Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and Sources

Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and Sources Marc Levinson, Coordinator Section Research Manager March 7, 2012 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R42350 CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Contents Introduction...................................................................................................................................... 1 Highways ......................................................................................................................................... 2 Transportation Enhancement Program ...................................................................................... 3 Public Transit ................................................................................................................................... 3 Passenger Rail.................................................................................................................................. 6 Freight Transportation ..................................................................................................................... 7 Environmental Review of Transportation Projects .......................................................................... 9 Highway Safety ............................................................................................................................. 11 Commercial Trucking Safety ......................................................................................................... 11 Transportation Finance .................................................................................................................. 12 Financial Provisions in Senate Bill.......................................................................................... 12 Financial Provisions in House bill........................................................................................... 13 Oil and Gas Revenues ....................................................................................................... 13 Alternative Transportation Account Revenues and Alternative Financing ....................... 14 Figures Figure A-1. CBO Highway Trust Fund Projections....................................................................... 16 Figure A-2. MAP-21 Authorizations ............................................................................................. 17 Figure A-3. MAP-21 Apportionments ........................................................................................... 19 Figure A-4. H.R. 7 Apportionments............................................................................................... 21 Figure A-5. Funding for Highway Safety Programs Proposed in Senate ...................................... 23 Figure A-6. Funding for Commercial Vehicle Safety Programs Proposed in Senate .................... 24 Tables Table 1. Committee Involvement in Surface Transportation Reauthorization................................. 2 Table 2. Proposed Annual Federal Transit Funding in Senate Bill .................................................. 4 Table 3. Proposed Federal Transit Funding in H.R. 7...................................................................... 5 Table 4. Authorized Funding for Amtrak Operating Assistance ...................................................... 6 Table 5. Highway Safety Grants to States...................................................................................... 11 Table 6. Truck Safety Grants to States........................................................................................... 12 Appendixes Appendix. Funding and Financial Data ......................................................................................... 15 Congressional Research Service Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Contacts Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 25 Key Policy Staff............................................................................................................................. 25 Congressional Research Service Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Introduction Legislation to reauthorize federal surface transportation programs is under consideration in both houses of Congress.1 The previous transportation authorization, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA, P.L. 109-59), enacted in 2005, expired on September 30, 2009. Since that time, surface transportation programs and activities have been operated under a series of extensions. The most recent of these, P.L. 112-30, expires on March 31, 2012. The main obstacle to enactment of a new multi-year bill during the past two years has been the disparity between projected spending and the much lower projections of the revenue flows to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Taxes on gasoline and diesel provide approximately 90% of the revenues for the HTF, which historically has funded the entire highway program and roughly 80% of the mass transit program. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that the unexpended balance of the highway account of the HTF will reach zero during FY2013 and that the balance in the Mass Transit Account will reach zero in FY2014 (see Appendix Figure A-1). Surface transportation reauthorization is one of the more legislatively complex issues before Congress, because it addresses matters under the jurisdictions of many committees. Portions of the pending reauthorization bills, under various bill numbers, were marked up in seven different committees (see Table 1) before consolidation under a single bill number in each house. The Senate reauthorization bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (S. 1813; MAP-21), would authorize surface transportation programs for two years, through FY2013. Fully funding the bill would require roughly $10 billion in revenues or offsets beyond anticipated HTF revenues.2 On March 1, 2012, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced S.Amdt. 1761 to S. 1813, and references in this report to MAP-21 are to S. 1813 as amended by S.Amdt. 1761. The House bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7), links the usual surface transportation reauthorization components with provisions designed to increase oil and gas production, the revenues from which would be provided for highway infrastructure. H.R. 7, counting the already appropriated FY2012, is a five-year bill providing for a total authorization of roughly $260 billion.3 The bills differ significantly in programmatic content and treatment of the HTF. Both are free of program earmarking. 1 For a detailed review of the underlying issues, see CRS Report R41512, Surface Transportation Program Reauthorization Issues for the 112th Congress, coordinated by Robert S. Kirk. 2 For the CBO cost estimate for S. 1813, see http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/127xx/doc12743/s1813feb7.pdf. 3 For the CBO cost estimate for H.R. 7, see http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/127xx/doc12751/hr3864.pdf. Congressional Research Service 1 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Table 1. Committee Involvement in Surface Transportation Reauthorization Committee Date of Markup Bill Number/Provisions House Natural Resources February 1, 2012 H.R. 3407, concerning oil and gas leasing in Alaska; H.R. 3408, on oil shale development; H.R. 3410, concerning offshore oil and gas leasing House Transportation and Infrastructure February 2, 2012 H.R. 7, including highway, transit, freight, and safety programs and environmental review provisions House Ways and Means February 3, 2012 H.R. 3864, revenues for Highway Trust Fund Senate Environment and Public Works November 9, 2011 Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation December 14, 2011 S. 1813, highway programs S. 1449, S. 1950, highway safety, truck safety, freight Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs February 2, 2012 Unnumbered, mass transit Senate Finance February 7, 2012 Unnumbered, revenues for Highway Trust Fund Sources: CRS, Congressional Quarterly. Highways4 The Senate bill, MAP-21, proposes a total federal-aid highway program authorization of $85.3 billion over two years, FY2012 and FY2013 (see Appendix Figure A-2). The bill would reduce the total number of highway programs from roughly 90 to 30. While many existing highway programs would be discontinued as separate entities, states would be authorized—although not required—to spend their federal highway funds for many of the same purposes. The overall federal-aid highway program would be structured around five large “core” programs. These would include the existing Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) and Highway Safety Improvement Programs; a new National Highway Performance Program that consolidates several existing highway programs; a new Transportation Mobility Program to fund a broad array of surface transportation projects; and a new National Freight Network Program. The existing Equity Bonus Program would be discontinued. MAP-21 would make major changes in the allocation of funds among states and programs by eliminating the various formula factors now attached to individual programs. Instead, each state’s initial amount of the bill’s authorized contract authority would be calculated based on its share of total apportionments and allocations during FY2005-FY2009. These state shares would then be used to calculate the MAP-21 apportionments among the core programs (see Appendix Figure A3). This means that the same allocation formula would apply to each of the five core programs. The Senate bill also would increase the use of performance measures by requiring states and metropolitan planning organizations to set targets for highway condition and performance. It would expand the use of alternative financing mechanisms and private-sector investment to supplement traditional highway grant funding. 4 This section was written by Robert S. Kirk, Specialist in Transportation Policy. Congressional Research Service 2 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S The House bill, H.R. 7, proposes a total federal-aid highway program authorization of $205 billion over five years. It would consolidate or eliminate many programs, but differently than proposed in MAP-21. H.R. 7 retains and expands both the National Highway System Program and the Surface Transportation Program to include the present Highway Bridge Program. The existing Interstate Maintenance program would be folded into the National Highway System Program, and the Highway Safety Improvement Program would be retained (see Appendix Figure A-4). H.R. 7 includes an Equity Bonus Program with a guarantee that each state’s total highway grants each year will equal at least 94% of the motor fuel taxes the state pays into the HTF. The program authorization is capped at $3.9 billion per year. In an important change in transportation financing, H.R. 7 would create a new alternative transportation account in the HTF. This account, financed by general fund appropriations, would fund mass transit projects that currently receive a share of the motor fuel tax receipts paid into the HTF. Several highway programs, including the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ), Ferry Boats and Terminals, Puerto Rico Highways, and Territorial Highway Program, would also be funded from the alternative transportation account. The House bill would also allow expanded tolling of the Interstate system. Subject to certain restrictions, the federal government could participate in projects to add lanes to increase the capacity of a highway and its conversion to a toll facility, so long as the same number of free lanes as existed before the project remain toll free. Transportation Enhancement Program Current law requires states to spend about 1.5% of their federal highway funding on Transportation Enhancement projects, which can include constructing sidewalks and bikepaths, conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails, archeological research on sites uncovered by highway construction, control of outdoor advertising, and mitigating the environmental effects of highway construction. Both bills would eliminate the requirement that states spend federal funds on Transportation Enhancement projects (allowing states to fund such projects if they so choose) and would amend the list of activities eligible for funding as transportation enhancements. Public Transit5 The House provisions relating to the federal transit programs are found in Title II of H.R. 7 and the finance provisions are in H.R. 3864 (the finance provisions have been incorporated into H.R. 7 and, hereafter, are referred to as the finance provisions of H.R. 7). The Senate’s transit program provisions are contained in the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012 and the revenue provisions are in the Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act of 2012. Neither of the Senate’s bills has been formally introduced and, hence, both are unnumbered. The proposed Senate bill would authorize $10.458 billion for federal transit programs annually for FY2012 and FY2013, the current funding level, with $8.361 billion coming from the Mass 5 This section was written by William J. Mallett, Specialist in Transportation Policy. Congressional Research Service 3 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund and $2.098 billion from the general fund (see Table 2).6 Table 2. Proposed Annual Federal Transit Funding in Senate Bill Authorizations for FY2012 and FY2013 Mass Transit Account Administration Planning Programs $108,350,000 $144,850,000 Emergency Relief Urbanized Area Formula Program Clean Fuels Program Such sums as are necessary $4,756,161,500 $65,150,000 Capital Investment Grants $1,955,000,000 Elderly and Disabled $248,600,000 Nonurbanized Area Formula Program $591,190,000 Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Projects $34,000,000 Transit Cooperative Research Program $6,500,000 Technical Assistance and Standards Development $4,500,000 National Transit Institute $5,000,000 Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program $26,900,000 Workforce Development and Human Resource Programs $2,000,000 National Transit Database $3,850,000 State of Good Repair Fixed Guideway SGR $1,987,263,500 Growing States and High Density Formula Total $7,463,000 $1,874,763,500 Fixed Guideway SGR Discretionary Motorbus SGR General Fund $7,463,000 $112,500,000 $11,500,000 $8,360,565,000 $2,097,713,000 Source: Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, “Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012, Bill Highlights,” http://banking.senate.gov/public/_files/Transit_Bill_Summary_and_Funding_Chart.pdf. The House bill would authorize the same amount for FY2012 and $10.498 billion each year for FY2013 through FY2016, with $8.4 billion from a newly named Alternative Transportation Account of the Highway Trust Fund (see below) and $2.098 billion from the general fund (Table 3). 6 Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, “Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012, Bill Highlights,” http://banking.senate.gov/public/_files/Transit_Bill_Summary_and_Funding_Chart.pdf. Congressional Research Service 4 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Table 3. Proposed Federal Transit Funding in H.R. 7 Million Dollars FY2012 Annually, FY2013-FY2016 $10,458.3 $10,498.0 8,360.6 8,400.0 8,360.6 8,400.0 2,097.7 2,098.0 1,955.0 1,955.0 Research, Training and Outreach, and Technical Assistance 44.0 45.0 Administration 98.7 98.0 Total Alternative Transportation Account Formula and Bus Grants General Fund Capital Investment Grants Source: H.R. 7, American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012. The revenue section of the House surface transportation reauthorization would rename the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund as the Alternative Transportation Account. The legislation would also eliminate the motor fuel taxes that currently go into the Mass Transit Account. Revenue in the Mass Transit Account collected in FY2012 would be transferred to the Highway Account. In place of revenue from the fuels tax, the bill would transfer $40 billion from the general fund into the Alternative Transportation Account. The Senate Finance Committee’s bill would leave the current structure of the Highway Trust Fund unchanged. Although it eliminates some programs, the House bill largely maintains the current structure of the federal transit program. Among other things, the House bill eliminates the Clean Fuels Grant Program, the Transit in Parks Program, and the Growing and High Density State Formula. The House bill also combines into a single program the New Freedom Program, the Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Program, and the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Program. The House bill proposes to distribute funding for the Bus and Bus-Related Facilities Program by formula. In SAFETEA this program was a heavily earmarked discretionary program. The Senate bill contains some significant restructuring of the federal transit program. The Bus and Bus-Related Facilities Program is eliminated. The existing Fixed Guideway (Rail) Modernization Program would be replaced with a new State of Good Repair (SGR) Grant Program with three elements. First, the new SGR program would still mainly provide funds by formula for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of fixed guideway public transit, but the formula by which these funds are distributed is changed. Second, the new SGR program provides funding by formula for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of bus rapid transit systems. This is called the High Intensity Bus State of Good Repair Program. Third, the SGR program contains a small discretionary grant element for fixed guideway rail systems. As with the House bill, the Senate bill combines the New Freedom Program and the Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Program into a single program. This new program in the Senate bill is named the Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program. By contrast with the House bill, the current Jobs Access and Reverse Commute program is shifted to be part of the Urbanized and Non-Urbanized Area Formula programs. The renamed Access to Jobs program requires that recipients spend at least 3% of their Urbanized Area apportionments on projects that are designed to help low income individuals travel to and from jobs. Under the Non-Urbanized Area program, Access to Jobs is an eligible expense. Congressional Research Service 5 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S The Senate bill also creates two new programs that mirror existing highway programs. These are the Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance Program, with $20 million set aside from the Non-Urbanized Area funds, and the Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program. This emergency relief program, akin to the existing Highway Emergency Relief Program, provides funding for capital and operating costs in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The bill authorizes such sums as may be necessary to carry out this new program. Program changes in the Senate bill include provisions to simplify the New Starts Program process. The New Starts Program provides funds for the construction of new fixed guideway transit systems and extensions to existing systems. Among the changes is the elimination of the alternatives analysis that is currently required in addition to the alternatives analysis required as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The House bill includes a provision on the development and use of special warrants to speed certain types of New Starts projects. Passenger Rail7 The House bill repeals the congestion grant program, which authorizes grants to states or Amtrak to reduce congestion or facilitate ridership growth on high-priority rail corridors. This program was folded into Track 1 of the Federal Railroad Administration’s High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program in 2009, and although the congestion grant program was authorized at $100 million annually through FY2013, Congress provided no funding for this program—or any other intercity passenger rail grant program—in FY2011 or FY2012. H.R. 7 would also reduce the authorized funding level for Amtrak’s operating assistance grants (see Table 4).8 Table 4. Authorized Funding for Amtrak Operating Assistance Million Dollars FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 $592 $616 $631 H.R. 7 — 466 473 Senate MAP-21 — N/A N/A Current law Source: P.L. 110-432, H.R. 7. Note: Congress appropriated $562 million (FY2011) and $466 million (FY2012) for Amtrak Operating Assistance grants. The House bill would also amend the law covering food and beverage service on Amtrak trains. Currently Amtrak is prohibited from providing food and beverage service on any train unless the revenues at least equal the costs. Nonetheless, Amtrak has continued to provide food and beverage service, although the service is not self-supporting (as is the practice of most airlines), 7 This section was written by D. Randy Peterman, Analyst in Transportation Policy, and John Frittelli, Specialist in Transportation Policy. 8 Amtrak is also authorized to receive capital grants for $1.275 billion in FY2012 and $1.325 billion in FY2013, and $22 million in FY2012 and $23 million in FY2013 for Amtrak’s Office of the Inspector General. Congressional Research Service 6 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S contending that such service is an expectation, if not a requirement, on the part of many passengers. The House bill would repeal the self-supporting requirement, would require that the Federal Railroad Administration put the provision of food and beverage service on Amtrak’s trains out to competitive bidding, and would allow the service to be subsidized only to the extent that a net loss on the service was foreseen in the bid selected. MAP-21, as amended by S.Amdt. 1761, includes a title concerning passenger and freight rail. Section 36101 calls for development of a national rail plan to guide future investments in both passenger and freight rail. It also calls for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop regional rail plans in coordination with states and other entities. These plans, which would identify rail alignments and stops, would be relevant to the approval process for federal capital grants for intercity passenger rail service. The bill requires Amtrak to develop a new plan for high-speed rail service in the Northeast Corridor. Among other provisions, DOT would be required to survey and report on track access arrangements for intercity passenger rail service and on the processes for resolving disputes over that access. In 2008, Congress mandated positive train control, which uses radio signaling to override human error in train control, on all track used to carry passengers or toxic-by-inhalation chemicals. MAP-21 would allow DOT to extend a railroad’s deadline for installation of positive train control from December 31, 2015, by one-year increments, but not beyond December 31, 2018. Freight Transportation9 Whether the federal government should make a more focused effort towards funding freight improvements has been one of the policy questions leading up to the reauthorization debate.10 The Senate bill (S. 1813) creates a new dedicated funding program for freight transport. While the House bill (H.R. 7) does not create a similar program, it does contain a number of provisions that significantly affect freight transport. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee-reported bill (§1115) establishes a new $2 billion-a-year program for roads and highways that are particularly critical to freight movement. The Secretary of Transportation would designate these roadways based primarily on freight volume and in consultation with shippers and carriers as the “Primary Freight Network” (PFN), consisting of 27,000 centerline miles of existing roadways. (For comparison, the existing Interstate Highway System consists of approximately 47,000 centerline miles). Through a formula allocation, states would be guided to spend their freight program apportionment on the PFN first before spending funds on other freight related infrastructure. States could also spend up to a maximum of 10% of their freight program apportionment for public or private freight rail or maritime projects. Funds could be used for a rail or maritime project only if the Secretary of Transportation determines that the project would make significant improvement to freight flow, that the public benefit exceeds the federal cost, and that the project provides a better return than a highway project on the PFN. 9 This section was written by John Frittelli, Specialist in Transportation Policy. See CRS Report R40629, Freight Issues in Surface Transportation Reauthorization, by John Frittelli and William J. Mallett. 10 Congressional Research Service 7 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S The House bill (H.R. 7) also appears to concentrate funding for freight transport, but does so by reducing funding for programs not relevant to shippers rather than by creating a separate freight program. For example, the House bill either eliminates funding or terminates federal mandates related to non-motorized travel, historic preservation, transportation museums, roadway beautification, and university research. Terminating the transfer of federal gas taxes to the mass transit trust fund in the House bill also would leave additional funds for roadway maintenance and construction, potentially benefiting truck transportation. The House bill seeks greater reliance on tolling to finance highway construction, an approach opposed by trucking organizations that prefer fuel tax increases over tolling to boost revenues. As introduced, H.R. 7 would have increased federal limits on truck weight from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds with an additional sixth axle. This was not approved in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; instead, the committee approved an amendment calling for a DOT study of the issue. H.R. 7 does contain a provision increasing the permitted length of double trailers that less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers typically use from 28 feet to 33 feet and increasing the permitted length of trailers that truckload carriers typically use to 53 feet. The House bill also increases the permitted length of auto transporters to 80 feet. The bill calls for a four year pilot program to allow up to three states to increase truck weights to 126,000 pounds on 25-mile Interstate Highway segments under certain conditions. The committee report mentions coal transport in West Virginia and timber trucking in Minnesota as participants in this pilot. Also, a weight exemption for idle reduction equipment was increased from 400 pounds to 550 pounds. The House bill contains provisions related to maritime and rail freight infrastructure.11 The bill states that it is the “sense of Congress” that revenues in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund should be fully spent by the Army Corps of Engineers for maintenance of waterside infrastructure (such as channel dredging and maintenance of jetties and breakwaters). Currently, Congress appropriates just over half of the cargo tax collected for this purpose.12 The bill seeks to facilitate access to a federal loan program for railroad infrastructure (the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program). The bill extends the deadline for railroad plans implementing positive train control (PTC, an advanced anti-collision system) from 2016 to 2021 for routes with passenger traffic and essentially eliminates the deadline for routes carrying certain toxic chemicals. The bill allows railroads the option of implementing equivalent safety measures and adjusting the routes over which the technology would be installed. Congress mandated PTC in 200813 in response to a deadly collision between a commuter and freight train in the Los Angeles area and releases of poisonous chemicals from rail tank cars after derailments in other parts of the country. Railroads and others have objected to positive train control as a high-cost remedy for relatively rare types of train accidents. Both the Senate and House bills require the U.S. Department of Transportation to prepare and update a national freight transport plan, in consultation with stakeholders, that is intended to articulate the nation’s priorities with respect to freight improvements. Also, provisions in both bills seeking to increase private-sector participation in financing transportation improvements, 11 In the Senate, railroads are the jurisdiction of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation which has not reported a bill related to rail infrastructure. 12 For further discussion of this issue, see CRS Report R41042, Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Expenditures, by John Frittelli. 13 The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-432), see §104. Congressional Research Service 8 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S such as expanding the TIFIA program,14 could enhance freight carriers and shippers’ roles in project planning and development. Environmental Review of Transportation Projects15 Both the House and Senate proposals include provisions intended to expedite project delivery by changing elements of the environmental review process. For individual highway and transit projects, activities included within that process may begin during the planning stage of project development and are generally concluded during the preliminary engineering and design stage. The process involves preparing documentation and analysis necessary to demonstrate that all potential project-related impacts to the human, natural, or cultural environment are identified; the effects of those impacts are taken into consideration among other factors considered during the decision-making process (e.g., economic or community benefits); and compliance with all state, tribal, or federal requirements, applicable as a result of those impacts, is met. Depending on project-specific impacts, various environmental requirements may apply to a given transportation project. Those requirements may involve activities such as obtaining necessary permits from the Army Corps of Engineers or the U.S. Coast Guard for a bridge reconstruction project; determining activities necessary to mitigate project effects on a historic site in consultation with a State Historic Preservation Office; or identifying a project alternative that avoids adverse impacts to parks, recreation areas, wildlife refuges, or historic sites or structures. For all proposed federal-aid highway or transit projects, some level of documentation, analysis, and review will be required pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. §4321 et seq.). Under NEPA, among other requirements, federal agencies must identify and consider the environmental impacts of a proposed action before proceeding with it.16 Before final design activities, property acquisition, or project construction can proceed, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or Federal Transit Administration (FTA) must approve the NEPA documentation. Further, it is DOT policy that all environmental investigations, reviews, and consultations be coordinated as a single process, and compliance with all applicable environmental requirements be reflected in the necessary NEPA document.17 Under this umbrella compliance process, the distinction between what is required by NEPA and requirements identified during the NEPA compliance process may be blurred. Recognizing that distinction is relevant in identifying root causes of project delay associated with, or effective solutions that may expedite, the environmental review process. Recent legislative efforts that intended to expedite environmental reviews (enacted under SAFETEA and TEA-21) focused 14 TIFIA stands for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, legislation that was enacted in 1998 as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) as amended (P.L. 105-178; P.L. 105-206) 15 This section was written by Linda Luther, Analyst in Environmental Policy. 16 See CRS Report RL33152, The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Background and Implementation, by Linda Luther, and CRS Report RS20621, Overview of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Requirements, by Kristina Alexander. 17 See the FHWA Environmental Review Toolkit website, regarding “NEPA and Project Development,” http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/projdev/index.asp. This website also has information applicable to transit projects. On project streamlining, see http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/index.asp, especially the information included under “Program Overview” and “SAFETEA.” Congressional Research Service 9 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S primarily on elements of NEPA compliance, particularly requirements applicable to major, new highway and transit projects. Provisions applicable to the environmental review process in H.R. 7 and MAP-21 also focus primarily on the NEPA compliance process, but include provisions that extend beyond NEPA.18 Generally, the House proposal would involve more sweeping changes to the existing process compared to those in MAP-21. Provisions in both bills are broadly intended to expedite highway and transit project delivery by changing existing environmental compliance requirements. A complex range of factors would affect the degree to which the proposed changes may accelerate the environmental review process, and ultimately project delivery, or may result in changes to the process that may actually slow project delivery (e.g., by removing mechanisms to coordinate the potentially complex environmental compliance process or by adding requirements to that process).19 In MAP-21, proposed changes to the environmental review process are largely included under Subtitle C, “Acceleration of Project Delivery.” Efforts to expedite overall project delivery in MAP-21 focus on elements of the NEPA process. They include provisions applicable to projects likely to involve repair or maintenance to existing facilities and would expand upon or continue certain requirements established under SAFETEA. Some provisions also include statements of congressional priorities or reinforce the continued need for activities currently being implemented by DOT or that are already included in DOT’s NEPA regulations. In addition to NEPA-specific requirements, MAP-21 would establish requirements applicable to agencies that may be required to provide some level of input or approval during NEPA document preparation. In the House bill, provisions applicable to the environmental review process are largely included under Title III, “Environmental Streamlining” (these provisions would generally amend FederalAid Highways requirements, but may also apply to transit projects), and Subtitle C, “Project Development and Review,” under Title VIII, Railroads (which would amend Title 49 requirements applicable to “Rail programs”). Provisions included under these titles would extensively change the NEPA requirements applicable to federal highway and transit projects. As proposed, NEPA would no longer apply to highway or transit projects that cost less than $10 million or for which federal funding constitutes 15% or less of total project costs. For projects still subject to NEPA, H.R. 7 would significantly change the NEPA compliance process by, among other requirements, changing the range of potential project alternatives that must be considered; the format of and analysis required in certain NEPA documents; and the level of evaluation required to determine cumulative project impacts. The House bill would also require agencies outside DOT to adhere to specific timeframes to provide necessary permits or approvals; establish a 270-day deadline for completing the overall environmental review process; and establish limits to judicial review and to legal sufficiency standards applicable to environmental documents. Provisions in the House proposal would also significantly amend requirements applicable to parks, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and historic sites or properties. 18 The summary of provisions included in this report is not intended to be an exhaustive list of those applicable to the environmental review process or to identify key policy issues associated with those provisions. For analysis of those issues, contact Linda Luther, Analyst in Environmental Policy (7-6852), or Kristina Alexander, Legislative Attorney in the American Law Division (7-8597). 19 See CRS Report R41947, Accelerating Highway and Transit Project Delivery: Issues and Options for Congress, by William J. Mallett and Linda Luther. Congressional Research Service 10 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Highway Safety20 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently has 10 programs making grants to states—one formula program and nine incentive grant programs—plus several other programs promoting highway safety. The House bill, H.R. 7, would consolidate all these programs into one general highway safety grant program, at a reduced level of funding. The House bill would prohibit the use of federal funding to measure the rate of motorcycle helmet usage or to create checkpoints for motorcyclists. The Senate highway safety provisions were marked up in S. 1449. As approved by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, the bill would retain most of NHTSA’s existing incentive grant programs and would create another: an incentive grant program to encourage states to make texting while driving and the use of a cell phone by drivers under age 18 primary traffic offenses. The Senate bill would authorize significantly higher highway safety grants in FY2012 and FY2013 than the House bill (see Table 5). The Commerce Committee has marked up but not yet reported out the bill; the authorizations shown in Table 5 and in Appendix Figure A-5 are taken from the bill as introduced. Table 5. Highway Safety Grants to States Million Dollars FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 Annually, FY2014-FY2016 $620 $550 — — H.R. 7 — — 493 493 Senate MAP-21 — 682 691 — Current Source: Current law: figures taken from DOT budget table in H.Rept. 112-284; H.R. 7 §5002; Map-21: S. 1449 §101. Commercial Trucking Safety21 Both the House and Senate bills would create a clearinghouse of drug and alcohol test results by commercial drivers in order to prevent drivers who have failed a test from avoiding penalties by switching employers. Both bills would also strengthen DOT’s ability to act against “reincarnated carriers”—carriers whose operations have been suspended due to safety violations which then resume operations under a new name. The two bills provide similar levels of funding for truck safety grants to states (see Table 6). The Senate bill (Division C, Title I of S. 1813 as amended by S.Amdt. 1761) would require that electronic on-board recorders be used on all trucks and buses (in interstate commerce) to improve compliance with hours-of-service regulations. The authorizations shown in Table 6 and in Appendix Figure A-6 are taken from the bill as introduced. 20 21 This section was written by D. Randy Peterman, Analyst in Transportation Policy. This section was written by D. Randy Peterman, Analyst in Transportation Policy. Congressional Research Service 11 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Table 6. Truck Safety Grants to States Million dollars FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 Annually, FY2014-FY2016 $310 $307 — — H.R. 7 — — 307 307 Senate MAP-21 — 310 315 — Current Source: Current law: figures taken from DOT budget table in H.Rept. 112-284; H.R. 7 §6101 & §6102; MAP-21: S. 1950 §606. Transportation Finance22 In the House, extending the authorities for the Highway Trust Fund and providing revenues to support the surface transportation bills fall under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee. On February 3, 2012, the committee marked up and reported favorably H.R. 3864, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act of 2012, which, as noted earlier, has been incorporated into H.R. 7. In the Senate, the Finance Committee considered the financial title of S. 1813, marking it up and reporting it favorably on February 7, 2012.23 Both the Senate and House committees worked to find additional revenues or budget offsets to bridge the gap between anticipated HTF revenues and the authorization levels in MAP-21 and H.R. 7. Financial Provisions in Senate Bill The finance title of the Senate bill, S. 1813, would extend highway-related taxes at current levels through FY2015 and would extend Highway Trust Fund expenditure authority through FY2013.24 The Senate Finance Committee’s bill as reported included a variety of revenue proposals aimed at raising revenue or providing offsets equal to $10.5 billion over the life of MAP-21. The proposals included transferring $3 billion from the balance of the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund; transfer of the Gas Guzzler Tax; transfer of certain import tariffs; and other changes. The LUST Trust Fund, established by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, receives revenues primarily from a 0.1 cent per gallon excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuels. Annual discretionary appropriations from the LUST Trust Fund support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states in administering the Leaking Underground Storage Tank 22 This section was written by Robert S. Kirk, Specialist in Transportation Policy; Mary Tiemann, Specialist in Environmental Policy; and Curry Hagerty, Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy. 23 For details on the committee’s action, see http://finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/release/?id=d22e89ff-f03c4652-a114-c1337cda3e95. Also link to JCT table of estimated revenue effects http://www.jct.gov/publications.html? func=startdown&id=4398. 24 The Senate Finance Committee bill would extend the LUST Tank Trust Fund financing rate of 0.1 cent per gallon through September 30, 2015. Congressional Research Service 12 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S (LUST) corrective action program and the underground storage tank (UST) leak prevention program, authorized under the Solid Waste Disposal Act.25 The fund had an unobligated balance of $3.392 billion at the beginning of FY2012. In FY2012, absent legislative changes, the fund is estimated to receive $117 million in interest payments on its unobligated balance and $181 million in tax receipts. For each of the past several fiscal years, Congress has appropriated approximately $113 million from the trust fund. States receive, as grants, a minimum of 80% of the annual appropriation. EPA uses the remainder to carry out its responsibilities, including implementing the program on Indian lands. The Senate Finance Committee’s bill would deposit $3.7 billion in balance transfers and future receipt transfers from the LUST trust fund into the Highway Trust Fund. Of this, $3.0 billion would be an immediate transfer of existing balances, and the other $0.7 billion would come from one-third of the future receipts of the 0.1 cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline and diesel fuel over the next 10 years. Financial Provisions in House bill The finance provisions of H.R. 7 reconfigure the Highway Trust Fund. Within this context, there are two gaps the bill needs to fill with revenue increases or offsets. One gap is the difference between the highway account revenues and balances and the authorized levels in the bill. The other is the $40 billion of general fund resources for the new alternative transportation account created by the bill. Oil and Gas Revenues The House bill extends highway-related taxes through FY2018 (§15003) and Highway Trust Fund expenditure authority through FY2016 (§15002). Unlike the Senate bill, it would not allocate balances or revenues from the LUST trust fund to the Highway Trust Fund; instead, H.R. 7, Section 15002(c) would amend the Internal Revenue Code to extend the LUST trust fund tax from April 1, 2012, until October 1, 2016. H.R. 7 originally sought to direct increases in federal revenues from onshore and offshore domestic energy leasing and production generated by reason of the enactment of Title XVII of H.R. 7 into the highway account of the Highway Trust Fund. This would establish a new allocation of government receipts from newly authorized leasing and drilling activities. The House approved the energy leasing and production provisions as separate bills on February 16, 25 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA; P.L. 99-499) amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act, Subtitle I (42 U.S.C. §6991-6991i) and authorized EPA and states to respond to spills and leaks from petroleum underground storage tanks (USTs). SARA also amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. §9508) to create the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund to help EPA and states cover the costs of responding to leaking petroleum USTs in cases where UST owners or operators do not clean up a site. Historically, EPA and the states used the annual LUST Trust Fund appropriation mainly to oversee and enforce corrective actions performed by responsible parties, and also to conduct corrective actions where no responsible party has been identified, where a responsible party fails to comply with a cleanup order, in the event of an emergency, and to take cost recovery actions. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 expanded state and EPA responsibilities and authorized the use of trust fund monies for the federal UST leak prevention and detection program as well as the LUST cleanup program. Congressional Research Service 13 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S 2012, under a rule specifying that they will be incorporated into H.R. 7 should H.R. 7 pass the House.26 The statutory basis for offshore energy development is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act,27 which is administered primarily by the Department of the Interior. The basic structure of the offshore program allows the Department of the Interior to lease the right to develop oil and gas resources in federal ocean areas in exchange for upfront payments, rental payments, and royalties. According to the department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue, federal receipts from offshore oil and gas came to $6.5 billion in FY2011. Under current law, receipts from existing offshore lease programs are allocated to a variety of programs by statute. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (established under P.L. 90-401) receives a $900 million annual allocation, and the National Historic Preservation Fund (established under P.L. 94-422) receives a $150 million allocation annually. In addition, portions of federal receipts from certain submerged acreage are permanently appropriated to the states, with the Gulf Coast states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) receiving additional funds from specified leases. Alternative Transportation Account Revenues and Alternative Financing Section 15005 of H.R. 7 renames the Mass Transit Account of the HTF the alternative transportation account, provides the account with a one-time appropriation of $40 billion, and transfers to the Highway Account, on the date of enactment, any amounts, based on fuel receipts, that have been transferred to the Mass Transit Account in FY2012. Title XVI, Federal Employee Retirement, appears to be included to provide offsetting revenues for the $40 billion in general fund revenues provided to the alternative transportation account over the life of the bill. An existing federal program providing credit assistance (secured loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit) to large transportation infrastructure projects is the TIFIA program. MAP-21 proposes several significant changes to the TIFIA program. Perhaps most importantly, the bill proposes to greatly enlarge the program by authorizing $1 billion annually, up from the $122 million annually in SAFETEA. Similarly, H.R. 7 authorizes $1 billion annually for TIFIA. These funds will be available to pay the administrative and subsidy costs28 of the program. Administrative costs are capped at 1% of this amount in MAP-21 and $3.250 million in H.R. 7. Assuming $990 million of the annual authorization is used to pay loan subsidy costs and the average subsidy cost is 10%, this may provide DOT with the capacity to make loans totaling $9.9 billion per year. In addition to enlarging the TIFIA program, H.R. 7 also proposes to authorize $750 million per year specifically for capitalizing state infrastructure banks (SIBs). Currently, each state is allowed to use a portion of its federal surface transportation funds to capitalize a SIB if it so chooses. 26 http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20120213/CPRT-112-HPRT-RU00-HR7RCP.pdf. H.Res. 547, the special rule from the Rules Committee, adopted by the House on February 15, 2012, provided for the consideration of H.R. 3408, which provided that revenues from newly authorized leasing and drilling activities should flow into the Highway Trust Fund. It also provided for consideration on H.R. 7. H.Res. 547 also provided that, if both bills pass the House, H.R. 3408 would be incorporated into H.R. 7, using the title and section designations appearing in Rules Committee Print 112-14. 27 43 U.S.C. §1331. 28 The subsidy cost is “the estimated long-term cost to the government of a direct loan or a loan guarantee, calculated on a net present value basis, excluding administrative costs,” Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (FCRA), §502 (5A). Congressional Research Service 14 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Appendix. Funding and Financial Data This Appendix contains six figures. Congressional Research Service 15 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Figure A-1. CBO Highway Trust Fund Projections Source: Congressional Budget Office. CRS-16 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Figure A-2. MAP-21 Authorizations CRS-17 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Source: MAP-21. CRS-18 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Figure A-3. MAP-21 Apportionments CRS-19 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Source: Federal Highway Administration. CRS-20 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Figure A-4. H.R. 7 Apportionments CRS-21 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Source: Federal Highway Administration. CRS-22 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Figure A-5. Funding for Highway Safety Programs Proposed in Senate Source: S. 1449. CRS-23 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Figure A-6. Funding for Commercial Vehicle Safety Programs Proposed in Senate Source: S. 1950. CRS-24 Surface Transportation Reauthorization in the 112th Congress: Summary and S Author Contact Information Marc Levinson, Coordinator Section Research Manager mlevinson@crs.loc.gov, 7-7240 William J. Mallett Specialist in Transportation Policy wmallett@crs.loc.gov, 7-2216 Robert S. Kirk Specialist in Transportation Policy rkirk@crs.loc.gov, 7-7769 David Randall Peterman Analyst in Transportation Policy dpeterman@crs.loc.gov, 7-3267 John Frittelli Specialist in Transportation Policy jfrittelli@crs.loc.gov, 7-7033 Mary Tiemann Specialist in Environmental Policy mtiemann@crs.loc.gov, 7-5937 Curry L. Hagerty Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy chagerty@crs.loc.gov, 7-7738 John Williamson Information Research Specialist jwilliamson@crs.loc.gov, 7-7725 Linda Luther Analyst in Environmental Policy lluther@crs.loc.gov, 7-6852 Key Policy Staff Area of Expertise Name Phone E-mail Legal analysis of environmental review issues Kristina Alexander 7-8579 kalexander@crs.loc.gov Freight, trucking, railroads, intermodal transportation John Frittelli 7-7033 jfrittelli@crs.loc.gov Outer continental shelf oil and gas exploration Curry Hagerty 7-7738 chagerty@crs.loc.gov Transportation finance, highway programs, motor fuels taxes Robert S. Kirk 7-7769 rkirk@crs.loc.gov Environmental review of transportation projects Linda Luther 7-6852 lluther@crs.loc.gov Mass transit, metropolitan planning, private financing of infrastructure William J. Mallett 7-2216 wmallett@crs.loc.gov Highway safety, motor carrier safety, passenger rail, appropriations D. Randy Peterman 7-3267 dpeterman@crs.loc.gov Leaking Underground Storage Tank fund Mary Tiemann 7-5937 mtiemann@crs.loc.gov Transportation statistics, history of federal transportation programs John Williamson 7-7725 jwilliamson@crs.loc.gov Congressional Research Service 25