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The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient
Transportation Equity Act of 2003

Section-By-Section Analysis


SEC. 3001. SHORT TITLE. [Legislation]

The Federal transit program has grown far beyond the original orientation of "urban renewal" in the 1960's Great Society initiatives. Today, this program also embraces rural and other non-urban constituencies. The title of this bill is meant to reflect this evolution by referring to "public" transportation instead of "mass" transportation.


To further reflect the change in emphasis expressed in section 3001, beginning with section 5301 and throughout the rest of chapter 53, the term "mass transportation" would be replaced, where appropriate, with "public transportation." "Public" is broader by definition and is the term more commonly used by the transit industry.


Section 5301(a) currently states that it is in the national interest to encourage and promote the development of transportation systems that embrace various modes of transportation and efficiently maximize the mobility of individuals and goods in and through urbanized areas and to minimize transportation-related fuel consumption and air pollution. As amended, the provision would highlight the positive impact on the nation's economy when the development and revitalization of public transportation systems, which minimize environmental impacts and reliance on foreign oil, is fostered.

Currently, section 5301(e) requires that a special effort be made to preserve the environment and important historical and cultural assets when carrying out capital programs funded under sections 5309 and 5310. These principles should apply to all chapter 53 public transportation programs. Therefore, this bill would amend section 5301(e) to reflect this objective.

SEC. 3004. DEFINITIONS. [Legislation]

Section 3037 of TEA-21 authorized the Job Access and Reverse Commute Grants (JARC) program. This section would codify this program in chapter 53 of title 49, U.S.C., at section 5308. Therefore, definitions for the terms "access to jobs project," "reverse commute project," and "welfare recipient" would be added to section 5302.

Capital costs for crime prevention and security are allowable as formula grant expenditures. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recognizes that grantees are in need of non-capital security training and drilling, which is currently not authorized for Federal funding. The definition of "capital project" under section 5302(a)(1a) would be amended to include capital security needs, training, and drilling. However, the term would not include the funding of operation costs, such as police on the beat. In addition, "capital project" would be expanded to include a debt service reserve for the reasons stated in the analysis for section 3020 of the bill. Also, "capital project" would be amended to include a project for remediation associated with construction of a capital project as described in section 5302(a)(1a) on a brownfields site as defined in 42 U.S.C. 9601, since public transportation improvements are often critical to the redevelopment of contaminated properties.

Section 5307 would be amended to allow the Secretary to also make urbanized area public transportation formula grants for "mobility management." Therefore, section 5302, "Definitions," would be amended to define the term "mobility management." For purposes of chapter 53, "mobility management" would mean an activity or project that addresses public transportation customer needs, tailors public transportation services to specific markets, manages demand for public transportation, and involves land use compatibility issues. Such goals could be accomplished by coordinating transportation service provider strategies and enhancing ridership growth in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Mobility management functions would involve managing public transportation travel logistics and would focus on resolving consumer mobility issues.

The term would not include the direct provision of transportation service. Mobility managers could serve as transportation travel agents, consumer advocates, and service coordinators. Urbanized formula funds would be available to cover expenses incurred for mobility management staff, planning and transportation coordination activities, and the information technology and other support activities associated with the mobility management function.

The definition of "urbanized area" would be revised to better reflect the Department of Commerce's role in designating urbanized areas.

Currently, specific capital grant making authority for crime prevention and security is only found in section 5321 of title 49, U.S.C. This section, which was added in 1987 in response to growing crime on New York City subways, has never received direct appropriations and, therefore, would be repealed.


The Department of Transportation is proposing to consolidate the metropolitan planning provisions currently at 23 U.S.C. 134 and 49 U.S.C. 5305 into one chapter, that is, a new chapter 52 of title 49, U.S.C. (See 49 U.S.C. 5203, as proposed. ) For ease of reference, section 5303 would be amended to reflect that grants made under sections 5307-5311, 5316, and 5317 are to be carried out in accordance with chapter 52. See Title VI of the bill.

SEC. 3006. STATEWIDE PLANNING. [Legislation]

The Department is proposing to amend the statewide planning provisions currently at 23 U.S.C. 135, which is cross referenced at 49 U.S.C. 5323(l), and provide a common statewide planning section (section 5204) for both FTA and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in a new chapter 52 of title 49, U.S.C. For ease of reference, section 5305 of title 49, U.S.C., would be amended to reflect that grants made under sections 5307-5311, 5316, and 5317 are to be carried out in accordance with chapter 52. See Title VI of the bill.

SEC. 3007. PLANNING PROGRAMS. [Legislation]

The term "State" would be defined in section 5305(a)(1) more narrowly than in the otherwise applicable general definition in order to exclude territories. This would correct a re-codification error, since the programs do not provide funds to the territories.

Section 5305(a)(2) would define "Planning Emphasis Area" (PEA) for the first time. Periodically, FTA identifies PEAs for special emphasis by States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the upcoming year's use of planning program funds. The PEAs are not mandatory but seek to provide general emphasis from the Federal level. The PEAs have been identified now for over 20 years and the proposed definition conforms to the accepted understanding of the term.

Current subsection 5303(g) would move to subsection 5305(b) and would be changed from "Transportation Plans and Programs" to "General Authority" for consistency with FTA's other program subsections. Language would be added for transportation plans and programs since these are the primary products of the Federally funded transportation planning process. Section 5305(b)(3) would explicitly authorize eligibility for peer exchanges and activities related to peer reviews. Subsection 5303(h) would move to subsection 5305(c) and be renamed from "Balanced and Comprehensive Planning" to "Purpose." (Note: Existing section 5303(h)(4) would be eliminated since it is obsolete with the addition of new urbanized areas in the 2000 decennial census of population).

Section 5303(d)(2) would be moved to section 5305(h)(2), and modified by directing States to promptly make allocations of planning funds to MPOs and eliminating any direct Department role. FTA would retain flexibility with respect to an administrative formula for areas over 1 million population (currently added in the apportionments to States on a per capita basis).

Section 5305(e) would move the existing State planning and research program from 49 U.S.C. 5313(b). The amendment would not change the formula for apportionments and would consolidate the formula planning programs in section 5305.

Section 5305(f) would establish a Capacity Building program to support and fund innovative practices and enhancements in transportation planning. The program would promote activities that support and strengthen the planning processes required under 49 U.S.C. 5203 and 5204. The program would be implemented in two ways. First, incentive grants would be made available to States, metropolitan planning organizations, and transportation operators to be used to plan, develop and implement innovations and enhancements of planning practices that support and strengthen the planning processes required under sections 5203 and 5204. Second, the Secretary would conduct research, engage in program development, collect and disseminate information, and provide technical assistance in connection with metropolitan and statewide planning processes.

The Secretary could conduct these activities independently or carry them out by making grants or entering into contracts or cooperative agreements. Funds to carry out this program would be provided in section 5338(a) and (b) and allocated in accordance with section 5305(h)(1). Subsection (h)(1) would allocate $5 million for capacity building, and of the remainder, 82.72% would be available for metropolitan planning under subsection (d), and 17.28 percent to carry out the general authority under subsection (b) and the statewide planning and research program under subsection (e). A counterpart highway program would be funded at $15 million, for a total of $20 million in program funding. FTA and FHWA would cooperatively administer the two programs. The 82.72% and 17.28% split is identical with the split authorized in TEA-21.

Existing section 5303(h)(5) would move to a new section 5305(g), "Government's Share of Costs," and would apply to both planning programs.

Section 5305(i) would provide the period of funding availability that is identical to current funding availability under section 5303.


The section 5306 heading would be revised to better emphasize the scope within which private enterprise participation is encouraged.


Section 5307(d)(1)(I), which requires grantees to have "a locally developed process" to solicit public opinion before raising a fare or substantially reducing service, would be deleted. Because Urbanized Area Formula dollars cannot be used for operating expenses, FTA does not have the fiscal justification or policy basis for intruding into local operations matters, such as how a grantee determines its fares.

Currently, subsection 5307(j) requires that grantees submit annual reports on sales of advertising and concessions. This subsection would be deleted because it is redundant with a similar requirement of the National Transit Database.

Subsection 5307(k) dealing with "transit enhancement activities" would be mainstreamed into a new subparagraph (J) in section 5307(d)(1). Currently, that subsection allows for a one percent set aside for transit enhancements, requires a report listing the projects carried out during the preceding years with transit enhancement funds, and provides for the reapportioning unobligated funds after three years. Under new subparagraph (J), a recipient with at least a population of 200,000 in its urbanized area would be required to certify that one percent of its section 5307 funds would be expended on transit enhancements. Reporting would be required under FTA's normal grant management procedures. Such a provision would relieve FTA from making separate one-percent apportionments for transit enhancement activities, e.g., for three years, FTA had to track, separately, then reapportion, a mere $68,000 of $20 million made available in the fiscal year 1998 apportionment of Urbanized Area Formula dollars.

Currently, the Urbanized Area Formula program allows the local match to include revenues from advertising and concessions. However, these matching revenues are limited to those made in excess of revenues earned in 1985. By striking this 1985 baseline in section 5307(e), aggressive local financing, particularly by systems experiencing growth, would be fostered.

Section 5307(i) would be redesignated as section 5307(h) and amended to give the Secretary discretion to require annual audits rather than mandate them. There would remain an audit requirement pursuant to the Single Audit Act (Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133), which requires an annual audit of all Federal grantees receiving Federal grants exceeding $300,000 (constituting about 83 percent of all section 5307 grants). Auditing small grants under $300,000, which are exempted by A-133, would be discretionary, but based on FTA's annual risk assessment process. This amendment would relieve large grantees of a duplicative audit process and would relieve small grantees, who satisfy FTA's risk assessment analysis, of the audit requirement.

Under current law, section 5307(n)(1) states that 18 U.S.C. 1001, regarding false or fraudulent statements, only applies to certificates or submissions provided pursuant to section 5307, "Urbanized Area Formula Grants." That paragraph would be moved to section 5323, General Provisions on Assistance. Under section 5223, 18 U.S.C. 1001 would apply to any Federal public transportation grant program. See sections 3009(i) and 3020.

The Clean Fuels Formula Grant program was established in TEA-21 and codified at 49 U.S.C. 5308. Subsequently, Congress precluded the availability of funds for this program through later enactments of law. Regardless, the purpose of this program has long been fulfilled through capital grants for buses. In fact, 40 percent of buses procured with Federal transit assistance use alternative fuels. Therefore, the Department is proposing that the Clean Fuels Formula Grant program be replaced with the Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program.


Section 5311(a) would define an eligible recipient and subrecipient of other than urbanized area program funds.

Section 5311(b) would allow other than urbanized area formula grants to be used for capital transportation projects, or operating assistance projects, including the acquisition of transportation services, provided the projects are contained in a State program of public transportation service projects (including agreements with private providers of public transportation services).

Under current law, recipients of grants and contracts to carry out transportation research, technical assistance, training, and related support services (the Rural Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP)) have to compete annually for scarce National Planning and Research funds. Section 5311(b)(3), as redesignated, would provide up to two percent of section 5311 funds to carry out RTAP activities. Such an amendment would better correlate with the amount of rural service available, thereby stabilizing the program. If the formula funding level for rural transit increases, a proportionate level of funding for training and technical assistance delivered at the State level would be available. In short, as the rural program grows, more funds would be required for increased training needs; however, FTA expects that no more than the current two percent of the amount available to carry out section 5311 would be needed for RTAP expenses in future fiscal years. New paragraph (4) would allow the Secretary to use up to 15 percent of the two percent to sustain ongoing national project activities such as the National Transit Resource Center, production training modules, and occasional rural transit research projects of national interest.

New section 5311(c) would provide for an "incentive program." Pursuant to new section 5311(c)(2)(A), of the amounts that would be apportioned under the incentive program, the Secretary could use a portion to make grants to establish data collection systems capable of collecting the data necessary to determine whether there have been increases in public transportation patronage. As indicated in section 5311(c)(2)(C), these data are essential to the determination of whether a State may receive funds under the incentive program. In order to allow sufficient time to establish these data systems, the Secretary may use 100 percent of the amount apportioned in 2004, i.e., $2.5 million; $1.5 million in 2005; and $0.5 million in 2006. Section 5311(c)(2)(D) would also allow the Secretary to consider how well increases in public transportation patronage have been accommodated without reducing the efficiency of transit service. The provision would allow the performance awards to be varied depending on the changes in service provision efficiency, while still emphasizing that the performance incentives are based primarily on improving the outcomes of the Federal transit assistance programs by focusing first on public transportation patronage.

The basic section 5311 program amount apportioned to States would be distributed pursuant to the same formula currently being used and now set forth in section 5311(c)(3), as follows:

The total remaining amount to be apportioned in each fiscal year under 5311(c)(1)(A) would be multiplied by a ratio equal to the population of a State's non-urbanized areas divided by the population of all non-urbanized areas in the United States, as shown by the most recent Federal government decennial census of population.

Section 5311(f) would be amended to strike "after September 30, 1993," since that date has passed. Section 5311(f)((2) would require the State to consult with affected intercity bus service providers before certifying that the State's intercity bus service needs are being met adequately. Such consultation would help to ensure the State's awareness of any intercity bus service needs.

Subsection 5311(g) would retain the Federal share for any capital project at 80 percent or less of the net costs of such a project, as determined by the Secretary. Also retained would be the Federal share for operating assistance at 50 percent or less of the net costs of an operating project, as determined by the Secretary. Consistent with current law, the remainder would not include revenues from the operation of public transportation systems. Rather, the remainder could be provided from a variety of other sources including undistributed cash surpluses or from amounts appropriated or made available for transportation from any other Federal department or agency other than the Department of Transportation, except for Federal Lands Highway funds. Current section 5311(e)(2), which prohibits a State from limiting the level or extent of the Government's share for operating expenses, would be moved to section 5311(g)(2) under the heading "Government's Share of Costs."

Current subsection (h), which allows section 5311 funds to be used for operating assistance, would be included under the General Authority provision at subsection (b). A new section 5311(h) would create an Indian Reservation Rural Transit program under which States would provide grants to Indian tribes to operate, maintain, and establish rural transit programs on reservations or other land under the jurisdiction of the Indian tribes. Of the $10 million available to carry out this subsection in fiscal years 2004 through 2009, $9.5 million would be available to States based on the formula, and $500,000 would be available to the Secretary to provide technical assistance, including best practices and outreach, to the States and Tribes through grants, contracts, or other arrangements. Any remaining funds available three years following the fiscal year in which they were apportioned would be reapportioned to the States.

Section 5311(i), "Relationship to other laws", would codify existing Department of Labor practice of using a Special Warranty that provides a fair and equitable arrangement to protect the interests of employees without referring the application for negotiation. It also would authorize the Secretary to waive the Special Warranty for private non-profit subrecipients on a case-by-case basis as currently authorized under the section 5310 program.

SEC. 3011. NEW FREEDOM PROGRAM. [Legislation]

Seventy percent of persons with disabilities are unemployed due in part to transportation barriers. A new section 5317 authorizing the New Freedom Initiative program under Chapter 53 of title 49, U.S.C., would significantly reduce these barriers, thus allowing persons with disabilities the opportunity to contribute to the Nation's economic vitality.

Other specialized programs that provide funding for additional transportation services are not sufficient to meet the specific employment transportation needs of persons with disabilities. For instance, while Job Access and Reverse Commute grants provide funding for new and expanded transportation service for job-seekers from low-income areas, persons with disabilities are found throughout communities. The New Freedom program addresses the needs of persons with disabilities at all income levels.

Subsection (b)(1) would authorize grants to States (the recipients under this program) for new transportation services and alternatives that integrate persons with disabilities into the workplace. Alternative transportation solutions would include programs that provide loans to purchase or lease accessible motor vehicles, funding for making motor vehicles accessible through technology modifications, and other innovative programs that enhance the transportation mobility of persons with disabilities to and from jobs and employment support services. Subsection (b)(2) would permit a recipient to use up to 15 percent of the amounts it receives to administer, plan, and provide technical assistance for projects funded under this section. The Secretary would apportion funds to recipients under a formula the Secretary would administer. The recipient could transfer these funds to the urbanized or other than urbanized formula programs provided that the funds were used only for eligible projects authorized under this section. The benefit to the recipient would be the ability to transfer funds at any time. It also would allow the recipient to include funds for this program in a transaction that provided for urbanized or other than urbanized formula funds.

According to subsection (d), 49 U.S.C. 5333(b) would apply to the New Freedom program the same way as it would apply to section 5311, namely, using a Special Warranty. The recipient would also be required to certify that it has distributed program funds to subrecipients on a fair and equitable basis.

Subsection (e) would require recipients to solicit applications from public bodies, public transportation entities, and private entities engaged in public transportation for funds to carry out this program. Applicants would be selected on a competitive basis. The Secretary would be authorized to use not more than one percent of the funds made available under section 5338(a)(2)(H) for oversight of these authorized activities as provided in section 5327(c).

Subsection (f) would require the Secretary to coordinate these program activities with related program activities of other Federal departments and agencies. Also a recipient that transfers funds to Urbanized Area Formula program would have to certify that the project for which the funds are requested had been coordinated with private non-profit providers of these program services. A recipient would also be required to certify that projects selected were derived from a locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan and that the plan was developed through a process that included representatives of public, private, and non-profit transportation providers and participation by the public.

Subsection (g) would authorize up to an 80 percent Federal share of net capital cost of a project, and not more than a 50 percent Federal share of the net operating cost of a project. The remainder of the funds could be derived from the same variety of sources described in the analysis for the Formula Grants program for other than urbanized areas authorized under section 3010 of the bill.


The Department is proposing to limit section 5309 to a new starts program. The Department also is proposing to include non-fixed guideway improvements to encourage, among other things, consideration of bus rapid transit options. All projects under the program would be subject to a criteria and evaluation process. The provision would provide grants for capital costs incurred when coordinating public transportation with other transportation, the costs of introducing new technology, through innovative and improved products, into public transportation, and the development of corridors to support public transportation. Grants for fixed guideway rail modernization and bus and bus-related equipment and facilities would be provided pursuant to formula under section 5307. As proposed, references to "capital investment loans" would be deleted from section 5309 since, historically, only capital investment grants have been awarded pursuant to this section. Section 5309(a)(1)(A) currently allows for the financing of alternatives analysis with capital investment grants. This provision would be deleted since alternatives analysis should be carried out as part of the planning process.

Before making an award under section 5309, the Secretary must find that applicants have (1) complied with statutory planning and private enterprise provisions, (2) the legal, financial and technical capacity, (3) satisfactory continuing control of use and capability, and (4) a willingness to maintain project property. The amendment to section 5309(b) would permit the Secretary to rely on a section 5307 applicant's certification containing the same project attributes when applying for section 5309 funds. It would also clarify that the term "technical capacity" includes the safety and security aspects of a transit project.

Section 5309(c)(2)(A)(ii), (currently 5309(e)(1)(B)), would be amended to add transit-supportive policies and existing land use to the criteria used for awarding major capital investment grants on projects of $75 million or more. Also, in an effort to ensure local financial commitment, section 5309(c)(2)(A)(iii) (currently 5309(e)(1)(C)) would require the grantee to demonstrate that it has sufficient resources to maintain and operate its entire system including any extension thereto. Under current law, the Secretary must evaluate and rate the project as "highly recommended," "recommended," or "not recommended." In response to the General Accounting Office's recent suggestion that FTA develop an approach to better distinguish projects, it is proposed that the ratings be changed to "high," "medium-high," "medium," "low-medium," or "low." This would enable FTA to better manage the pipeline of projects, educate grantees, and distinguish the merits of projects. (See section 5309(c)(3)).

Currently, section 5309 limits applicability of fixed guideway criteria to projects with a Federal share of less than $25 million. Subsection (d) would increase this amount to less than $75 million and subject such projects to the same criteria for projects with a Federal share of $75 million or more, but only to the extent the Secretary deems appropriate.

Section 5309(g)(1)(B), redesignated as section 5309(f)(1)(B), would reduce the number of days from 60 to 30 in which the Secretary must notify Congress of FTA's intention to issue a letter of intent or enter into a full funding grant agreement (FFGA). This would expedite grant execution in an increasingly crowded pipeline, particularly for the many non-controversial projects. Should Congress have concerns about a proposed FFGA, Congress could request that the Secretary delay its execution beyond 30 days.

Because demand currently exceeds funding, section 5309(g) would limit the Federal share of new start projects to fifty percent, enabling FTA to award a greater number of FFGAs and accommodate additional projects in the pipeline. FTA has alerted all new starts project sponsors with which it is negotiating of the 50 percent limitation, which was included in the Administration's fiscal years 2003 and 2004 budget proposal. Due to the competitive nature of this program, FTA has long encouraged project sponsors to overmatch the statutory minimum local share, and has weighted a sponsor's overmatch as part of FTA's evaluation of the statutory criterion for local financial commitment.

Currently, section 5309 requires that the Secretary consider the fiscal capacity of other State and local governments when giving priority to funding projects offering more than the statutory minimum share. New subsection 5309(h) would allow the Secretary to negotiate an FFGA for a project sponsored by an applicant that lacks the means to overmatch its local share. Current law allows use of up to eight percent of the amounts available in each fiscal year for fixed guideway pre-final design and construction activities, which include alternatives analysis and preliminary engineering. As amended, section 5309, at subsection (i), would limit the use of such funds to preliminary engineering, which marks the first substantive stage of a project.

Reference to 23 U.S.C. 103(e)(4) in section 5309 would be deleted since subsection 103(e) was repealed by section 1106 of TEA-21.

The Department is proposing to change the new starts reporting to one annual funding report and three status reports as reflected in section 5309(l). Currently, rating all projects for the annual report requires grantees not eligible for funding to rush their studies, frequently degrading their quality, so that information can be produced for the report.

As proposed, the annual report would describe only projects receiving funding based on evaluations and ratings and on existing commitments and anticipated funding levels for the next 3 years. Every four months a report would be released with FTA ratings of only those projects with significant changes in their summary rating or some other key feature, or those that recently have entered preliminary engineering or final design. Every report would contain a table with summary rating information for all projects currently in the new starts pipeline.

With this change, FTA would evaluate fewer projects for the annual report, allowing time for more thorough evaluations of other projects not in the report. Grantees would benefit from this change since studies could progress at a pace that makes sense locally rather than being dictated by submission of information for the annual report. Information on projects would be considerably more current at a time when Congress is deliberating funding.

The more frequent reporting on new starts would diminish the desire to rush project development so as not to lose another year. This would address the concern that FTA programs not drive grantee decisions, permitting grantees to make the best decision based on local needs.


Currently, section 5312 does not address deployment of emerging technologies, and inappropriately includes training. As amended, section 5312 would authorize public transportation service planning, and research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects, and would move the training provisions at subsections (b) and (c) to section 5322.

Throughout the Federal Government, the term "other transactions" is used to provide executive branch agencies with broad discretion to enter into project agreements under terms that would encourage private parties to participate in Federally assisted projects. Since the term "other agreements" in section 5312(b)(2), as redesignated, provides the same authority, this section would be amended to replace that term with "other transactions," for consistency. Subsection 5312(b)(3), as redesignated, would be amended to increase the Federal share for the Joint Partnership Program (JPP) from 50 percent to 80 percent. FTA has had difficulty attracting interest in this program at the 50/50 share level, since most FTA funds (formula funds) are available at 80/20, and research funding has traditionally been provided at up to 100 percent Federal share. Potential consortia partners often include companies that work with small profit margins and public agencies with small research budgets and this, in combination with the large non-Federal contribution requirement, precludes successful use of the JPP. One recent example has been in the development of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems. Bus manufacturers and transit agencies have approached FTA about research funds that would enable them to catch up with or surpass the European manufacturers that currently dominate the market. Without greater financial leverage of their limited research dollars, however, U.S. BRT efforts will likely be limited to the role of customer for European manufacturers.

Currently, the International Mass Transportation program requires FTA to deposit revenues paid by any cooperating organization or person into the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund. As a result, FTA needlessly deposits general resources into the trust fund account and then moves those resources to general fund accounts. Amending section 5312(c)(3), as redesignated, would allow FTA to deposit the revenues directly into the general fund account.

Currently, section 5312 does not address deployment of emerging technologies, and inappropriately adds training concepts. As amended, section 5312 would add special studies involving planning to the research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects provision, and would move the training provisions at subsections (b) and (c) to section 5322. Subsections (d) and (e) would then be redesignated as (b) and (c).


Amendments to section 5313 would provide the correct funding authorization citation. Also, subsection (b) would be mainstreamed into section 5305(e).


Section 5314 would be amended to delete the word "Planning" from the heading, since the focus of the section is on research, and planning has been provided for elsewhere in chapter 53. Amendments to section 5314(a)(1) would provide the correct funding authorization citation and reflect the fact that the university transportation centers program in existing section 5317 would be moved to section 5505 of title 49. Subsection (a)(2) would continue provide at least $3,000,000 for Project Action, which is designed to help ensure that mass transportation-related assistance, programs, research, education, and other activities comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Operational demonstration projects involving public transportation have had to comply with the Department of Labor's transit employee protection requirements under section 5333(b). These new technologies are being tested for short periods of time on single vehicles rather than on entire fleets. In such situations, compliance with section 5333(b) has created unwarranted delays and risks that have had a chilling effect on the development and deployment of new technology. Moreover, these types of operational projects do not create an employee protective risk, the purpose for which section 5333(b) was enacted. Therefore, section 5314(a)(3) would be amended to relieve this compliance requirement. Also, section 5314(a)(4)(B) requires FTA to establish an Industry Technical Panel composed of transportation suppliers and others involved in technology development. This provision would be deleted, as such a panel is unnecessary given FTA's continuing working relationship with all facets of the transit industry.


Existing section 5315(b) requires the Secretary to delegate to the National Transit Institute (NTI) the authority to develop and conduct educational and training programs pertaining to public transportation. NTI already has sufficient authority to conduct any type of educational or training program, and therefore, this section would be deleted.

SEC. 3017. BUS TESTING FACILITY. [Legislation]

Section 5318(a) requires that the Secretary establish one testing facility for new bus models. To reflect that the facility has already been established, this section would be amended to require that the Secretary maintain the facility. Subsection (e), which requires the Secretary to establish a revolving loan fund for expenses related to operating and maintaining the facility, would be deleted, because the bus testing facility relies on

State resources to pay for those costs, and has never requested a loan. The provision in section 5323(c) concerning acquisition of new bus models would be moved to section 5318(e) for clarity.

SEC. 3018. BICYCLE FACILITIES. [Legislation]

Section 5319 would be amended to make technical corrections.


Section 5320, which authorizes a suspended light rail system technology program, would be repealed because it has proved to be infeasible and has not implemented.


The provisions of section 5323(b) would be edited to mesh the statutory requirements of Federal transit law more closely with current FTA practice under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FTA does not depend on the "certificate of the applicant" that the environmental review was properly performed. Rather, NEPA makes consideration of a proposed project's environmental record a direct Federal responsibility. Accordingly, FTA participates directly in the environmental process for a proposed project and reviews the final environmental record before accepting it.

Methods for providing public comment have broadened considerably since the language regarding a public hearing was enacted in section 5323(b). This section would be amended to provide the same consideration to comments submitted by mail or electronic means, as the consideration given to comments transcribed at a hearing. In addition, non-English speaking persons or hearing-impaired persons are provided the opportunity to comment through special arrangements, and those comments should receive equal consideration.

This section would also eliminate the two-step process for announcing a hearing. Under the current process, the applicant announces the opportunity for a hearing and then waits for a response. The amendment would provide that a hearing be held whenever the project affects significant social, economic, or environmental interests in the community, regardless of whether one has been requested.

Section 5323(c), which allows the obligation or expenditure of funds to acquire a new bus model only if a bus of the model has been tested, is already provided for in section 5318. Therefore, existing section 5323(c) would be amended to allow grants for new technology, including the integration of innovative techniques, subject to the requirements of section 5309, but only to the extent the Secretary deems appropriate. Federal grant requirements, particularly in the case of major capital projects, are often difficult and burdensome when imposed on the introduction of new technology. Revised subsection (c) would strengthen and leverage private sector participation by permitting the Secretary to establish appropriate terms and conditions for projects involving the integration of new innovative or improved products, techniques, or methods. Such discretion would facilitate new and improved public transportation resources, as well as benefit the public and private sectors.

Section 5323(e) requires the Secretary to issue a bus passenger seat functional specification based on a finding by State and local governments of "local requirements for safety, comfort, maintenance, and life cycle costs." Industry has adopted an effective standard, the Secretary has issued a specification, and if the need were to arise again, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be the more appropriate agency to address the matter. Therefore, this subsection would be deleted.

Section 3011(a) of TEA-21 allows a recipient of an urbanized area public transportation formula grant under section 5307 or a major capital investment grant under section 5309 to use proceeds from the issuance of revenue bonds as a local match. Since this provision has been beneficial to transit operators, it would be codified in section 5323(f)(1).

Section 5323(f)(2) would provide transit grantees with an additional innovative financing tool. Typically, only a small portion of public transportation investment is financed with municipal bonds. Currently, a recipient deposits bond proceeds in a debt service reserve to ensure timely payment of principal and interest on the municipal bonds supporting the transit project.  Regardless, the municipal bonds are typically rated below "AA" because they are secured by variable revenue streams and thus demand a higher rate of interest. Under section 5323(f)(2), the Secretary could allow a recipient to use section 5307 or 5309 dollars to reimburse it for deposits made to the debt service reserve.  Because Federal transit funds are typically viewed as higher creditworthy revenues, transit bond ratings would be strengthened and interest costs reduced. As a result, State and local investment would increase, and there would be improved capital planning, lower costs, and speedier project development.

Section 5323(h)(1), which prohibits a grant or loan from being used to pay ordinary governmental or non-project operating expenses, would be deleted. The same prohibition appears in OMB Circular A-87, and has been incorporated in 49 CFR Parts 18 and 19. Section 5323(h)(2), which prohibits a grant or loan from being used to support a procurement that uses an exclusionary or discriminatory specification, appropriately belongs in section 5325, where it would be moved. Subsection (h) would be revised to provide for the transfer of lands or interests in lands owned by the United States. The Department of Defense regulations (32 CFR Parts 90 and 91) provide for the disposition of surplus land resulting from the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act to be transferred free to "grantees" that have Federal sponsors with Federal land transfer statutes. Most Departments have such statutes. However, within the Department of Transportation, only the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration have such authority. By amending chapter 53 to include a Federal land transfer statute under section 5323(h), FTA grantees would be eligible to receive surplus government land for authorized public transportation projects, under certain terms and conditions, but at no cost.

The Buy America statute requires that steel, iron, and manufactured products bought with FTA transit funds be of U.S. origin. There is confusion in the industry and among FTA grantees concerning how the Buy America requirements apply to manufactured products, that is, how the steel and iron requirements apply in conjunction with the manufactured products requirements, especially when involved with construction contracts. Grantees also have difficulty distinguishing between components and end products. Misapplication of the requirements has resulted in certain grantees becoming ineligible for FTA funds. Recognizing these facts, the requirements for manufactured products, except rolling stock, would be eliminated from section 5323(j). The statute would apply to steel, iron, and rolling stock, and components and subcomponents of rolling stock. This change would result in a more uniform Buy America standard within the Department, significant cost savings for grantees, more uniform application of the standard throughout the industry, as well as allow FTA to stretch grant dollars further. Reference to the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 in subsection (j)(4) is obsolete, and the provision would be amended accordingly.

Section 5323(l), which indicates that the planning and programming requirements of 23 U.S.C. 135 apply to grants made under 49 U.S.C. 5307-5311, would be deleted because Statewide Planning, under new section 5204 (see section 7001 of this bill), would include those requirements. Subsection (l) would then be used to provide for the applicability of 18 U.S.C. 1001, dealing with false or fraudulent statements, to Federal transit programs. Currently, section 1001 only applies to certificates or submissions provided pursuant to section 5307, "Urbanized Area Public Transportation Formula Grants."

Section 5323(m) provides that an independent pre-award review and a post-delivery review must be conducted when a grantee purchases rolling stock. These reviews must show compliance with the Buy America requirements, the motor vehicle safety requirements, and the bid specifications. In addition to reviewing and documenting the origin of each component and subcomponent and the location and cost of final assembly, the grantee must use an on-site inspector when it purchases more than 10 vehicles. This means that the grantee must have someone on site at the assembly plant to review and observe the actual manufacture of the vehicle. This is costly and burdensome, especially on smaller grantees that may not have the staff or sophistication to devote to such audits. Therefore, section 5323(m) would be amended to eliminate these requirements for private non-profits organizations and grantees serving areas fewer than one million people. All manufacturers and suppliers would have to continue to certify compliance with Buy America during the bidding process, and they would remain bound by their original certification. However, this small percentage of grantees would not have to certify twice in order for the vehicles to comply with Buy America. Further, the vast majority of vehicles purchased would still undergo the audits. It would not benefit manufacturers to somehow to take advantage of this change for such a small share of their overall vehicle sales.


Currently, section 5324 contains relocation program requirements as a condition of receipt of Federal assistance. The Secretary must make an affirmative finding that two of the numerous conditions contained in the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 4601 et seq., have been fulfilled. All State agencies, defined in the Act as covering entities that would be FTA grantees, must comply with these two provisions of the statute to be eligible for Federal transit assistance. Therefore, in order to ensure that grantees are complying with the applicable requirements, section 5324(a) would be amended to directly reference the relevant sections of the Act.

Proposed section 5324(b) would continue to allow protective and hardship acquisitions as defined in 23 CFR 771.117, but it would also allow advance acquisition where the strict requirements associated with a protective acquisition are not met. At present, a protective acquisition is permitted only if the development of the property is imminent as evidenced by concrete steps taken by a developer to build, subdivide, or otherwise develop the land. This requirement is too restrictive. Allowing a developer to carry the development plans that far only to have the parcel acquired for transportation purposes is unfair. Further, it increases the cost of the property to the public when it is finally acquired for transportation purposes. Outside market forces that do not respect transportation project schedules for environmental review unduly influence the sale and development of real property. It is in the public interest to allow the acquisition when market forces dictate, and thereby avoid multiple transactions on the same property and the associated escalation in cost. A strictly limited number of such advance acquisitions could be allowed without prejudice to the consideration of alternative locations or alternative projects, because the resale of a few parcels if a different alternative is selected is feasible and presents little or no burden to the transportation agency.

Congress has sometimes recognized the public interest in keeping railroad corridors available for long-term transportation use by earmarking funds for the acquisition of a particular railroad right-of-way (ROW) by a transit agency. More recently, Congress generalized this practice by expanding the list of eligible activities in section 5309(a)(1)(H) to include "the development of corridors to support fixed guideway systems, including protecting rights of way through acquisition..." (Note: Section 5309(a)(1)(H) would be moved to section 5309(a)(1)(D) and amended by changing "fixed guideway systems" to "public transportation" as proposed in section 3012 of this bill.)

Proposed section 5324(c) would address FTA's current practice of allowing the acquisition of pre-existing railroad ROW in advance of any specific project decisions on how the ROW will be used. In some cases, a firm project proposal and the associated environmental review may still be years away at the time of the acquisition, but the commercial railroad that owns the ROW seeks to liquidate the asset through its sale, and its preservation as a transportation ROW can only be assured through its acquisition. In urbanized areas, existing railroad corridors are widely viewed as an appropriate location for rail transit projects. FTA experience over the years in considering alternative locations for major capital investment rail projects indicates that, when an existing rail ROW is one of the options under consideration, it is often the environmentally preferable location for the project. Railroad ROWs have abutting land uses that developed over time with the railroad in place, so those land uses are generally compatible with the railroad use of the ROW. The protection of such ROWs for future transit use through acquisition is an action that does not change the fundamental use of the ROW in question. It merely changes the ownership of that land from private ownership by a commercial railroad to public ownership by a public transit agency. Any changes in the use of the railroad ROW would be subject to appropriate environmental review prior to the change. The purposes of other Federal laws regulating railroads (e.g., those governing the abandonment of rail ROW) would not be compromised by this provision.

The minor edits proposed to existing section 5324(b), which would be redesignated as section 5324(d), would mesh the statutory requirements of Federal transit law more closely with current FTA practice under NEPA, and 49 U.S.C. 303 (commonly called "section 4(f)"), and other environmental laws. Of the Secretaries listed in current transit law, only the Secretary of the Interior frequently has an interest in FTA projects and routinely consults with FTA on those projects. Reference to the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development would be removed since these agencies rarely have any interest in transit projects and the requirement for routine consultation with their Departments is not productive. FTA grant applicants are required by NEPA regulations to identify the Federal interests and parties affected by a proposed transit project, and in the very rare case that a transit project does affect one of the Departments that would removed from the list or any other agency of the Federal Government, FTA would consult with that Federal agency on the effects of the project and cooperate with that agency in resolving any issues that may arise.

The Council on Environmental Quality has delegated its routine project review responsibilities to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, EPA is required by Section 309 of the Clean Air Act to review every environmental impact statement of every other Federal agency. Federal transit law should be consistent with current delegations of responsibilities and with other Federal law. The proposed amendments would delete CEQ and substitute the Administrator of EPA.

Methods for providing the public with adequate opportunity to present views have broadened considerably since the original language about a public hearing transcript was enacted. At present, FTA practice is to give full consideration to every public comment on the project, whether that comment was transcribed at the formal public hearing, was received in written form through the mail or by email, or, in some cases, was transcribed from a telephone voice mail service established for this purpose. Federal transit law should not single out the hearing transcript for greater attention than other valid forms of public comment on the project. Therefore, section 5324(b), which would be redesignated as section 5324(d), would be amended accordingly.

FTA has not used the existing authority to hold its own separate hearing on a project proposed for FTA funding. The local transit agency that is planning the project and that would construct, own, and operate the project, and be directly accountable to the public affected and served by the project, must take responsibility for the public involvement process and must consider the public comments in deciding its course of action. FTA should not substitute its judgment in these local matters. Furthermore, the other provisions of section 5324 give FTA the authority to withhold a grant until FTA is satisfied that an adequate opportunity to present views was given to all parties with a significant social, economic, or environmental interest. The authority to hold a separate FTA hearing is therefore unnecessary.


Section 5326, "Special Procurements," would be consolidated with section 5325, "Contract Requirements," since the provisions of section 5326 fall within the scope of section 5325.

Existing section 5307 requires the use of competitive procurement as defined or approved by the Secretary in carrying out procurement under that section. Section 5325(a) would be amended to expressly require the use of competitive procurement procedures for any procurement carried out under Chapter 53. This amendment would strengthen competition standards and would stretch procurement dollars in third party contracting.

The revised language in redesignated section 5325(b) would clarify that program management is limited to architectural, engineering, and design contracts. Also, the reference to 23 U.S.C. 112(b)(2)(C) through (F), which deals with performance and audit standards and indirect cost rates, would be removed, and instead, subsection (b) would be revised to specifically include these provisions.

TEA-21 allowed for turnkey system projects, also known as design-build contracting, in Federally funded public transportation projects, including demonstration projects. Section 5325(d) (existing section 5326(a)), would replace the term "turnkey" with the more commonly used term "design-build." Also, this section would be amended to delete any reference to "demonstration projects," since design-build contracting has matured beyond the demonstration phase. In addition, design-build contracting does not necessarily result in lower project costs or new technologies and, as a result, this concept, which appears in existing section 5326(a)(2), would be removed.

Currently, FTA and the Comptroller General can inspect contract records for capital projects receiving Federal transit assistance, but only in cases of "noncompetitive bidding." Investigations of the merits of competitive bids are based on (1) whether a grantee violated what it certified to, or (2) the protest procedures in the government-wide Common Grant Rule. New subsection 5325(g), "Examination of the Records," would strengthen oversight by allowing FTA or the Comptroller General to inspect all contract documents. This provision would be particularly useful in light of the increased flexibility grantees now have due the rescission of the FTA Circular provision limiting contract length.

The "grant prohibition" provision, dealing with contract requirements, was erroneously included under section 5323, "General Provisions On Assistance," and would be more properly placed under section 5325(h), as proposed.


Sections 5312(b) and (c) would be moved to sections 5322(b) and (c) to better fit the organization of revised section 5312. 


Given the new security concerns -- and in keeping with actual practice in the field -- section 5327(a) would be revised to require that a project management oversight (PMO) plan include "safety and security management." Currently, competitive sourcing of oversight services between the public and private sectors is barred by section 5327, which requires that oversight funds be used only for contracts. The only available source for in-house oversight activities is the Administrative Expense appropriation, which is already oversubscribed. Flexibility in use of oversight funds for competitive sourcing would better enable FTA to retain core expertise while still outsourcing the bulk of oversight services. Therefore, section 5327(c)(1) would authorize the use of a one percent PMO takedown to pay for the provision of oversight services by contract or FTA staff. Such funding of FTA oversight employee salaries and related expenses would be in addition to any administrative funds available for that purpose. Section 5327(c)(1) would also be amended to allow a one percent takedown for PMO activities related to the JARC program (5308), the Formula Grants program for special needs of elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities (5310), and the New Freedom program (5317). These programs would also require comprehensive agency oversight of the type that would be authorized under this section.

Section 5327(c) would be amended to strike the reference to 23 U.S.C. 103(e)(4), which was repealed by TEA-21.

SEC. 3025. PROJECT REVIEW. [Legislation]

Section 3025 would repeal sections 5328(a) and (b), which established a firm schedule for various FTA approvals associated with New Starts and reporting to Congressional committees on failures to meet those schedules. These provisions were enacted at a time when FTA policy mandated a rigid and complex planning process with a multitude of methodology and results reports, all of which were subject to FTA review and approval. FTA reformed that process in response to the emphasis on flexibility and local decisionmaking in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, and TEA-21's requirements for project development streamlining. In addition, Congressional concerns about New Starts have shifted to a greater interest in FTA oversight of the financial planning and cost estimation for these projects, and congressional staff have agreed that the reports are no longer necessary. Subsection (c), which provides for a program of interrelated projects specifically identified in law, is now obsolete and would be removed.


Section 5329 authorizes FTA to investigate "safety hazards," but does not expressly authorize FTA to investigate "security" matters. The provision, arguably, could be interpreted as not permitting FTA to investigate or assist with security matters absent some particular "hazard." Therefore, this section would be amended to promote active cooperation between FTA and its grantees on security matters by clarifying that FTA may assist grantees on security matters and investigate security concerns without notice of a specific breach of security at a transit system.

The existing section also contains an "all or nothing" provision that authorizes the Secretary to withhold "further financial assistance" upon a transit system's failure to correct a safety hazard. As proposed, section 5329 would allow the Secretary to determine the amount of funding to be withheld.

Section 5329(b) required that a report on safety hazards in the transit industry be completed by 1992. This provision would be deleted since the report has been completed.

SEC. 3027. STATE SAFETY OVERSIGHT. [Legislation]

Section 5330 would be amended to change the heading from "Withholding Amounts for Noncompliance with Safety Requirements" to reflect the more commonly used title of "State Safety Oversight." Additional amendments would ensure that safety is considered well before a rail fixed guideway system begins revenue service, i.e., during the design phase of the project.

Section 5330 allows a single transit system operating in more than one State to designate a single entity to oversee the safety of a rail fixed guideway system. Because this provision is discretionary, a rail fixed guideway system operating in two or more States may be subject to more than one oversight agency, each having different safety standards. In order to strengthen the provision's goal of safety and reduce the burden on grantees having to comply with differing standards, section 5330 would be revised to make such a designation mandatory.

Subsection (f) required the Secretary to issue regulations no later than December 18, 1992. Because the regulations have been issued, subsection (f) would be deleted.


Section 40119 of title 49, U.S.C., authorizes the Transportation Security Administration to enact regulations prohibiting the disclosure of "sensitive security information," the disclosure of which would prove "detrimental to the safety of passengers." FTA's security work has focused not only on passengers, but also on protecting facilities and infrastructure. Moreover, information that relates to the safety of transportation employees also deserves protection. Therefore, section 40119(b)(1)(C) would be amended to expressly protect sensitive security information related to the protection of transportation facilities and infrastructure and transportation employees.

In addition, it is the Department of Transportation's position that the authority to enact regulations prohibiting the disclosure of "sensitive security information," pursuant to section 40119, preempts State open records acts. Although no court has yet decided the preemption issue and the statute does not expressly include a preemption provision, both FTA and its grantees favor the inclusion of an express preemption provision to provide additional protection from State open records acts that would circumvent the intent of the statute. Therefore, a new paragraph (3) would be added to section 40119(b).


The term "mass transportation" would be changed to "public transportation" throughout Chapter 53 of Title 49, U.S.C., for the reasons set forth in the analysis of section 3001 of the bill. Section 1993 of title 18, U.S.C., is a criminal statute prohibiting terrorist attacks and other acts of violence against the Nation's transit systems, most of which receive Federal public transportation assistance under Chapter 53 of title 49. Therefore, section 1993 of title 18 would be amended to replace the term "mass transportation" with "public transportation."

Section 1993(a)(5) makes it a Federal crime to interfere with anyone "dispatching, operating, or maintaining a mass transportation vehicle or ferry." The statute does not address those who "control" such vehicles, and arguably excludes rail system "controllers" (central command employees who control the movement of rail cars). Although such controllers "operate" vehicles in some cases, and thus may fall within the statute, the statute does not expressly cover them. The amendment to section 1993(a)(5) would explicitly provide that interference with a rail controller constitutes a Federal crime.


Currently, section 5331 authorizes the Secretary to exclude from FTA drug and alcohol testing those public transportation providers that are adequately covered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) testing statutes. Section 5331 would be amended to expand the Secretary's authority to exclude from FTA testing, those public transportation providers that are adequately covered under other Federal or Departmental testing statutes or regulations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard's testing provisions applicable to ferryboat employees. Section 5331(f)(3) states that this section shall not prevent the Secretary from continuing in effect, amending, or supplementing a regulation governing drug and alcohol testing prescribed before October 28, 1991. FTA drug and alcohol regulations are now codified (49 CFR Part 655) and therefore subsection (f)(3) is unnecessary.


Amendments to section 5333(b) are conforming amendments. Also, this subsection would be amended to extend its applicability to the JARC program (5308), the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy project (5316), and the New Freedom program (5317), subject to the provisions of those respective sections.


Questions with respect to FTA's regulatory authority occasionally arise, e.g., with respect to the safety and security of transit systems and, some years ago, illegal drug and alcohol use. Amending section 5334(a), as proposed, would make it clear that the Secretary has the authority to issue regulations as necessary to carry out the Federal transit provisions in Chapter 53. Current section 5324(c), "Prohibitions Against Regulating Operations and Charges," would be moved to section 5334, "Administrative Provisions," as a new subsection (b). It is appropriate to house this prohibition in the "Administrative Provisions" section and make it applicable chapter-wide, rather than on capital projects, only. Also, this provision would be amended to specify that the Secretary is prohibited from regulating a recipient's routes, schedules, rates, fares, tolls, and rentals, just as this provision had specified prior to the recodification of the Federal Transit Act into 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53 in 1994. In light of the September 11 terrorist attacks, this provision would be further amended to allow the Secretary of Transportation, under direction by the President, to regulate the operation of and charges for public transportation systems for purposes of national defense or in the event of a national or regional emergency.

SEC. 3033. REPORTS AND AUDITS. [Legislation]

Section 5335(b), requiring that the Comptroller General submit a "transferability report" to Congress in January 1993, would removed, as the report was completed.


New section 5336(a)(1) proposes an "incentive program." This section would apportion the funds allocated in section 5338(a)(2)(P) for section 5307 program activities. Pursuant to new section 5336(k)(1), the Secretary could use a portion of the amounts apportioned under the incentive program to make grants to establish data collection systems capable of collecting the data necessary to determine whether there has been an increase in public transportation patronage. As indicated in section 5336(k)(3), these data are essential to the determination of whether an urbanized area may receive funds under the incentive program. Under section 5336(k)(3), the amounts apportioned to an urbanized area would be distributed pursuant to a formula determined by the Secretary that is based on increases in public transportation patronage. Section 5336(k)(4) would allow the Secretary to consider how well the increase in public transportation patronage has been accommodated without reducing the efficiency of transit service. The provision would allow the performance awards to be varied depending on the changes in service provision efficiency, while still emphasizing that the performance incentives are based primarily on improving the outcomes of the Federal transit assistance programs, by focusing first on public transportation patronage.


Section 5337(e) would be removed, since that section provided for a special rule from October 1, 1997, through March 31, 1998.

SEC. 3036. AUTHORIZATIONS. [Legislation]

Section 5338 would authorize amounts from theGeneral Fund, and make available amounts from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund to carry out Federal public transportation programs in fiscal years 2004 through 2009. Funds from the Mass Transit Account would be guaranteed by budgetary firewalls, and would represent a contractual obligation of the Government. Beginning in FY 2006, authorizations for public transportation funding from the Mass Transit Account would be adjusted (increased or decreased) whenever the public transportation firewall amount indicated in section 8102 of this bill is adjusted to reflect actual and more recent Mass Transit Account receipts as calculated under section 8101 of this bill. The adjustment would be applied proportionately to all Federal transit programs receiving funding from the Mass Transit Account.

As proposed, section 5338(a), Formula Grants and Research, provides funds from the Mass Transit Account to carry out sections 5305, 5307, 5308, 5310-5318, 5322, 5335, 5505, 5570-5575 of title 49, and section 3038 of Pub. L. 105-178. It also provides for a takedown for grants to the Alaska Railroad for improvements to its passenger operations under section 5307. Section 5338(b), Major Capital Investment Program Grants, would authorize appropriations from the General Fund, in addition to providing funds from the Mass Transit Account to carry out sections 5305 and 5309. Section 5338(c) would authorize funds to be appropriated from the General Fund for administrative expenses. Amounts available under subsections (a) and (b) would remain available until expended and grants financed from amounts derived from the Mass Transit Account or through advance appropriations under those subsections would be contractual obligations.

Throughout the life of TEA-21, planning funds to carry out 49 U.S.C. 5303-5305 and 5313(b) were authorized and made available pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5338(c). Grants for both planning programs, would be mainstreamed into 49 U.S.C. 5305. Funding for the planning programs would be authorized as a takedown from the Urbanized Area Public Transportation Formula Grants program under section 5307 and the Major Capital Investment program under section 5309 in order to align the planning programs with the capital programs, which are supported by the planning programs. (See sections 5338(a)(2)(A) and (B) and 5338(b)(3)(A) and (B) of this bill.)

More specifically, sections 5338(a)(2)(A) and (b)(3)(A) would provide that 1.25 percent of the funds would be available for planning in fiscal year 2004. For each of fiscal years 2005 through 2009, two percent would be available. These percentages represent a minimal increase over previous fiscal years. The amount proposed in fiscal year 2004 takes into account that this fiscal year will be the first year of reauthorization. The proposed increase in succeeding fiscal years is necessary to address factors such as the following: 

  • According to the 2000 decennial census of population, 76 newly qualified UZAs will need to develop transportation plans and programs through the establishment of new or reconstituted Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).
  • Also, according to the 2000 decennial census of population, 30 UZAs increased to over 200,000 population. These UZAs will require additional transportation planning work to be accomplished
  • The existing 406 UZAs under the 1990 decennial census of population will need to expand their geographic areas as a result of the 2000 decennial census of population. This will require revising their regional Transportation Plans.
  • Transportation Air Quality requirements for CO, ozone, and particulates are again changing.  This will require extensive re-analyses and aligning of transportation plans and programs to reach air quality conformity. There is estimated to be a 300 percent increase in the number of counties that will be in nonattainment based on revised EPA requirements.  A large percentage of these counties will now be within the geographic planning area of MPOs.

Section 5338(a)(2)(C) would provide funding for the National Transit Database (NTD) authorized under section 5335 in fiscal years 2005 through 2009. The NTD workload has increased substantially with the advent of monthly reporting on safety and security and the phasing in of rural and asset condition reporting.

Funding under section 5338(a)(1)(G) would be available for a National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Project only if the project were needed and supported by transportation financial feasibility studies and planning analyses.


On May 30, 2001, President Bush announced the National Parks Legacy Project, a series of proposals to enhance the protection of America's national parks and increase the enjoyment of those visiting the parks. The goals of the National Parks Legacy Project include ensuring access for all, including individuals with disabilities; improving conservation, park, and public land opportunities in urban areas through partnering with State and local governments; and improving park and public land transportation. Section 5316 would address the goals of this project by providing for public transportation in certain Federally owned or managed areas that are open to the general public within the framework of the section 5307 program, modified to reflect the special mission and function of Federal land management agencies.

This section would establish a Federal Lands Transit Program in title 49, U.S.C., complementing the Federal Lands Highway Program in title 23, U.S.C. It would authorize the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, to make grants, contracts, or other agreements to carry out qualified planning or capital projects in, or in the vicinity of, a Federally owned or managed park, refuge, or recreational area that is open to the general public, and implement and oversee the program of projects. This section would also specify requirements concerning departmental cost sharing, financing, and selection of qualified projects. The Secretary may use not more than 5 percent of the funding made available each fiscal year for this program to carry out planning, research, and technical assistance under this section, including the development of technology appropriate for use in a qualified project.

FHWA has the authority to accept Federal funds as a match for transit projects. Subsection (e)(3) would provide similar authority for FTA.


The heading of section 3038 would be changed from the "Rural Transportation Accessibility Incentive Program" to its more commonly used name "Over-the-Road Bus Accessibility Program." In addition, section 3038 would be amended to reflect authorization of funds for this program in fiscal years 2004 through 2009.


Currently, under section 5310, the Secretary may provide grants for the special needs of elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities directly (1) to a State or local government authority; or (2) to the chief executive office of the State for allocation to private non-profit corporations or associations when such service is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate, or (3) to governmental authorities approved by the State to coordinate services for these two populations groups, if there are no non-profit corporations readily available to provide the service. Section 5310 would be amended to authorize grants directly to a State, which would then be able allocate the funds to a private non-profit organization or a governmental authority under the same conditions required in current law. Section 5310(a)(3) would allow a State to use up to 15 percent of the amounts it receives under this section to administer, plan, and provide technical assistance.

Consistent with existing section 5310, grants would be for capital public transportation projects planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of these populations groups and could include the acquisition of public transportation services as a capital expense. The Federal share would not exceed 80 percent of the net capital costs of the projects, as determined by the Secretary. The remainder of the funds could be derived from the same sources as for the Formula Grants program for other than urbanized areas as proposed under section 3010 of this bill.

As is current practice, funds under subsection (b)(1) would be apportioned to States based on a formula administered by the Secretary. In administering this formula, the Secretary would consider the number of elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities in a State. Under current law, unobligated section 5310 funds available during the fourth quarter of each fiscal year may be transferred to Urbanized Area or Other Than Urbanized Area Formula Grant programs in order to supplement funds apportioned under those sections.  Subsection (b)(2) would allow recipients of grants under this section to transfer section 5310 funds to those programs at any time provided that the funds are used for the purposes originally authorized. This would eliminate the artificial fourth quarter requirement since States typically budget for such transfers in the beginning of each fiscal year.  In addition, States could make funds available to a subrecipient in a single transaction that included several FTA program-funding sources.

Under subsection (d), a recipient of a grant would be subject to all section 5307 grant requirements to the extent the Secretary considers appropriate. Recipients transferring funds to the Urbanized Area Formula Grant program would be required to certify that the project for which the funds are requested has been coordinated with private non-private providers of services under this section. Also, recipients would be required to certify coordination among all stakeholders in the same manner as for the New Freedom program proposed in section 3011 of this bill. Finally, recipients would be required to certify that allocations made to subrecipients were distributed in a fair and equitable manner.


Section 3037 of TEA-21 authorized the Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program to assist welfare recipients and other low-income individuals in getting to and from jobs. The JARC program would now be codified in section 5308. As proposed in subsection (b), the Secretary would make grants for access to jobs and reverse commute projects directly to the State. A State would be permitted to use up to 15 percent of amount it receives under this section to administer, plan, and provide technical assistance. Funds would be apportioned based on a formula administered by the Secretary. In administering the formula, the Secretary would consider the number of low-income people in the State. For the same reasons stated in the analysis for section 3039 of this bill, a State would be allowed to transfer any funds apportioned to it under section 5308 to the Urbanized Area or Other Than Urbanized Area Formula Grant programs, provided the funds are used for the purposes originally authorized. Section 5333(b) would apply to JARC in the same manner as it would apply to section 5311, by using a Special Warranty. This section also would grant the Secretary the authority to waive the applicability of the Special Warranty for private non-profit subrecipients.

A State would be required to solicit applications for grants under requirements it establishes. Subrecipients could include a State or local public authority, a non-profit organization, or a private operator of public transportation service. Grants would be awarded competitively. (See 5308(e).) Subsection (f) would provide for the same coordination process discussed in the analysis for section 3039 above. The Federal share for a capital project could not exceed 80 percent of the net capital costs of the project. The Federal share for operating assistance could not exceed 50 percent of the net operating costs of the project. Matching funds could be derived from the same sources described in the analysis for the Formula Grant program for Other Than Urbanized Areas under section 3010 of this bill.

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