged areas develop in sync with 
the money that is being spent. We just want to make sure that the 
information is there so they can compete on a fair basis.
  My bill and this amendment is a chance to invest in our intercity 
passenger rail service and spur innovation, growth, and investment in 
the surrounding communities. I encourage the adoption of my amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to the 
amendment, even though I do not oppose the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Hultgren). Without objection, the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania is recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, this amendment does clarify that socially 
and economically disadvantaged small businesses can compete for 
contracts in the bills dealing with the redevelopment of stations.
  A lot of these stations are in downtown areas that are very desirable 
for development, and so we want to encourage that. This amendment, I 
believe, strengthens the bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. McNERNEY. Mr. Chairman, the good thing about the amendment, it 
doesn't cost anything, and I think it will really help some of our 
disadvantaged communities.
  As the chairman said, these are in the downtown areas that need the 
most help, so I encourage my colleagues to support the amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. McNerney).
  The amendment was agreed to.


              Amendment No. 2 Offered by Mr. Fitzpatrick.

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 2 
printed in House Report 114-36.
  Mr. FITZPATRICK. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 63, line 6, insert after ``individuals'' the 
     following: ``and veteran-owned small businesses''.
       Page 64, after line 13, insert the following:
       (3) Veteran-owned small business.--
       (A) In general.--The term ``veteran-owned small business'' 
     has the meaning given the

[[Page H1594]]

     term ``small business concern owned and controlled by 
     veterans'' in section 3(q)(3) of the Small Business Act (15 
     U.S.C. 632(q)(3)).
       (B) Exclusions.--The term ``veteran-owned small business'' 
     does not include any concern or group of concerns controlled 
     by the same veterans that have average annual gross receipts 
     during the preceding 3 fiscal years in excess of $22,410,000 
     as adjusted annually by the Secretary for inflation.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 134, the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania (Mr. Fitzpatrick) and a Member opposed each will 
control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. FITZPATRICK. I thank the Chair, and I commend and congratulate 
Mr. Shuster on his very thoughtful approach to this passenger rail 
reform bill, which is poised to pass, and I encourage its passage here 
today.
  Mr. Chair, our Nation's veterans are the most highly skilled 
workforce in our Nation's history. They are the product of rigorous 
training and ironclad commitment to teamwork. They have a remarkable 
ability to succeed where others might fail.
  It is no wonder, then, that nearly 2.5 million veterans own and 
operate their own businesses, creating and sustaining over 8 million 
jobs for hardworking Americans. However, the current pool of veteran-
owned businesses is getting older, with recent census data showing that 
75 percent of current veteran-owned businesses were age 55 and over.
  As this older generation of veterans look toward retirement, America 
will begin to lose a key driver of economic growth. We need to be 
thinking now about how to encourage the next generation of veterans--
the more than 250,000 servicemembers currently transitioning from 
military to civilian life--to take up the job-creating mantle of 
starting their own veteran-owned businesses.
  The numbers are on our side, with one in four veterans saying they 
are considering starting or buying their own small business. We cannot 
miss this opportunity.
  My amendment under consideration today works to ensure we, as a 
Congress, are doing everything possible to level the playing field for 
these veteran entrepreneurs when competing for Federal contracts. It is 
a simple premise that my constituents in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, 
Pennsylvania, know and understand as fairness to veterans.
  The amendment is straightforward. It adds veteran-owned small 
businesses to the small business participation study required under 
section 305 of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act. Section 
305 directs the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a nationwide 
disparity and availability study on the availability and use of certain 
classes of small businesses.
  While I am a supporter of having a completely level playing field 
throughout Federal contracting for every small business, the fact is, 
today, some get a preference when doing business with the Federal 
Government when veterans do not.
  This amendment begins the process of addressing that discrepancy. 
Fairness to veterans is not about dramatically overhauling the current 
system, but it is about making sure that if anybody is going to get a 
preference, veterans should at least have an equal shot.
  Adding them to the study included in the Passenger Rail Reform and 
Investment Act will give the Department of Transportation a better 
understanding of the availability of veteran-owned small businesses to 
help rebuild our crumbling rail infrastructure and hopefully help 
highlight the benefit of embracing veteran-owned businesses in all 
future Federal infrastructure projects.
  I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in support 
of this commonsense amendment, which strengthens the underlying bill 
and ensures fairness to our veterans.
  I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1330

  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition, even 
though I do not oppose the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentleman from Massachusetts 
is recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I congratulate the author, Mr. 
Fitzpatrick. It is a great amendment. I wish I had thought of it, to be 
perfectly honest. I look forward to supporting it.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. FITZPATRICK. I yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. SHUSTER. I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
  His amendment would ensure that veteran-owned small businesses be 
considered when they are looking who has historically participated in 
Federal funds in all projects, so I strongly support the hiring of 
veterans.
  I appreciate Mr. Fitzpatrick for offering this bill, and, once again, 
it will strengthen the bill, so I support it.
  Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Chair, I thank Mr. Capuano and Chairman Shuster 
for their support of this amendment.
  Like the previous amendment, there is no cost to including veteran-
owned small businesses in the participation study, no cost to the 
Federal taxpayer, good for our Nation's veterans and their own 
businesses. I encourage my colleagues to support this.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Fitzpatrick).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                  Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. Mica

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 
printed in House Report 114-36.
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 68, after line 9, insert the following new section:

     SEC. 308. NORTHEAST CORRIDOR EXPRESS SERVICE.

       (a) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure 
     and Operations Advisory Committee, in consultation with 
     Amtrak, shall transmit to the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the 
     Senate a report that analyzes the implementation of non-stop, 
     high-speed express passenger rail service between Washington, 
     District of Columbia, and New York, New York, and between New 
     York, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts. The report shall 
     consider--
       (1) estimated trip time, ridership, revenue, total cost, 
     capacity, and other metrics for each service;
       (2) impacts on existing Amtrak and commuter rail services; 
     and
       (3) impacts on Northeast Corridor infrastructure.
       (b) Consideration.--Not later than 90 days after the 
     transmittal of the report required under subsection (a), the 
     Amtrak Board of Directors shall consider implementing such 
     services.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 134, the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Mica) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 4 minutes.
  Mr. Chairman and my colleagues, first of all, I want to thank both 
sides of the aisle, particularly the leadership of Chairman Shuster, 
Mr. DeFazio, Mr. Capuano, Mr. Denham and others for all working 
together in a bipartisan effort.
  The last rail reauthorization I did with Mr. Oberstar was the first 
one we had done in about 10 years. That was the precedent to this bill, 
and we need to do that. We need to act responsibly.
  We need to improve passenger rail service in the United States. We 
need to take Amtrak and this country from a Third World passenger rail 
service with a Soviet-style operation into the 21st century. I think we 
can begin to do that with the amendment that I have offered here today 
and that we have a bipartisan agreement on.
  It is not everything I would like. I am going to try to strengthen it 
as it moves through the process. This amendment would potentially open 
the Northeast corridor to express service from Washington, D.C., to New 
York City and to Boston, and it is great to have Mr. Capuano here. 
Right now, the service from Boston to New York City runs 68 miles an 
hour on average. That is Third World kind of operations.
  I believe that we could have express service for less than 2\1/2\ 
hours in that corridor, closer to 2 hours with this amendment. Right 
now, it goes 83

[[Page H1595]]

miles an hour. That is our high-speed service in the United States.
  Now, we are about to put a significant amount of money into the 
Northeast corridor, and I have no problem with that. This bill 
authorizes that money, some with direct appropriations, about a half 
billion dollars a year for each of the next 4 years. Then it also 
allows the revenue coming into the Northeast corridor to stay in the 
Northeast corridor. I have no problem with that.
  Again, what do the rest of us get in the country by putting this 
money in? I think we have subsidized Amtrak fairly well. Right now, 
every ticket is underwritten--last year, $44.98. This will also provide 
a subsidy. I have no problem.
  But what do we get back? Seventy percent of all the air traffic 
delays in the country are out of the Northeast corridor, the 
chronically delayed flights. We will see that, too, today and tomorrow.
  We can do a much better job improving service. Imagine getting from 
here to Penn Station in less than 2 hours and from Boston down to Penn 
Station in record time.
  Finally, others have done this. Virgin Trains in England, one of the 
leaders in innovation, has increased traffic from 14 million in the 
corridor from London up to the north of England, from 14 million to 28 
million passengers in less than half a dozen years, an incredible 
record that we could replicate here.
  We only had 31 million passengers on all of Amtrak last year, a 
little less than that; and we could double the number of people 
employed, the number of people working.
  I have always supported labor in this. We are not trying to do this 
at any substandard wages. We want to make certain that all of those 
commitments to our brothers and sisters in labor are honored.
  This is the beginning of a proposal to open this up, the Northeast 
corridor, and the commission actually will report back to Congress with 
those proposals. It won't be buried. It is going to come back to us, 
and then we can move it forward.
  It is time to take us into the next era of passenger rail service in 
this country.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition, even 
though I do not oppose the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentleman from Massachusetts 
is recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I would like to congratulate the gentleman 
from Florida.
  Again, he stands up tall to defend the idea of passenger rail. We 
totally agree on that concept. We totally agree on trying to make--
especially the Northeast corridor--a more efficient rail.
  I think this study, this commission might help us. I hope it does. I 
am pleased to stand up today and support this amendment and 
congratulate the gentleman for offering it.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster).
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of this amendment. I 
believe, once again, this study can have positive impact on us.
  I also commend the chairman, the former chairman of the committee, 
for his passion. He is absolutely right as far as getting these trains 
to run faster, to have less stops. We can create, I believe, in the 
long term, this express corridor.
  He is right that while the Europeans are moving at speeds twice that 
rate, we can do better in the United States, and I believe this study 
will help us move in that direction in the future.
  I thank the gentleman and support the amendment.
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman, in closing, in 2010, when we were in the 
minority, we had a little more time on our hands. I published this 
report in the Transportation Committee, ``The Federal Government Must 
Stop Sitting on its Assets,'' and listed in here is the Northeast 
corridor. It is one of the greatest assets we have, from here to 
Boston, and we need to utilize that asset.
  We can put in better service, and I think we can do this through this 
particular amendment. We have got to stop sitting on a valuable asset. 
It is the only corridor that we own. The other 22,000 miles of rail 
service is all on freight private rail.
  We can and we must adopt this amendment to get us on our way. Thank 
you, and I hope everybody is on board.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica).
  The amendment was agreed to.


         Amendment No. 4 Offered by Ms. Brownley of California

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 
printed in House Report 114-36.
  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill, add the following new section:

     SEC. 503. STATE ACTION PLANS.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary shall require--
       (1) each State, other than those States identified pursuant 
     to section 202 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (49 
     U.S.C. 22501 note), to develop and implement, not later than 
     18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, a State 
     grade crossing action plan; and
       (2) each State that was identified pursuant to section 202 
     of such Act to update its plan and submit to the Secretary, 
     not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this 
     Act, a report describing what the State did to implement the 
     plan.
       (b) Contents.--Each plan required under subsection (a) 
     shall--
       (1) identify specific solutions for improving safety at 
     crossings, including highway-rail grade crossing closures or 
     grade separations; and
       (2) focus on crossings that have experienced recent grade 
     crossing accidents or multiple accidents, or are at high risk 
     for accidents.
       (c) Assistance.--The Secretary shall provide assistance to 
     the States in developing and carrying out, as appropriate, 
     the plan required under subsection (a).
       (d) Conditions.--The Secretary may condition the awarding 
     of any grants under section 103 of this Act to a State on the 
     development of such State's grade crossing action plan.
       (e) Public Availability.--The Secretary shall make each 
     plan and report publicly available on an official Internet 
     Web site.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 134, the gentlewoman 
from California (Ms. Brownley) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman.
  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer a 
simple, commonsense amendment to the Passenger Rail Reform and 
Investment Act of 2015.
  My amendment would require each State to develop a grade crossing 
action plan, identifying specific solutions for improving safety at 
rail-highway crossings; furthermore, my amendment would direct States 
to focus resources on crossings that have experienced recent grade 
crossing accidents, multiple accidents, or crossings that are at high 
risk for accidents.
  Mr. Chairman, a week ago Tuesday, our Nation witnessed yet another 
tragic rail accident in my district when Metrolink Ventura County line 
102 crashed into a truck along the train tracks in Oxnard.
  While there are many unanswered questions about this accident, one 
issue is abundantly clear. As a nation, we must do more to address 
rail-highway crossing safety and address the increasing backlog of 
safety projects nationwide. Currently, California ranks second in the 
Nation in the number of crossing accidents.
  Nationally, the Federal Railroad Administration estimates that there 
were over 2,000 accidents at railroad crossings in 2013, with 251 
fatalities and 929 injuries.
  As many residents of Ventura County know, this is not the first time 
an accident has occurred at the Rice Avenue intersection. This is a 
heavily-used corridor for both rail goods movement, passenger rail--
both Amtrak and Metrolink--as well as automobiles and truck traffic.
  Unfortunately, like many local communities across the Nation, Ventura 
County cannot, on its own, fund rail-highway crossing safety 
improvements.
  As a member of this committee, I am pleased that this bill provides 
funds for

[[Page H1596]]

passenger rail infrastructure, and I strongly support the provision 
that permits funds to be used for crossing safety improvements because 
we all know these investments benefit not only safety, but also our 
regional and national economies.
  In 2014, we invested $220 million in the Railway-Highway Crossings 
Program at the Federal level; yet, under title 49, only 10 States are 
required by Federal law to have action plans prioritizing rail-highway 
safety improvements.
  It is critically important for Congress to ensure that Federal 
dollars for passenger rail infrastructure improvements are used wisely. 
We must also ensure that Federal funds are prioritized to address 
safety improvements at the most dangerous crossings first.
  My amendment would get at the heart of this issue by requiring every 
State to have a specific plan in place that will ensure both the wise 
use of tax dollars and address rail-highway grade crossing safety in a 
systematic way.
  I ask my colleagues to vote for my commonsense amendment.
  Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I claim time in opposition, although I do 
not oppose the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
is recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman from California 
for offering this amendment.
  While grade crossing incidents have dropped 40 percent since 2000, 
the tragic events in Ms. Brownley's district last week remind us how 
important it is to be aware of grade crossings.
  This amendment requiring States to develop and implement plans to 
improve safety at grade crossings within their borders, I think, adds 
strength to the bill. I would also note there are similar grade 
crossing reporting requirements in the Federal highway program, and we 
should work with the Senate during conference to reauthorize the 
surface transportation programs, ensuring that there is consistency 
among the requirements at those grade crossings.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. I thank the chairman for your 
extraordinary work on this bill--and a bipartisan bill as well--and I 
thank you for accepting the amendment.
  Rail-highway crossing safety problems are not unique to my district. 
Sadly, my colleagues have also experienced recent tragedies. On Monday, 
a Long Island Rail Road train struck a car stopped on the tracks in 
East Rockaway. In February, a Metro-North train struck a sport utility 
vehicle, tragically killing the driver and five train passengers in 
Valhalla.
  I strongly believe that Congress, along with State and local 
governments, must address this safety issue as a matter of urgency, and 
I urge my colleagues to support my amendment.
  Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. POSEY. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. I would like to speak 
in support of her amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Does the gentlewoman ask unanimous consent to 
reclaim her time?
  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. Yes.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized.
  There was no objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. Does the gentlewoman yield?
  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. Yes, I yield.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida is recognized.
  Mr. POSEY. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
  I would like to support this amendment and urge my colleagues to do 
so.
  They are putting in a high-speed rail in my State now, running over 
100 miles through my district, something that will go 120-plus miles an 
hour through the middle of small towns and communities which are ill-
prepared and ill-equipped to safely facilitate that high rate of 
traffic.
  I wish I had thought ahead to bring some illustrations, photographs, 
or diagrams of some of the intersections that this train will go 
blazing through without much thought to the pedestrians, the vehicles, 
the men, women, and children in the community that will be put in 
danger by it.
  I think this is a great amendment. If you are going to use Federal 
money--I see that the gentlelady said it is for projects that use 
Federal money, not an unfunded mandate--but if you are going to use the 
Federal money, you are going to use these RIF loans, some of which 
appear to be in the process of being granted in direct conflict of the 
requirements of granting the RIF loans, the very least we could do is 
insist that the money is used safely in our districts.

                              {time}  1345

  The very least we could do is insist that the money is used safely in 
our districts.
  So I thank the gentlelady for yielding, and I urge my colleagues to 
support this great amendment.
  Ms. BROWNLEY of California. Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Brownley).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Committee will rise informally.
  The Speaker pro tempore (Mr. McClintock) assumed the chair.

                          ____________________