Transportation Policy

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Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region’s future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. The United States held the two-year, rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council from April 24, 2015, to May 11, 2017.

Record low extents of Arctic sea ice over the past decade have focused scientific and policy attention on links to global climate change and projected ice-free seasons in the Arctic within decades. These...

Federal Grants to State and Local Governments: A Historical Perspective on Contemporary Issues

The federal government is expected to provide state and local governments about $728 billion in federal grants in FY2018, funding a wide range of public policies, such as health care, transportation, income security, education, job training, social services, community development, and environmental protection. Federal grants account for about one-third of total state government funding, and more than half of state government funding for health care and public assistance.

Congressional interest in federal grants to state and local governments has always been high given the central role...

Federal Disaster Assistance After Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Gustav, and Ike

This report provides information on federal financial assistance provided to the Gulf States after major disasters were declared in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas in response to the widespread destruction that resulted from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.

Though the storms happened over a decade ago, Congress has remained interested in the types and amounts of federal assistance that were provided to the Gulf Coast for several reasons. This includes how the money has been spent, what resources have been provided to...

Federal Public Transportation Program: In Brief

Federal assistance to public transportation is provided primarily through the public transportation program administered by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The federal public transportation program was authorized from FY2016 through FY2020 as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (P.L. 114-94). This report provides an introduction to the program as authorized by the FAST Act.

Major federal involvement in public transportation dates to the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 (P.L. 88-365). Prior to the mid-1960s there was...

Trends in Public Transportation Ridership: Implications for Federal Policy

Despite significant investments in public transportation at the federal, state, and local levels, transit ridership has fallen in many of the top 50 transit markets. If strong gains in the New York area are excluded, ridership nationally declined by 7% over the past decade. This report examines the implications for federal transit policy of the current weakness and possible future changes in transit ridership.

Although there has been a lot of research into the factors that explain transit ridership, there seems to be no comprehensive explanation for the recent decline. One complication is...

Federal Civil Aviation Programs: In Brief

Federal Aviation Administration; FAA; Airport and Airways Trust Fund; AATF; aviation trust fund; Airport Improvement Program; AIP; air traffic control; Next Generation Air Transportation System; NextGen; aviation safety

Appropriations: CRS Experts

Agriculture appropriations; Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations; Department of Defense appropriations, Energy and Water appropriations; Financial Services and General Provisions Government-wide appropriations; Departments of Homeland Security appropriations; Department of Interior, Environment appropriations; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education appropriations, Legislative Branch appropriations; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations, Department of State, Foreign Operations appropriations, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations.

Puerto Rico: CRS Experts

SUPPRESS Puerto Rico is in the midst of a fiscal crisis resulting from economic contraction, public sector debt, outmigration, and other factors. To address the crisis, Congress passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA; P.L. 114-187), which was enacted on June 30, 2016. PROMESA established the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (Oversight Board), created processes for adjusting the island’s public debts, among other provisions. PROMESA allocated no federal funds to Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rican Governor was charged with...

Positive Train Control (PTC): Overview and Policy Issues

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA08) requires implementation of positive train control (PTC) on railroads which carry passengers or have high-volume freight traffic with toxic- or poisonous-by-inhalation hazardous materials. PTC is a communications and signaling system that has been identified by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as a technology capable of preventing incidents caused by train operator or dispatcher error. PTC is expected to reduce the number of incidents due to excessive speed, conflicting train movements, and engineer failure to obey wayside...

The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program

Congress created the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program to offer long-term, low-cost loans to railroad operators, with particular attention to small freight railroads, to help them finance improvements to infrastructure and investments in equipment. The program is intended to operate at no cost to the government, and it does not receive an annual appropriation. Since 2000, the RRIF program has made 37 loans totaling $5.4 billion (valued at $5.9 billion in 2018 dollars). The program, which is administered by the Build America Bureau within the Office of the...

Security of Air Cargo Shipments, Operations, and Facilities

U.S. policies and strategies for protecting air cargo have focused on two main perceived threats: the in-flight detonation of explosives concealed in an air cargo shipment and the hijacking of a large all-cargo aircraft for use as a weapon to attack a ground target such as a major population center, critical infrastructure, or a critical national security asset. Additionally, there is concern that chemical, biological, or radiological agents or devices that could be used in a mass-casualty attack in the United States might be smuggled as international air cargo.

The October 2010 discovery...

Highway Bridge Conditions: Issues for Congress

Of the 614,000 public road bridges in the United States, about 56,000 (9%) were classified as structurally deficient in 2016. These figures—along with events such as the July 20, 2015, washout of the Interstate 10 Bridge near Desert Center, CA, and the partial closure of the Arlington Memorial Bridge, which connects Washington, DC, to Northern Virginia—have led to claims that the United States is experiencing a crisis with respect to deficient bridges. Federal data do not substantiate this assertion. The number of bridges classified as structurally deficient has fallen consistently since...

Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation

For many years, federal surface transportation programs were funded almost entirely from taxes on motor fuels deposited in the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Although there has been some modification to the tax system, the tax rates, which are fixed in terms of cents per gallon, have not been increased at the federal level since 1993. Prior to the recession that began in 2007, annual increases in driving, with a concomitant increase in fuel use, were sufficient in most years to keep revenue rising steadily. This is no longer the case. Although vehicle miles traveled have recently surpassed...

Federal Freight Policy: In Brief

freight, cargo, truck, rail, maritime, barge, shipping, port, congestion, infrastructure, RRIF, train, locks, inland waterways, army corps, dredging, harbor, surface transportation board, STB, jones act, cabotage, railroad, highway, longshore, marine highways, Title XI, shipyard, shipbuilding, ship construction, intermodal, Jones Act, FAST Act, P.L. 114-94

Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the 115th Congress

Funding authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), included in the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-190), expired at the end of FY2017. A subsequent six-month extension (P.L. 115-63) is set to expire at the end of March 2018. Long-term FAA reauthorization measures (H.R. 2997 and S. 1405) are currently under consideration. In addition to setting spending levels, FAA authorization acts typically set policy on a wide range of issues related to civil aviation. This report considers prominent topics in the 115th Congress reauthorization debate.

Most...

Funding Gaps and Government Shutdowns: CRS Experts

Contacting CRS Subject Matter Experts

In the event of a funding gap, the potential impacts of a government shutdown would depend on a program’s or agency’s specific circumstances and, furthermore, how relevant law is interpreted. Table 1 provides names and contact information for CRS subject matter experts on policy concerns and legal issues relating to funding gaps and the processes and effects that may be associated with a government shutdown. Policy areas that are identified in Table 1 include

agencies and programs funded by specific regular appropriations bills;

cross-cutting shutdown...

Congressional Commissions: Overview, Structure, and Legislative Considerations

Congressional advisory commissions are formal groups established to provide independent advice; make recommendations for changes in public policy; study or investigate a particular problem, issue, or event; or perform a duty. While no legal definition exists for what constitutes a “congressional commission,” in this report a congressional commission is defined as a multi-member independent entity that (1) is established by Congress, (2) exists temporarily, (3) serves in an advisory capacity, (4) is appointed in part or whole by Members of Congress, and (5) reports to Congress. These five...

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2018 Appropriations

The House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittees are charged with providing annual appropriations for the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and related agencies. THUD programs receive both discretionary and mandatory budget authority; HUD’s budget generally accounts for the largest share of discretionary appropriations in the THUD bill, but when mandatory funding is taken into account, DOT’s budget is larger than HUD’s budget. Mandatory funding typically accounts...

Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in Transportation

Public-private partnerships (P3s) in transportation are contractual relationships typically between a state or local government, who are the owners of most transportation infrastructure, and a private company. P3s provide a mechanism for greater private-sector participation in all phases of the development, operation, and financing of transportation projects. Although there are many different forms P3s can take, this report focuses on the two types of agreements that generate the most interest and discussion: (1) design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM); and (2) long-term lease.

P3s...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 114th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted by law to the President alone, or with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are some 350 full-time leadership positions in the 15 executive departments for which the Senate provides advice and consent. This report identifies all nominations submitted to the Senate during the 114th Congress for full-time positions in these 15 executive departments.

Information for each department is presented in tables. The tables include full-time positions confirmed by the Senate, pay...

Taiwan: Issues for Congress

Taiwan, which officially calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), is an island democracy of 23 million people located across the Taiwan Strait from mainland China. It is the United States’ tenth-largest trading partner. Since January 1, 1979, the U.S. relationship with Taiwan has been unofficial, a consequence of the Carter Administration’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and break formal diplomatic ties with self-ruled Taiwan, over which the PRC claims sovereignty. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA, P.L. 96-8; 22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.),...

Amtrak: Overview

Amtrak is the nation’s primary provider of intercity passenger rail service. It was created by Congress in 1970 to preserve some level of intercity passenger rail service while enabling private rail companies to exit the money-losing passenger rail business. It is a quasi-governmental entity, a corporation whose stock is almost entirely owned by the federal government. It runs a deficit each year, and relies on congressional appropriations to continue operations. Amtrak was last authorized in the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (Title XI of the Fixing America’s Surface...

Flooding Events: CRS Experts

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to flooding events in the United States. Policy areas identified include disaster assistance and recovery matters extending to impacts such as displaced residents and business, losses in agricultural production, disruptions in transportation (river, rail, and highway), problems with water treatment and supply; responses and recovery operations such as disaster declarations and federal assistance, public health provisions, federal flood insurance, agricultural disaster relief and...

Natural Disasters and Hazards: CRS Experts

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to natural disasters and hazards in the United States. Policy areas identified include disaster assistance and recovery matters extending to impacts such as displaced residents and business, losses in agricultural production, disruptions in transportation (river, rail, and highway), problems with water treatment and supply; responses and recovery operations such as disaster declarations and federal assistance, public health provisions, federal flood insurance, agricultural...

Hurricane Events: CRS Experts

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to hurricane events in the United States. Policy areas identified include disaster assistance and recovery matters extending to impacts such as displaced residents and business, , disruptions in the energy sector and transportation, problems with water treatment and supply; responses and recovery operations such as disaster declarations and federal assistance, public health provisions, federal flood insurance, agricultural disaster relief and assistance, tax relief,...

Department of Transportation (DOT): FY2018 Appropriations

In 2017, the Trump Administration proposed a $75 billion budget for the Department of Transportation (DOT) for FY2018: $16.4 billion in discretionary funding and $58.7 billion in mandatory funding. That is approximately $2 billion less than was provided for FY2017. The budget request reflected the Administration’s call for significant cuts in funding for transit and rail programs.

The DOT appropriations bill funds federal programs covering aviation, highways and highway safety, public transit, intercity rail, maritime safety, pipelines, and related activities. Federal highway, transit, and...

Tolling U.S. Highways and Bridges

The Federal-Aid Road Act of 1916 (39 Stat. 355), which provided federal funds to states for highway construction, included the requirement that all roads funded under the act be “free from tolls of all kinds.” Following the funding of the Interstate System in 1956, the “freedom from tolls” policy was reaffirmed (23 U.S.C. §301). Although the provision still exists, exceptions to the general ban on tolls now cover the vast majority of federal-aid roads and bridges. New roads, bridges, and tunnels may be tolled, and most existing roads, bridges, and tunnels may be tolled if they are...

Emergency Relief for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Transit Systems: In Brief

Major roads and bridges are part of the federal-aid highway system and are therefore eligible for assistance under the Emergency Relief Program (ER) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Following a natural disaster (such as Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which damaged highways in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina), or catastrophic failure (such as the 2013 collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in Washington State) ER funds are made available for both emergency repairs and restoration of federal-aid highway facilities to conditions comparable to those before the...

The Coast Guard’s Role in Safeguarding Maritime Transportation: Selected Issues

Congress has made the U.S. Coast Guard responsible for safeguarding vessel traffic on the nation’s coastal and inland waterways. Congress typically passes Coast Guard authorization bills every one to two years and appropriates funds to the agency annually under the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill. H.R. 2518, reported by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and S. 1129, reported by the Senate Commerce Committee, authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard for FY2018 and FY2019 and have provisions related to the agency’s safety mission.

The fleet of...

Effects of Buy America on Transportation Infrastructure and U.S. Manufacturing: Policy Options

With the aim of protecting American manufacturing and manufacturing jobs, Congress over the years has passed several domestic content laws. Statements and actions by the Trump Administration about reinvigorating domestic manufacturing and reinvesting in infrastructure have stimulated renewed interest in these laws, including Buy America. The President’s “Buy American and Hire American” initiative includes an executive memorandum requiring the Secretary of Commerce to develop a plan for new pipelines in the United States to be made from domestically produced iron and steel, and a separate...

Air Traffic Inc.: Considerations Regarding the Corporatization of Air Traffic Control

Over the past 40 years, Congress has intermittently considered proposals to establish a government corporation or private entity to carry out air traffic functions currently provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While the issue had been relatively dormant since a proposal offered by the Clinton Administration in the 1990s failed to gain the support of Congress, interest reemerged following budget sequester-related funding cuts to FAA in FY2013. In the 114th Congress, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ordered H.R. 4441, an FAA reauthorization bill that...

Selected Homeland Security Issues in the 115th Congress

In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, “homeland security” went from being a concept discussed among a relatively small cadre of policymakers and strategic thinkers to a broadly discussed issue among policymakers, including those in Congress. Debates over how to implement coordinated homeland security policy led to the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has continued under the leadership of different Administrations,...

Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations

As part of the process of making an appointment to an advice and consent position, the President submits a nomination to the Senate. Most nominations are referred to the appropriate Senate committee or committees on the day they are received. Such referrals are guided by Senate Rule XXV, which establishes the subject matter under the purview of each committee and directs that “all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating primarily to [those] subjects” be referred to that committee. Precedents set by prior referrals, standing orders, and unanimous...

Revitalizing Coastal Shipping for Domestic Commerce

In recent years, domestic shipborne commerce has lost much of its market to other modes. Although potential shipping routes run parallel to congested truck, railroad, and pipeline routes along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the Great Lakes region, the volume of cargo carried by domestic ships has declined by 61% since 1960, while the volume carried by other modes, including river barges, has more than doubled. Use of domestic ships has retreated to routes where overland modes are not available, such as between Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska and the U.S. mainland, and where oil...

U.S. Physical Infrastructure: CRS Experts

A nation’s physical infrastructure (for example, its transportation, water, energy, and communications systems and structures) serves as arteries for its economic and societal activity. The infrastructure of the United States was considered to be among the finest in the world, as post-World War II growth saw large amounts of investment in much of that infrastructure. Since all infrastructure structures and equipment have a finite useful life, some would say that functionality of U.S. infrastructure has declined over time.

Estimates of cost to meet the needs of the infrastructure sectors...

Surface Transportation Devolution

Surface transportation “devolution” refers to shifting most current federal responsibility for building and maintaining highways and public transportation systems from the federal government to the states. Devolution legislation has been introduced in each Congress since the mid-1990s, supported by Members who regard the federal government as being overinvolved in highways and public transportation. Under such proposals, the federal taxes that now support surface transportation programs, mostly fuels taxes, would be reduced in line with the shift of responsibility to the states. The states...

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2017 Appropriations

The House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittees are charged with providing annual appropriations for the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and related agencies. THUD programs receive both discretionary and mandatory budget authority; HUD’s budget generally accounts for the largest share of discretionary appropriations in the THUD bill, but when mandatory funding is taken into account, DOT’s budget is larger than HUD’s budget. Mandatory funding typically accounts...

Department of Transportation (DOT): FY2017 Appropriations

In February 2016, the Obama Administration proposed a $96.9 billion budget for the Department of Transportation (DOT) for FY2017. That is approximately $22 billion more than was provided for FY2016. The budget request reflected the Administration’s call for significant increases in funding for highway, transit, and rail programs.

The DOT appropriations bill funds federal programs covering aviation, highways and highway safety, public transit, intercity rail, maritime safety, pipelines, and related activities. Federal highway, transit, and rail programs were reauthorized in the fall of...

Commercial Truck Safety: Overview

More than 11 million large trucks travel U.S. roads, and almost 4 million people hold commercial driver’s licenses. In 2015, large trucks were involved in more than 400,000 motor vehicle crashes serious enough to be registered by police, with nearly 100,000 of those crashes causing injuries and around 3,600 resulting in fatalities. To address this situation, Congress has assigned the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)—primarily the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)—responsibility for regulating the safety practices of commercial motor carriers and drivers. In...

The Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF): An Overview

The Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF), sometimes referred to as the aviation trust fund, has been the primary funding source for federal aviation programs since 1972. It provides all funding for three major accounts of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), Facilities and Equipment (F&E), and Research, Engineering, and Development (RE&D). It also pays for most spending from FAA’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) account.

The trust fund is funded principally by a variety of taxes paid by users of the national aviation system. Revenue sources for...

Cross-Border Energy Trade in North America: Present and Potential

The United States, Canada, and Mexico in many ways comprise one large, integrated market for energy commodities. Canada, for example, is the single largest foreign supplier of crude oil to the United States, and the United States is Canada’s sole crude oil customer. Both Mexico and Canada are major buyers of petroleum products refined in the United States. A growing trade in natural gas produced in the United States is also increasingly important to the energy relationship among the three countries. Trade in the other energy commodities—electricity, natural gas liquids, and coal—is...

Transportation Security: Issues for the 115th Congress

The nation’s air, land, and marine transportation systems are designed for accessibility and efficiency, two characteristics that make them highly vulnerable to terrorist attack. While hardening the transportation sector from terrorist attack is difficult, measures can be taken to deter terrorists. The dilemma facing Congress is how best to construct and finance a system of deterrence, protection, and response that effectively reduces the possibility and consequences of another terrorist attack without unduly interfering with travel, commerce, and civil liberties.

Aviation security has...

Transportation Spending Under an Earmark Ban

In the 112th Congress, which convened in January 2011, the House and Senate began observing an earmark ban. Earmarks—formally known as congressionally directed spending—directed a significant amount of federal transportation spending prior to the ban. This report discusses how federal highway, transit, rail, and aviation funding were distributed before and after the earmark ban, and how Members of Congress might influence the distribution with a ban in place.

Currently, about 92% of federal highway funds and more than 75% of transit funds are distributed by statutory formulas. The use of...

Overview of Further Continuing Appropriations for FY2017 (H.R. 2028)

This report is an analysis of the provisions in H.R. 2028, which provides further continuing appropriations for FY2017 through April 28, 2017. The measure also included appropriations for the remainder of the fiscal year for Overseas Contingency Operations in the Security Assistance Appropriations Act (Division B). On December 10, 2016, the President signed H.R. 2028 into law (P.L. 114-254).

Division A of H.R. 2028 was termed a “continuing resolution” (CR) because it provided temporary authority for federal agencies and programs to continue spending in FY2017 in the same manner as a...

Legislative Options in the 114th Congress for Financing Water Infrastructure

This report addresses several options considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs. Some of the options exist and are well established, but they have been under discussion for expansion or modification. Other innovative policy options for water infrastructure have been proposed, especially to supplement or complement existing financing tools. Some are intended to provide robust, long-term revenue to support existing financing...

DHS Appropriations FY2017: Security, Enforcement, and Investigations

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2017. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the second title of the homeland security appropriations bill—Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Secret Service. Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in recent years as “Security, Enforcement, and Investigations.”

The report provides an overview of the...

Infrastructure Finance and Debt to Support Surface Transportation Investment

Investment in surface transportation infrastructure is funded mainly with current receipts from taxes, tolls, and fares, but it is financed by public-sector borrowing and, in some cases, private borrowing and private equity investment. Financing is normally not arranged at the federal level, as the federal government builds few transportation projects directly. This report discusses current federal programs that support the use of debt finance and private investment to build and rebuild highways and public transportation. It also considers legislative options intended to encourage greater...

The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government developed a unified regimen to identify and list known or suspected terrorists. The regimen has received repeated congressional attention, and this report briefly discusses for congressional policymakers how the U.S. government fashions and uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) to achieve such an end. It also discusses how the federal government engages in two travel-related screening processes—visa screening and air passenger screening. Both processes involve subsets of the Terrorist Screening Database.

The...

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Navigation System: Options for Growth

Congress faces infrastructure funding decisions that would support shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway (GLSLS). In the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (H.R. 5303, S. 2848), Congress may decide whether to permanently allocate 10% of certain harbor maintenance funds both to small ports and to Great Lakes ports. On the horizon are debates over construction of a second lock at Sault Ste. Marie, MI, and a second Great Lakes heavy icebreaker vessel. These projects would likely cost several hundred million dollars and take several years to complete.

These funding decisions...

The High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Grant Program: Overview

Since 1964, when Japan opened the first rail line allowing trains to travel safely at speeds greater than 150 miles per hour, several European and Asian countries have built high-speed rail lines. There have been frequent calls for the United States to develop similar high-speed rail services, but none have been built. The financial challenge of building high-speed rail lines, which requires many billions of dollars to be spent over a lengthy period before service opens and revenues begin to be collected, makes government financial support unavoidable. Governments in other countries have...

Overview of Continuing Appropriations for FY2017 (H.R. 5325)

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the continuing appropriations provisions for FY2017 in H.R. 5325. The measure also included provisions covering appropriations in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill for all of FY2017 (Division A), as well as emergency funds to combat the Zika virus and provide relief for flood victims in Louisiana and other affected states (Division B). On September 29, 2016, the President signed H.R. 5325 into law (P.L. 114-223).

Division C of H.R. 5325 was termed a “continuing resolution” (CR) because measures to...

Tolling U.S. Highways

Toll roads have a long history in the United States going back to the early days of the republic. During the 18th century, most were local roads or bridges that could not be built or improved with local appropriations alone. During the tolling boom of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the prospect of toll revenues allowed states to build thousands of miles of limited-access highways much sooner than would have been the case with traditional funding. The imposition of tolls on existing federal-aid highways is restricted under federal law, and while new toll facilities have opened in several...

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB): Background and Possible Issues for Reauthorization and Oversight

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is a small, independent federal agency with responsibility for investigating transportation accidents; conducting transportation safety studies; issuing safety recommendations; aiding victims’ families after aviation and passenger rail disasters; and promoting transportation safety.

The NTSB makes safety recommendations to federal and state agencies, transportation providers, and manufacturers, which may or may not choose to implement them. In recent years, NTSB recommendations have helped build support for laws enacted to mandate positive...

Mileage-Based Road User Charges

A mileage-based road user charge would involve assessing owners of individual vehicles on a per-mile basis for the distance the vehicle is driven. Currently, federal highway and public transportation programs are funded mainly by motor fuel tax receipts that flow into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The tax rates, set on a per-gallon basis, have not been raised since 1993, and receipts have been insufficient to support the transportation programs authorized by Congress since FY2008. The long-term viability of motor fuels taxes is also questionable because of increasing vehicle fuel...

Public Transportation Capital Investment Grant (New Starts) Program: Background and Issues for Congress

The Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program, often called New Starts, is a discretionary funding program for the construction of new fixed-guideway public transportation systems and the expansion of existing systems. Eligible projects include transit rail, including subway/elevated rail (heavy rail), light rail, and commuter rail, as well as bus rapid transit (BRT) and ferries.

The CIG program is one element of the federal public transportation program that is administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) within the Department of Transportation (DOT). In December 2015, the CIG...

Earthquake Risk and U.S. Highway Infrastructure: Frequently Asked Questions

Earthquakes and related events, such as soil liquefaction, landslides, tsunamis, flooding, and fires, pose risks to highway infrastructure. Concerns about the U.S. highway system’s seismic vulnerability stem from interest in protecting public safety, facilitating response and recovery efforts, and minimizing economic loss and social disruption. This report addresses a number of frequently asked questions about earthquake risk and highway system components, especially bridges.

The three components of seismic risk to the highway system are the likelihood of an earthquake of varying...

National Security Space Launch at a Crossroads

The United States is in the midst of making significant changes in how best to pursue an acquisition strategy that would ensure continued access to space for national security missions. The current strategy for the EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) program dates from the 1990s and has since been revised a few times. The program has been dogged by perennial concerns over cost and competition. Those same concerns are a major impetus for change today.

The EELV program stands at a crossroads today. Factors that prompted the initial EELV effort in 1994 are once again manifest—significant...

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Security, Enforcement and Investigations

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. It specifically discusses appropriations for the components of DHS included in the second title of the homeland security appropriations bill—Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS). Collectively, Congress has labeled these components in recent years as “Security, Enforcement, and Investigations.”

The report provides...

The Internet of Things: CRS Experts

“Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to networks of objects that communicate with other objects and with computers through the Internet. “Things” may include virtually any object for which remote communication, data collection, or control might be useful, such as meters, vehicles, appliances, medical devices, electric grids, transportation infrastructure, manufacturing equipment, or building systems. Although the full extent and nature of the IoT’s impacts remain uncertain, economic analyses predict that it will contribute trillions of dollars to economic growth over the next decade. Sectors...

The Federal Excise Tax on Motor Fuels and the Highway Trust Fund: Current Law and Legislative History

The federal government levies an excise tax on various motor fuels. Under current law, the tax rate is 18.3 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.3 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. A 0.1 cents per gallon tax is also levied on top of these fuel tax rates to help fund expenses associated with fuel regulation. These rates are not automatically adjusted for inflation. Specific tax rates also apply to special motor fuels. Under current law, federal motor fuels excise tax collections are credited to two federal spending accounts: the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and the Leaking Underground Storage...

Crude Oil Exports and Related Provisions in P.L. 114-113: In Brief

On December 18, 2015, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (H.R. 2029), which was signed by the President and became P.L. 114-113. Included in P.L. 114-113 is a provision that repeals Section 103 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA; P.L. 94-163), which directs the President to promulgate a rule prohibiting crude oil exports. For nearly four decades, repeal of EPCA was generally not a policy issue since oil production was declining and imports were rising. However, increasing U.S. light oil production starting in the 2010/2011 timeframe, projected...

Federal Highway Traffic Safety Policies: Impacts and Opportunities

In 2013, 32,000 Americans were killed in crashes involving motor vehicles. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for Americans overall, and the number one cause of death for teenagers. Millions of people are injured in crashes annually, and motor vehicle crashes are estimated to have cost some $242 billion in 2010 in lost productivity, medical costs, legal costs, property damage, and time lost in congestion caused by crashes.

The number of people killed in crashes has declined significantly over the past decade. The reasons for this sharp decline are not entirely clear. While...

Surface Transportation Funding and Programs Under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94)

On December 4, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94). The act authorized spending on federal highway and public transportation programs, surface transportation safety and research activities, and rail programs for five years, through September 30, 2020. The act’s authorization totaled roughly $305 billion for FY2016 through FY2020. This included $233 billion for highways and highway safety, $61 billion for public transportation, and more than $10 billion for Amtrak.

Most of the funding for surface transportation bills...

Highways and Highway Safety on Indian Lands

Cars and trucks are the primary means of transportation on Indian lands, mostly rural areas that cover about 56 million acres. There are about 145,000 miles of roads, owned variously by tribal, federal, state, and local governments, which provide access to and within these areas. Although comprehensive data are not available, roads on Indian lands are typically rudimentary and in poor condition.

A large share of federal funding for highways on Indian lands is provided through the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP), which is jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)...

Unmanned Aircraft Operations in Domestic Airspace: U.S. Policy Perspectives and the Regulatory Landscape

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), often referred to as “drones,” have become commonplace over the past few years. As UAS technology develops rapidly, the United States faces significant challenges in balancing safety requirements, privacy concerns, and economic interests.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA; P.L. 112-95) required the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace and issue regulations governing the operation of small unmanned aircraft used for commercial purposes....

Federal-Aid Highway Program (FAHP): In Brief

Federal-aid highways Highway construction Highway finance Alternative finance Highway Trust Fund Highway use tax Gasoline tax User charges Surface transportation reauthorization FAST Act Highway planning Infrastructure Transportation Federal Lands Transportation Program Federal Lands Access Program Tribal Transportation Program Transportation Alternatives Appalachian Development Highway System TIFIA Ferry Freight

Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal: CRS Experts

Fossil fuels play a dominant role in U.S. energy. The United States is a major producer and consumer of oil (and petroleum products), natural gas, and coal. U.S. fossil fuel reserves, production, processing and refining, distribution, markets, and use are of perennial interest among policymakers and the public. Ongoing concerns include retail gasoline prices, oil and other commodity markets, potential for expanded domestic supply, environmental effects of continued fossil combustion, and the benefits and drawbacks of trade in these commodities. The following tables provide access to names...

Federalism Issues in Surface Transportation Policy: A Historical Perspective

P.L. 114-94, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, was signed by President Obama on December 4, 2015. The act reauthorizes federal highway and mass transit programs through the end of FY2020. It also authorizes to be appropriated about $305 billion for these programs, an increase of about 4.2% over current funding levels plus projected inflation for highway programs and 7.9% over current funding levels plus projected inflation for public transportation programs.

Although the federal presence, and influence, on surface transportation policy remains significant, FAST is a...

Department of Transportation (DOT): FY2016 Appropriations

On February 2, 2015, the Obama Administration proposed a $93.7 billion budget for the Department of Transportation (DOT) for FY2016. That is about $22 billion (31%) more than was provided in FY2015. The budget request for DOT reflected the Administration’s call for significant increases in funding for highway, transit, and rail programs. Neither the surface transportation reauthorization legislation (H.R. 22) that the House and Senate are currently negotiating nor the DOT appropriations bill as passed by the House or reported out by the Senate Committee on Appropriations (H.R. 2577) would...

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2016 Appropriations

The House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations subcommittees are charged with providing annual appropriations for the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and related agencies. THUD programs receive both discretionary and mandatory budget authority; HUD’s budget generally accounts for the largest share of discretionary appropriations in the THUD bill, but when mandatory funding is taken into account, DOT’s budget is larger than HUD’s budget. Mandatory funding typically accounts...

House Transportation Bill Would Hold Spending Below Senate Bill

This report discusses the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRRA), which provides only those spending increases the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined are needed to cover projected inflation in the cost of the existing surface transportation program.

Cargo Preferences for U.S.-Flag Shipping

Long-standing U.S. policy has treated the U.S.-flag international fleet as a naval auxiliary to be available in times of war or national emergency. When the United States is involved in an extended military conflict overseas, 90% or more of military cargoes are typically carried by ship. To support the U.S. merchant marine, Congress has required that “government-impelled” cargo sent overseas be carried on U.S.-flag ships. Government-impelled cargo (a.k.a. “preference cargo”) is government-owned cargo, such as military supplies and food aid, and any cargo that is somehow financed by the...

Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation

Federal surface transportation programs are currently funded primarily through taxes on motor fuels that are deposited in the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Although there has been some modification to the tax system, the tax rates, which are fixed in terms of cents per gallon, have not been increased at the federal level since 1993. Prior to the recession that began in 2007, annual increases in driving, with a concomitant increase in fuel use, were sufficient to keep revenues rising steadily. This may no longer be the case. Although vehicle miles traveled have recently returned to...

Surface Transportation Program Reauthorization Issues for Congress

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141), a two-year authorization of federal spending on highway and public transportation programs, surface transportation safety and research, and some rail programs, was set to expire September 30, 2014. MAP-21 has been extended three times since then, most recently through October 29, 2015, by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-41). That legislation also transferred $8.07 billion from the Treasury general fund to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

Nearly all the...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 113th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted by law to the President alone, or with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are some 351 full-time leadership positions in the 15 executive departments for which the Senate provides advice and consent. This report identifies all nominations submitted to the Senate during the 113th Congress for full-time positions in these 15 executive departments.

Information for each department is presented in tables. The tables include full-time positions confirmed by the Senate, pay...

DRIVE Act Would Increase Highway Funding Faster than Projected Inflation

This report briefly discusses the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act; S. 1647). The DRIVE Act would authorize $278 billion for a six-year federal highway program.

Protecting Civil Aviation from Cyberattacks

This report briefly discusses cyber-security issues in civil aviation. unclear. A recent probe into alleged hacking incidents unfolded just weeks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) alerted airlines to be on the lookout for passengers trying to tap into aircraft electronics and for evidence of tampering or network intrusions.

Department of Homeland Security: FY2015 Appropriations

This report analyzes the FY2015 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While this report makes note of many budgetary resources provided to DHS, its primary focus is on funding approved by Congress through the appropriations process.

The Administration requested $38.332 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2015, as part of an overall budget of $60.919 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). The request amounted to a $0.938 billion, or 2.4%, decrease...

Selected Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 114th Congress

In 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, “homeland security” went from being a concept discussed among a relatively small cadre of policymakers and strategic thinkers to a broadly discussed issue in Congress. Debates over how to implement coordinated homeland security policy led to the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has continued under the leadership of different Administrations, Congresses, and in a shifting...

Deployable Federal Assets Supporting Domestic Disaster Response Operations: Summary and Considerations for Congress

For most disasters across the nation, the affected local, state, or tribal governments have sufficient capabilities to respond to the incident. However, for disasters with consequences that require unique capabilities or that overwhelm the existing capabilities of a respective state or tribal government, Congress has authorized and appropriated a suite of deployable federal assets to support domestic disaster response operations. This report reviews several key concepts about these federal assets, and highlights possible issues Congress may consider when evaluating their authorization and...

Rail Safety Efforts Miss Leading Cause of Fatalities

This report briefly discusses the debate over the reauthorization of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA08; P.L. 110-432). Congress is focusing on steps to prevent train derailments and collisions. Such incidents often receive extensive publicity and cause harm to bystanders, such as the residents of Mount Carbon, West Virginia, who were forced to evacuate after a train carrying crude oil derailed and burned on February 16, 2015.

Freight Infrastructure Issues in Surface Transportation Reauthorization

Goods movement has increased substantially over the past few decades as the economy and global trade have expanded. Freight transportation demand in tandem with passenger-side demand has caused congestion in many parts of the transportation system, resulting in slower and less reliable freight movement. Also, the condition and performance of freight infrastructure play considerable roles in the efficiency of the freight system and, therefore, are likely to be of significant congressional concern in the reauthorization of the surface transportation program that is currently authorized...

Deficient Bridge Count Drops Again

This report briefly discusses overall decline in the number of deficient bridges in 2014 and the long-term downward trend, particularly among bridges posing structural safety concerns.

Issues in the Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The funding authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), included in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95), expires on September 30, 2015. In addition to setting spending levels, FAA authorization acts typically set policy on a wide range of issues related to civil aviation. This report considers topics that are likely to arise as the 114th Congress debates reauthorization.

Most FAA programs are financed through the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF), sometimes referred to as the Aviation Trust Fund. The financial health of the AATF, which is funded...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 112th Congress

The President makes appointments to positions within the federal government, either using the authorities granted to the President alone or with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are some 349 full-time leadership positions in the 15 executive departments for which the Senate provides advice and consent. This report identifies all nominations submitted to the Senate during the 112th Congress for full-time positions in these 15 executive departments.

Information for each department is presented in tables. The tables include full-time positions confirmed by the Senate, pay levels...

NASA: Issues for Authorization, Appropriations, and Oversight in the 114th Congress

Spaceflight fascinates and inspires many Americans, but in a time of constrained federal budgets, it must compete with a multitude of other national priorities. As the 114th Congress conducts oversight and considers authorization and appropriations legislation for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an overarching question will be how NASA should move forward within budget constraints.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-267) set a new direction for NASA’s human spaceflight programs. For access to low Earth orbit,...

Federal Land Management Agencies: Appropriations and Revenues

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R43822 Summary A perennial focus for Congress is on appropriations for management of federal lands and resources. Issues include the purposes for which appropriations are used, factors influencing their distribution among states, and the extent to which appropriations are used on nonfederal lands. Congress also continues to be interested in the revenues derived from federal lands and resources. Questions relate to the amount of revenue generated on federal lands, the sources of revenue, and factors affecting the variation among states in...

Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Ebola in the United States: Frequently Asked Questions

Throughout 2014, an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has outpaced the efforts of health workers trying to contain it in three West African countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. (These are often referred to as “affected countries” or “countries with widespread transmission.” In mid-November, 2014, Ebola transmission also occurred for the second time in neighboring Mali. The extent of spread in Mali remains to be seen.) EVD cases have been imported to other countries, including the United States, where two nurses were infected while caring for a patient who had traveled from...

U.S. Rail Transportation of Crude Oil: Background and Issues for Congress

North America is experiencing a boom in crude oil supply, primarily due to growing production in the Canadian oil sands and the recent expansion of shale oil production from the Bakken fields in North Dakota and Montana as well as the Eagle Ford and Permian Basins in Texas. Taken together, these new supplies are fundamentally changing the U.S. oil supply-demand balance. The United States now meets 66% of its crude oil demand from production in North America, displacing imports from overseas and positioning the United States to have excess oil and refined products supplies in some...

Public Transportation Program and Funding Issues

The federal public transportation program, administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), is the primary means by which the federal government funds and regulates public transportation, such as local buses, subways, and ferries. The program was reauthorized through FY2014 as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141) and extended through May 31, 2015, as part of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-159). Funding was authorized at $10.6 billion in FY2013 and $10.7 billion in FY2014, with the extension continuing...

Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola or EVD): Experts List

Ebola virus disease (Ebola or EVD) is a severe, often fatal disease that was first detected near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1976. Originating in animals, EVD is spread to and among humans through contact with the blood, other bodily fluids, organs, and corpses of those infected. It is not transmitted through the air. In March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that an EVD outbreak had begun in Guinea. The outbreak has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal.

Border Security: CRS Experts

The following table lists the names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns related to border security. Policy areas identified include the following: Mission: scope, magnitude, relationship to departmental mission, functions and their interrelationships. Border surveillance: airports and air space; detection of nuclear and radiological materials; land borders; seaports and waterways. Immigration and foreign visitors: immigration; border “look out” systems; illegal entry; visa issuance and alien tracking. Transnational issues: border violence; foreign cooperation with...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 111th Congress, 2009-2010

This report explains the process for filling positions to which the President makes appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate (also referred to as PAS positions). It also identifies, for the 111th Congress, all nominations to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation in the 15 executive departments. It excludes appointments to regulatory boards and commissions and independent and other agencies, which are covered in other CRS reports.

The appointment process for advice and consent positions consists of three main stages. The first stage is selection, clearance, and...

Climate Change: CRS Experts

Department of Homeland Security: FY2014 Appropriations

This report analyzes the FY2014 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested $39.0 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2014, as part of an overall budget of $60.0 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $10,833 million; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), $4,997 million; Transportation Security...

Policy Issues in the General Motors Vehicle Recall

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, Department of Transportation, DOT, General Motors, GM, motor vehicle air bags, ignition switch, vehicle recalls, product liability, bankruptcy, chapter 11, highway safety, TREAD Act.

Highway and Public Transportation Infrastructure Provision Using Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)

Growing demands on the transportation system and constraints on public resources have led to calls for more private sector involvement in the provision of highway and transit infrastructure through what are known as “public-private partnerships” or “P3s.” A P3, broadly defined, is any arrangement whereby the private sector assumes more responsibility than is traditional for infrastructure planning, financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance. Some P3s involve the leasing by the public sector to the private sector of existing infrastructure, while others provide for a...

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2013 Appropriations

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations subcommittee is charged with providing annual appropriations for the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and related agencies. The HUD budget generally accounts for the largest share of discretionary appropriations provided by the subcommittee. However, when mandatory funding is taken into account, DOT’s budget is larger than HUD’s budget, because it includes funding from transportation trust funds. Mandatory funding typically accounts for a...

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2014 Appropriations

The House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations subcommittees are charged with providing annual appropriations for the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and related agencies. The HUD budget generally accounts for the largest share of discretionary appropriations provided by the subcommittee. However, when mandatory funding is taken into account, DOT’s budget is larger than HUD’s budget, because it includes funding from transportation trust funds.

The House and the Senate...

The Development of High Speed Rail in the United States: Issues and Recent Events

The provision of $8 billion for intercity passenger rail projects in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; P.L. 111-5) reinvigorated efforts to expand intercity passenger rail transportation in the United States. The Obama Administration subsequently announced that it would ask Congress to provide $1 billion annually for high speed rail (HSR) projects. This initiative was reflected in the President’s budgets for FY2010 through FY2014. Congress approved $2.5 billion for high speed and intercity passenger rail in FY2010 (P.L. 111-117), but has provided no funding for the...

Federal Freight Policy: In Brief

Federal-Aid Highway Program (FAHP) Under MAP-21: In Brief

Federal-aid highways Highway construction Highway finance Alternative finance Highway Trust Fund Highway use tax Gasoline tax User charges Surface transportation reauthorization MAP-21 Highway planning Infrastructure Transportation Federal Lands Transportation Program Federal Lands Access Program Tribal Transportation Program Transportation Alternatives Appalachian Development Highway System TIFIA Ferry

Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 113th Congress

With the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), many observers have made a fresh assessment of where America’s homeland security enterprise stands today. DHS is currently the third-largest department in the federal government, although it does not incorporate all of the homeland security functions at the federal level. The definition of homeland security remains unsettled, and questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of the department have been raised since it was first proposed. Evolution of America’s response to terrorist threats has...

U.S. Coal Exports

The gap between available U.S. coal supply and demand may continue to widen as low cost natural gas becomes more attractive to electric power plants and uncertainties with emission regulations may inhibit new coal plant investments. Coal producers with excess supply will likely seek to expand their market abroad. Consequently, U.S. coal exports are forecast to continue to rise over the next decade and possibly longer. Growth potential in Asian markets seems large, but there are potential bottlenecks, such as infrastructure and potential rising costs of regulation, competition from other...

Department of Homeland Security: FY2013 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2013 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested $39.510 billion in adjusted net discretionary budget authority for DHS for FY2013, as part of an overall budget of $59.501 billion (including fees, trust funds, and other funding that is not appropriated or does not score against the budget caps). The request amounted to a $90 million, or 0.2%, decrease from the $39.600 billion enacted for FY2012 through the consolidated appropriations act (P.L. 112-74).

Congress did not enact final FY2013 appropriations legislation...

FY2013 Supplemental Funding for Disaster Relief

On January 29, 2013, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, a $50.5 billion package of disaster assistance largely focused on responding to Hurricane Sandy, was enacted as P.L. 113-2.

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy impacted a wide swath of the East Coast of the United States, resulting in more than 120 deaths and the major disaster declarations for 12 states plus the District of Columbia. The Administration submitted a request to Congress on December 7, 2012, for $60.4 billion in supplemental funding and legislative provisions to address both the immediate losses and damages...

Tolling of Interstate Highways: Issues in Brief

Toll roads Tolling Interstates Highway finance Public-private partnerships Congestion pricing Commerce Clause

Public Transportation New Starts Program: Background

The New Starts program is a discretionary funding program for the construction of new fixed-guideway public transportation systems and the expansion of existing systems. Eligible projects include transit rail, including subway/elevated rail (heavy rail), light rail, and commuter rail, as well as bus rapid transit (BRT) and ferries. Public transportation, as defined in federal law, does not include transportation by school bus, intercity bus, or intercity passenger rail (Amtrak).

The New Starts program is one element of the federal public transportation program that is administered by the...

Federal Emergency Management: A Brief Introduction

The federal government plays a significant role in emergency management, which generally refers to activities associated with avoiding and responding to natural and human-caused hazards. Emergency management in the United States is highly decentralized and contextual in nature: activities often involve multiple jurisdictions as well as a vast number of agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector entities. In addition, the number and type of actors involved in an incident will vary tremendously depending on the context and severity of the event. Similarly, the legal...

Emergency Relief Program: Federal-Aid Highway Assistance for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Bridges

Report that looks at the eligibility of major highways and bridges recently damaged by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene to receive Emergency Relief Program assistance from the Federal Highway Administration.

Surface Transportation Funding and Programs Under MAP-21: Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141)

On July 6, 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141). The act authorized spending on federal highway and public transportation programs, surface transportation safety and research, and some rail programs and activities through September 30, 2014. MAP-21 authorized roughly $105 billion for FY2013 and FY2014 combined. It also extended FY2012 surface transportation authorizations to the end of the fiscal year, raising the total authorization to approximately $118 billion.

Most of the funding for surface transportation...

Pilotless Drones: Background and Considerations for Congress Regarding Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System

Report that covers the history and current status of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Particular attention is paid to recent privacy implications and potential intrusiveness of drone operations that have emerged as a significant issue before Congress. It also looks at the current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) timeline to establish six test ranges throughout the United States to study unmanned aircraft integration technical issues.

Aviation and the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme

Water Resources and Water Quality: CRS Experts

The following table provides names and contact information for CRS experts on policy areas relating to water quality and water resources. Several broad water resource and water quality policy areas are identified and include the following: Water Quality (e.g., surface and groundwater quality, wastewater treatment, drinking water treatment); Water Resource Development, Management, and Use (e.g., dams, levees, navigation and hydropower development); Aquatic Resources Protection and Management (e.g., fisheries management, ecosystem restoration) Water Rights and Compacts; and Water Project...

Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation in the 112th Congress: MAP-21, H.R. 7, and H.R. 4348—Major Provisions

The federal government’s highway, mass transit, and surface transportation safety programs are periodically authorized in a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill. The most recent reauthorization act, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU or SAFETEA; P.L. 109-59), expired at the end of FY2009. Since then, the surface transportation programs have been funded under extension acts.

The main obstacle to passage of a new multi-year bill during the past two years has been the disparity between projected spending and...

Passenger Train Access to Freight Railroad Track

Pressure is building for greater passenger use of freight railroad rights of way. Freight railroad rights of way are owned by private, for-profit corporations, and the routes potentially most useful for passenger service are typically the busiest with freight traffic. In many cases, states or commuter rail authorities have reached agreement with freight railroads to share either their track or right of way. However, unlike Amtrak, which has eminent domain power over freight facilities and can appeal to a federal agency to determine the terms of its access to freight track, other would-be...

Homeland Security Department: FY2012 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2012 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a total appropriation (mandatory and discretionary) of $45,015 million in budget authority for FY2012. This amounts to a $1,610 million, or a 3.7%, increase from the $43,405 million enacted for FY2011 through the continuing resolution (P.L. 112-10). Total budget authority, including appropriations, fee revenues, and trust funds in the Administration’s budget request for DHS for FY2012 amounts to $57,079 million as compared to $55,783 million enacted for FY2011.

Net...

FY2012 Appropriations Overview: Status of Discretionary Appropriations Legislation

This report presents an overview of proposed and enacted FY2012 appropriations legislation. The report consists primarily of a table showing discretionary appropriations, by bill title, for each of the proposed and enacted appropriations bills, together with the comparable figures enacted for FY2011. The product is intended to allow for broad comparison between the House and Senate FY2012 proposals, the Administration’s FY2012 request, and the FY2011 and FY2012 enacted appropriations. The figures do not necessarily reflect budget scorekeeping adjustments allowable under the Budget Control...

Surface Transportation Program Reauthorization Issues for the 112th Congress

The law authorizing federal surface transportation programs expired at the end of FY2009, but Congress has failed to enact a new authorization. Surface transportation programs continue to operate on the basis of authority provided in extension legislation.

This situation should not be a surprise to those familiar with the history of the reauthorization process. Especially during the last two decades, reauthorization has become a difficult undertaking. This is primarily due to controversy over how and to whom federal-aid highway funds should be distributed. The most recent law, the Safe,...

Boosting U.S. Exports: Selected Issues for Congress

For many years, the U.S. government has played an active role in promoting U.S. commercial exports of goods and services by administering various forms of export assistance through federal government agencies. Congress has had a long-standing interest in the effectiveness and efficiency of federal export promotion activities and may exercise export promotion authority in a number of ways, including through oversight, authorization, and funding roles.

The recent global economic downturn has renewed congressional interest in U.S. government efforts to expand U.S. exports levels. In addition,...

Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 112th Congress

With the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, many observers are making a fresh assessment of where America’s homeland security enterprise stands today. In the wake of those attacks, Congress made extensive changes to the structure and function of many agencies, establishing a consolidated Department of Homeland Security and dedicating significant additional resources expressly to the security of the homeland. After the initial surge of activity, evolution of America’s response has continued under the leadership of different Administrations, Congresses, and in a...

FY2011 Appropriations: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Key Proposals and Enacted Legislation

FY2011 funding levels were not enacted in the 111th Congress. Thus, the debate over FY2011 appropriations continued into the 112th Congress and FY2011 spending proposals became a key focal point in the budget debates between the now-Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Obama Administration.

This report was originally intended to facilitate comparison of three key spending proposals for FY2011—the Administration’s budget request, H.R. 1, and S.Amdt. 149 to H.R. 1—to FY2010 enacted funding levels. It has been updated to include the enacted FY2011 appropriations in P.L....

Homeland Security Department: FY2011 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2011 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $45.0 billion in budget authority for FY2011. This amounts to a $1.1 billion, or a 2.4% increase from the $43.9 billion enacted for FY2010. Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2011 amounts to $52.6 billion as compared to $51.7 billion enacted for FY2010.

Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $9,809 million; Immigration and Customs...

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico: CRS Experts

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2011 Appropriations

President Obama requested a total of $123.7 billion for FY2011 for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the related agencies that are funded through the annual Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations (THUD) act. This request represented an increase of approximately $1.6 billion (1.3%) over the $122.1 billion provided in the FY2010 THUD appropriations act.

During the second session of the 111th Congress, the House passed an FY2011 THUD appropriations bill (H.R. 5850) that would have provided $126.4...

Changes in Airport Passenger Screening Technologies and Procedures: Frequently Asked Questions

This report contains answers to numerous questions regarding airport passenger screening.

Revised Federal Standards for Traffic Signs: Frequently Asked Questions

Report that addresses some of the questions that have been raised about the changes made by the Federal Highway Administration to certain standardized street and highways signs.

Critical Infrastructure Security: CRS Experts

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to critical infrastructure security. Policy areas identified include: mission, magnitude, importance, relationship to departmental mission; policy, organization, and operations across all infrastructures; information disclosure, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); security services, airport screeners, guards; specific sectors, assessing vulnerabilities, planning and implementation; agriculture; banking and finance; chemical; defense industry; emergency systems; energy;...

Screening and Securing Air Cargo: Background and Issues for Congress

The October 2010 discovery of two explosive devices being prepared for loading on U.S.-bound all-cargo aircraft overseas has heightened concerns over the potential use of air cargo shipments to bomb passenger and all-cargo aircraft. The incidents have renewed policy debate over air cargo security measures and have prompted some policymakers to call for comprehensive screening of all air cargo, including shipments that travel on all-cargo aircraft.

U.S. policies and strategies for protecting air cargo have focused on two main perceived threats: the bombing of a passenger airliner carrying...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 110th Congress, 2007-2008

The appointment process for advice and consent positions consists of three main stages. The first stage is selection, clearance, and nomination by the President. This step includes preliminary vetting, background checks, and ethics checks of potential nominees. At this stage, the president may also consult with Senators who are from the same party if the position is located in a state. The second stage of the process is consideration of the nomination in the Senate, most of which takes place in committee. Finally, if a nomination is approved by the full Senate, the nominee is given a...

Public Transit New Starts Program: Issues and Options for Congress

The New Starts program provides federal funds to public transit agencies on a largely competitive basis for the construction of new fixed-guideway transit systems and the expansion of existing fixed-guideway systems. New Starts has funded the development of bus rapid transit (BRT) and ferries, as these are eligible under the definition of fixed-guideway, but the vast majority of funding has gone to transit rail systems. Partly as a result of federal support, rail transit route-mileage in the United States almost doubled between 1985 and 2008, and rail transit passenger trips and passenger...

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Selected Issues for Congress

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation: The Future of Commercial Trucking Across the Mexican Border

This report discusses the implementation of trucking provisions set forth by NAFTA that would have opened the border states to cross-border trucking competition in 1995 and all of North America in 2000. The full implementation of the provisions has been stalled because of concern with the safety of Mexican trucks.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization: An Overview of Legislative Action in the 111th Congress

This report tracks the status of ongoing legislative action and debate related to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization. It is organized into six major program areas: aviation system finance; airport financing; FAA management and organizational issues; system capacity and safety; environmental issues; and airline industry issues. In several cases, provisions that appear in various unrelated sections of proposed legislation have been rearranged in this report in an effort to group and discuss related items in an issue-driven or programmatic context. Since this report is...

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA): Issues and Options for Congress

This report provides background information about the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) system, describes the major issues WMATA currently faces, and discusses possible approaches for addressing these issues.

Public Transit Program Funding Issues in Surface Transportation Reauthorization

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL34183 Summary As enacted in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA; P.L. 109-59), federal public transit assistance programs were authorized through September 2009. Congress has so far failed to enact a multi-year reauthorization; consequently, federal transit programs have been operating as a result of a series of short-term legislative extensions. Decisions about reauthorization will likely hinge on the amount of funds available from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust...

How Agencies Monetize “Statistical Lives” Expected to Be Saved By Regulations

Federal health, safety, and environmental regulations are often designed to reduce the risk of death, illness, or injury from exposure to a particular hazard (e.g., arsenic in drinking water or rollover car crashes). As part of an economic analysis required by Executive Order 12866, the issuing agencies often place a monetary value on these expected health benefits by determining the number of “statistical lives” that the rules are expected to extend or save, and then multiplying that number by an estimated “value of a statistical life” (VSL). For example, if 100,000 people are each...

Repairing and Reconstructing Disaster-Damaged Roads and Bridges: The Role of Federal-Aid Highway Assistance

This report describes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assistance for the repair and reconstruction of disaster-damaged highways and bridges or catastrophic failures (such as a bridge collapse).

Metropolitan Transportation Planning

Federal law requires state and local governments to designate a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) in each urbanized area with a population of 50,000 or more to help plan surface transportation infrastructure and services. There are currently 381 MPOs nationwide. Despite some strengthening of their authority over the years, MPOs have generally remained subordinate to state departments of transportation (DOTs) in the planning and selecting (“programming”) of projects using federal surface transportation funds. Moreover, it can be argued that at the metropolitan level MPOs are...

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2010 Appropriations

President Obama requested a total of $123.1 billion for the agencies included in H.R. 3288, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations (THUD) bill for FY2010. This request represented an increase of approximately $14.1 billion (12.9%) over the $109.1 billion provided in the FY2009 THUD appropriations act (Division I of P.L. 111-8). The enacted legislation provided $122.1 billion, less than 1% ($977 million) below the President’s request and 12% ($13.4 billion) more than the comparable FY2009 funding (not including the FY2009 emergency funding)....

Airport Improvement Program (AIP): Reauthorization Issues for Congress

This report discusses the Airport Improvement Program and its complement, the passenger facility charge (PFC), within the broader context of airport capital development finance. After a brief history of federal support for airport construction and improvement, the report describes AIP funding, its source of revenues, funding distribution, and the types of projects the program funds.

Terrorist Watchlist Checks and Air Passenger Prescreening

This report discusses the controversy continues to surround U.S. air passenger prescreening and terrorist watchlist checks. In the past, such controversy centered around diverted international flights and misidentified passengers. Recent incidents raise new policy issues regarding the interaction between these broader terrorist databases and systems and the "No-Fly" and selectee lists, as well as the relationship between passenger prescreening processes.

Homeland Security Department: FY2010 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2010 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $44.1 billion in budget authority for FY2010. This amounts to a $2.8 billion, or a 6.7% increase over the $41.2 billion enacted for FY2009 (not including supplemental funding). Total budget authority requested by the Administration for DHS for FY2010 amounts to $55.1 billion.

Net requested appropriations for major agencies within DHS were as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $10,049 million; Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

High Speed Rail (HSR) in the United States

This report provides an overview of high speed rail in the United States. It discusses definitions of high speed rail, looks at high speed rail in selected other countries, and describes congressional initiatives to promote HSR, including provisions in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-432) and ARRA. The report then surveys rationales for developing HSR, cost estimates for HSR, and some of the challenges expected in implementing HSR.

Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation in the 111th Congress: Summary of Selected Major Provisions

The existing authorization for federal surface transportation programs provided by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU or SAFETEA) expires on September 30, 2009. Congress is now considering legislation that would either reauthorize these programs or extend the existing program into at least part of the next fiscal year.

While it considers reauthorization or extension legislation, Congress has also had to address an ongoing financial shortfall in the highway account of the Highway Trust Fund. Just before leaving for its...

The Federal Role in Rail Transit Safety

On June 22, 2009, two transit trains in Washington, DC, collided, resulting in nine deaths and dozens of injuries. It was the worst crash in the history of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's rail transit system. This crash has raised questions about the safety of rail transit and the government's role in ensuring that safety. Nationwide, rail transit is considered one of the safest modes of transportation. This report discusses the State Safety Oversight Program, which went into effect in 1997 and mandates that states are responsible for the safety of the rail transit...

Freight Issues in Surface Transportation Reauthorization

Economic growth and global trade have led to dramatic increases in goods movement over the past few decades. Despite current economic woes, this trend is expected by many to continue over the long term. The growth in freight transportation demand, in tandem with growing demand on the passenger side, has caused congestion in many parts of the transportation system, making freight movements generally slower and, in some instances, less reliable. Many observers argue that unless there are significant and focused increases in freight infrastructure investment, the freight system will become...

Thirty-Five Years of Water Policy: The 1973 National Water Commission and Present Challenges

Concern about the availability and use of water to support the nation’s people, economy, and environment has bolstered interest in establishing a national water commission. The commission structure proposed in recent legislation (e.g., H.R. 135) is similar to that of the 1968-1973 National Water Commission (NWC or Commission). As proposed in H.R. 135, the commission would assess future water demands, study current management programs, and develop recommendations for a comprehensive water strategy. Questions about a commission as an effective model and which topics a commission might...

Proposals for a Congressional Commission on the Financial Crisis: A Comparative Analysis

This report provides a comparative analysis of six proposed congressional advisory commissions that would investigate various aspects of the recent financial crisis and economic downturn. The report specifically discusses (1) the membership structure, (2) appointment structure, (3) rules of procedure and operation, (4) duties and reporting requirements, (5) powers of the commission, (6) staffing issues, and (7) funding. Tables 1 through 7 (at the end of the report) summarize major provisions of the six proposals.

The six proposed commissions are found in Senate amendment 995 to S. 386...

Recess Appointments Made by President George W. Bush

Under the Constitution, the President and the Senate share the power to make appointments to the highest-level politically appointed positions in the federal government. The Constitution also empowers the President unilaterally to make a temporary appointment to such a position if it is vacant and the Senate is in recess. Such an appointment, termed a recess appointment, expires at the end of the following session of the Senate. This report identifies recess appointments made by President George W. Bush during his presidency. Basic descriptive statistics regarding these appointments are...

Homeland Security Department: FY2009 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2009 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $38,849 million in budget authority for FY2009. The House Appropriations Committee reported its version of the FY2009 DHS Appropriations bill on June 24, 2008. The bill was filed on September 18, 2008, as H.R. 6947, and the accompanying report has been numbered H.Rept. 110-862. House-reported H.R. 6947 would have provided a net appropriation of $41,137 million in budget authority for DHS for FY2009. This amounted to an increase of $2,288...

Transportation and Transportation Security Related Provisions of House and Senate Stimulus Legislation (H.R. 1)

This report discusses the major transportation and transportation security-related provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) as passed by the House on January 28, 2009, and the Senate on February 10, 2009. The report also discusses the major transportation provisions of the conference report on H.R. 1 (H.Rept. 111-16), which was passed by both the House and Senate on February 13, 2009, and signed by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009.

National Aviation Security Policy, Strategy, and Mode-Specific Plans: Background and Considerations for Congress

In the years leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States lacked a comprehensive national policy and strategy for aviation security. The approach to aviation security was largely shaped by past events, such as the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988, rather than a comprehensive evaluation of the full range of security risks. The 9/11 Commission concluded that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, revealed failures of imagination, policy, capabilities, and management by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. intelligence...

Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization: An Overview of Selected Provisions in Proposed Legislation Considered by the 110th Congress

Funding authorization for aviation programs set forth in Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (P.L. 108-176) and authorization for taxes and fees that provide revenue for the aviation trust fund expired at the end of FY2007. While Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation was considered during the 110th Congress, the only related legislation enacted consisted of several short term extensions for aviation trust fund revenue collections and aviation program authority. The Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act, Part II (P.L. 110-330) extends these...

States and Proposed Economic Recovery Plans

This report examines arguments presented by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National Governors Association (NGA) to include state fiscal assistance in an economic recovery plan, several arguments to exclude state assistance from such a plan, and the implications the proposals presented by NCSL and NGA might have for the economy. It also examines issues related to the targeting of state fiscal assistance and arguments for and against including infrastructure construction projects in an economic recovery plan, and presents key provisions in proposed economic...

The Role of Public Works Infrastructure in Economic Stimulus

Interest in using federal government spending to stimulate U.S. economic recovery has intensified recently in response to indicators showing significant deterioration of the economy. Policymakers at all levels of government are debating a range of options to address these problems. Some favor using traditional monetary and fiscal policies. Others, however, favor making accelerated investments in the nation’s public infrastructure in order to create jobs while also meeting infrastructure needs. This report is an overview of policy issues associated with the approach of using infrastructure...

Highway Bridges: Conditions and the Federal/State Role

Reauthorization of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC): Opportunity to Reexamine the Congressionally Mandated Antitrust Exemption for Ocean Liner Carriers?

The focus of this report is on the commercial aspects of the U.S. liner trade. The report discusses the historical rationale for shipping conferences and legislative history of U.S. shipping law.

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2009 Appropriations

The FY2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (THUD) provides funding for the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and five independent agencies related to those two departments.

The Bush Administration requested net budgetary authority of $102.5 billion (after scorekeeping adjustments) for FY2009, a cut of $36 million (less than 1%) from the comparable FY2008 level. DOT would receive a net total of $63.5 billion, a cut of $1 billion from the comparable FY2008 level. HUD would receive...

U.S. Airline Industry: Issues and Role of Congress

This report provides an overview of selected airline-related issues currently subject to congressional oversight and/or possible legislation. Many of the issues discussed in the report are also addressed in some fashion as part of the ongoing congressional debate about re-authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Public-Private Partnerships in Highway and Transit Infrastructure Provision

This report begins with a brief discussion of the surface transportation system and its financing needs as background to the debate on public-private partnerships (PPPs). That is followed by sections describing the different types of PPPs, with details of a few prominent examples, and the development of federal legislation with respect to PPPs. The report then discusses the main issues of contention with the construction and longterm leasing of highways by the private sector, particularly as they relate to the funding, planning, and operation of the surface transportation system, before...

Presidential Appointments to Full-time Positions in Executive Departments During the 109th Congress, 2005-2006

During the 109th Congress, the President submitted to the Senate 283 nominations to executive department full-time positions. Of these 283 nominations, 233 were confirmed; nine were withdrawn; and 41 were returned to him in accordance with Senate rules. For those nominations that were confirmed, an average of 75 days elapsed between nomination and confirmation. The median number of days elapsed was 57. These statistics do not include the days during which the Senate was adjourned for its summer recesses and between sessions of Congress.

President George W. Bush made a total of 13 recess...

Transportation Fuel Taxes: Impacts of a Repeal or Moratorium

The report includes an introduction regarding the increase in crude oil and refined product prices and discusses the proposals to offset effects of higher crude oil prices and the impact on markets and prices.

Airport Improvement Program: Issues for Congress

European Union–U.S. Trade and Investment Relations: Key Issues

Public Transit Program Issues in Surface Transportation Reauthorization

Homeland Security Department: FY2008 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2008 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $35.5 billion in net budget authority for FY2008. The requested net appropriation for major components of the department included the following: $8,783 million for Customs and Border Protection (CBP); $4,168 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); $3,608 million for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA); $8,457 million for the U.S. Coast Guard; $1,399 million for the Secret Service; $1,047 for the National Protection...

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2008 Appropriations

The FY2008 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (THUD) provides funding for the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and five independent agencies related to these two departments.

The Bush Administration requested $100.3 billion (after scorekeeping adjustments) for FY2008, an increase of $300 million (less than 1%) over FY2007. DOT would receive $64.5 billion, $1.3 billion more than provided in FY2007. HUD would receive $35.6 billion, $1.0 billion less than provided in FY2007.

A...

Surface Transportation Congestion: Policy and Issues

Surface transportation congestion most likely will be a major issue for Congress as it considers reauthorization of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA), P.L. 109-59, which is set to expire on September 30, 2009. By many accounts, congestion on the nation’s road and railroad networks, at seaports and airports, and on some major transit systems is a significant problem for many transportation users, especially commuters, freight shippers, and carriers. Indeed, some observers believe congestion has already reached crisis...

Aviation Congestion and Delay: System-Wide and New York-Area Issues

Aviation congestion and delay is an issue of long standing. Statistically, there was a significant increase in congestion and delay throughout the national aviation system in 2007. The situation has been especially noticeable at certain key airports, namely the New York region in general and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in particular. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and its operating agency, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), have promised to take actions aimed at reducing congestion and delay both in the short and long terms. In the short term, DOT is...

Rail Transportation of Coal to Power Plants: Reliability Issues

Half the nation’s electricity comes from coal, and most of that coal is delivered to power plants by railroads. The reliable supply of coal by rail is therefore important to the electric power system. Concern over reliable deliveries of coal and other commodities, limited rail system capacity, and related issues such as rail rates, sparked several congressional hearings in 2006.

This report provides background information and analysis on coal transportation by rail to power plants. The report discusses:

Problems since 1990 with the rail delivery of coal.

Implications of rail capacity...

Air Cargo Security

FY2007 Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Other Purposes

On Thursday, May 24, the House and Senate approved a compromise on H.R. 2206, a bill providing $120 billion in supplemental appropriations for FY2007. The President signed the bill into law, P.L. 110-28, on May 25. In the House, the key vote to pass the bill was on approval of the rule, H.Res. 438, which was adopted by 218-201. The rule deemed the bill to be passed after the House adopted two amendments, which were subsequently approved by votes of the Senate then approved the House-passed measure by a vote of 80-14.

The final bill provides money for military operations in Iraq,...

Transportation, the Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, the Executive Office of the President, and Independent Agencies (TTHUD): FY2007 Appropriations

The Bush Administration requested $138.5 billion (after scorekeeping adjustments) for these agencies for FY2007, an increase of $2.3 billion over the $136.2 billion Congress provided in the agencies’ FY2006 appropriations act (this FY2006 figure reflects a 1.0% across-the-board rescission that was included in the FY2006 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, P.L. 109-148). The total FY2006 funding (after scorekeeping adjustments) for the agencies in this bill was $146.3 billion, due to emergency supplemental funding provided to deal with the effects of the Gulf Coast hurricanes of...

H.R. 1 (Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007) and S. 4 (Improving America’s Security Act of 2007): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 1 (Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007) and S. 4 (Improving America’s Security Act of 2007) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (January 9, 2007) and Senate (March 13, 2007) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process and as the analyses began. Titles unique to S. 4 follow...

Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Background and Issues for Congress

Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other aviation programs is likely to be a high priority in the 110th Congress. Funding authorizations for aviation programs, as well as authorization of existing aviation tax structure that provides revenue for the aviation trust fund, are set to expire at the end of FY2007. Congress may consider a variety of financing options to maintain the ability of the aviation trust fund to provide a sufficient revenue stream for ongoing operational costs and planned infrastructure improvements. One particularly controversial...

Presidential Appointments to Full-time Positions in Executive Departments During the 108th Congress, 2003-2004

During the 108th Congress, the President submitted to the Senate 166 nominations to executive department full-time positions. Of these 166 nominations, 120 were confirmed; eight were withdrawn; one was returned to the President at the end of the first session; and 37 were returned to him at the end of the second session of the 108th Congress. For those nominations that were confirmed, an average of 98 days elapsed between the time of the nomination and the nomination’s receipt and confirmation. The median number of days elapsed was 83. These statistics do not include the days during which...

Homeland Security Department: FY2007 Appropriations

The annual consideration of appropriations bills (regular, continuing, and supplemental) by Congress is part of a complex set of budget processes that also encompasses the consideration of budget resolutions, revenue and debt-limit legislation, other spending measures, and reconciliation bills. In addition, the operation of programs and the spending of appropriated funds are subject to constraints established in authorizing statutes. Congressional action on the budget for a fiscal year usually begins following the submission of the President’s budget at the beginning of each annual session...

U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military, and Commercial

The future of the U.S. human space flight program is dominating debate about NASA. Pursuant to the "Vision for Space Exploration" announced by President Bush in January 2004, the shuttle program is to be terminated in 2010. The Vision directs NASA to focus its activities on returning humans to the Moon by 2020 and eventually sending them to Mars. How to manage Department of Defense (DOD) space programs to avoid the cost growth and schedule delays that have characterized several recent projects is a key issue facing DOD. The appropriate role of the government in facilitating commercial...

Space Launch Vehicles: Government Activities, Commercial Competition, and Satellite Exports

This report various sides of the debate related to domestic launch services, such as satellite export issues, the development of new launch vehicles by the private sector, and whether tax incentives or loan guarantees should be created for companies attempting to develop lower-cost launch vehicles.

Homeland Security Department: FY2006 Appropriations

This report describes the FY2006 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Administration requested a net appropriation of $30.6 billion in net budget authority for FY2006, of which $29.6 billion is discretionary budget authority, and $1 billion is mandatory budget authority. P.L. 109-90 was signed into law on October 18, 2005, and provides a net appropriation of $31.9 billion for DHS and $30.8 billion in discretionary budget authority.

The President’s request for appropriations includes the following break out of net budget authority for the four Titles of the DHS...

Transportation, the Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, the Executive Office of the President, and Independent Agencies: FY2006 Appropriations

At the beginning of the 109th Congress, both the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations reorganized their subcommittee structure, affecting the coverage of the FY2006 appropriations bills. As a result, the appropriations subcommittees that previously oversaw the Departments of Transportation and the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, and Independent Agencies now also oversee the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, and (in the case of the House, but not the Senate) the District of Columbia.

The Bush Administration requested $126.1 billion for...

California's San Joaquin Valley: A Region in Transition

CRS was requested to undertake a study of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and a comparison with another U.S. region. The eight-county San Joaquin Valley, part of California's Central Valley, is home to 5 of the 10 most agriculturally productive counties in the United States. By a wide range of indicators, the SJV is also one of the most economically depressed regions of the United States. This report analyzes the SJV's counties and statistically documents the basis of current socioeconomic conditions. The report further explores the extent to which the SJV shares similarities with and...

Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU or SAFETEA): Selected Major Provisions

On August 10, 2005, President Bush signed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU or SAFETEA) (P.L. 109-59). This act reauthorizes federal surface transportation programs through the end of FY2009. The reauthorization was long overdue, given that the previous long term authorization, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) (P.L. 105-206) expired on September 30, 2003.

The reauthorization debate was primarily characterized by two interrelated issues, money and how that money would be distributed among the...

Railroad Reorganization Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code: Implications of a Filing by Amtrak

In 1997, Congress enacted the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act, the goal of which was to promote Amtrak’s self-sufficiency with respect to operating funds within five years. The law has provisions directing Amtrak to make plans for its liquidation in the event that it does not reach the goals set forth. It directs the Amtrak Reform Council to present Congress a plan for restructuring intercity rail passenger service. It also directed the General Accounting Office to report on the implications of Amtrak’s possible liquidation.

Many years have passed, and Amtrak has realized neither...

H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (October 8, 2004) and Senate (October 6, 2004) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill, because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process to date. For purposes of clarity, we refer to the House-passed bill as...

A Return to Private Security Screening at Airports?: Background and Issues Regarding the Opt-Out Provision of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act

A provision in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA, P.L. 107-71 Section 108; 115 Stat. 611) permits each airport where federal screeners are currently deployed to request private screeners instead of federal screeners starting in November 2004. A pilot program created by the act was established at five airports to examine the advantages and disadvantages of private airport screening. Concerns have been raised, however, that the pilot program may provide too small a sample and, as currently implemented, is too similar in design to the federal screening function to make a...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 107th Congress, 2001-2002

During the 107th Congress, 354 nominations to executive department full-time positions were submitted to the Senate. Of these nominations, seven were submitted by President Clinton before he left office and were withdrawn by President Bush on March 19, 2001. President Bush submitted 347 nominations, of which 297 were confirmed, two were withdrawn, 35 were returned to him at the August 2001 recess, one was returned to him at the adjournment of the first session, and 12 were returned to him at the end of the 107th Congress. President Clinton made eight recess appointments during the...

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Executive Departments During the 106th Congress, 1999-2000

This report focuses on presidential nominations and Senate confirmations to the 330 full-time positions in the 14 executive departments to which the President makes appointments, with the advice and consent of the Senate. During the 106th Congress, President Clinton submitted 136 nominations and made 18 recess appointments to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate confirmed 108 nominations and returned 24; the President withdrew four nominations. On average, the Senate took 105 days (three and a half months) to confirm a nomination. Sixty-eight nominations (63%)...

Airport and Airway Trust Fund Issues in the 106th Congress

This report briefly discusses the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21 or FAIR21), which helps ensure that all aviation trust fund receipts (including interest) are spent for aviation purposes on an annual basis.

Aviation: Direct Federal Spending, 1918-1998

The federal government has played a large role in the development of aviation. In the ten years prior to 1918 this role was exclusively military in origin. Beginning in 1918, with the first air mail flights, commercial aviation became a growing focus of federal attention and assistance. In the intervening 80 years the federal government has spent $155 billion in support of aviation activities. This report details, and comments on, federal assistance provided directly in support of commercial aviation. Direct assistance in this view can take several forms; for example, the...