GovTrack’s Bill Summary
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Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
3/30/2012--Public Law. (This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The expanded summary of the House passed version is repeated here.) Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 -
Directs the Secretary of Transportation (DOT) to reduce the amount apportioned or allocated for a surface transportation program, project, or activity for FY2012 by amounts apportioned or allocated under the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, Part II for the period from October 1, 2011, through March 31, 2012.
Amends the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, Part II to continue through June 30, 2012, and authorizes appropriations through that date for, specified federal-aid highway programs under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Includes among extended funds those for:
(1) the surface transportation research, development, and deployment program;
(2) training and education;
(3) the Bureau of Transportation Statistics;
(4) university transportation research; and
(5) intelligent transportation systems (ITS) research.
Subjects funding for such programs generally to the same manner of distribution, administration, limitation, and availability for obligation, however, at three-quarters of the total amount, as funds authorized to be appropriated for such programs and activities out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for FY2011. Subjects contract authority for such programs between October 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, however, to a specified pro rata limitation on obligations included in any Act making appropriations for FY2012 or a portion of that fiscal year.
Waives this obligation limitation, though, for emergency relief and for the equity bonus program.
Extends the allocation of certain transportation program funds to:
(1) states for specific programs, including the Interstate and National Highway System program, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program, the highway safety improvement program, the Surface Transportation program, and the Highway Bridge program; and
(2) the territories and Puerto Rico. Prohibits use of program funds for a high-speed MAGLEV system between Las Vegas, Nevada, and Anaheim, California. Authorizes appropriations from the HTF (other than the Mass Transit Account) for administrative expenses of the federal-aid highway program for the period from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.
Extension of Highway Safety Programs
Amends SAFETEA-LU to extend, from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, the authorization of appropriations for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety programs, including:
(1) highway safety research and development,
(2) the occupant protection incentive grant program,
(3) the safety belt performance grant program,
(4) state traffic safety information system improvements,
(5) the alcohol-impaired driving countermeasures incentive grant program,
(6) the National Driver Register,
(7) the high visibility enforcement program,
(8) motorcyclist safety,
(9) the child safety and child booster seat safety incentive grant program, and
(10) NHTSA administrative expenses.
Extends for that same period the authorization of appropriations for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) programs, including:
(1) motor carrier safety grants,
(2) FMCSA administrative expenses,
(3) commercial driver's license program improvement grants,
(4) border enforcement grants,
(5) performance and registration information system management grants,
(6) commercial vehicle information systems and networks deployment grants,
(7) safety data improvement grants,
(8) a set-aside for high priority activities that improve commercial motor vehicle safety and compliance with commercial motor vehicle safety regulations,
(9) a set-aside for new entrant motor carrier audit grants,
(10) FMCSA and NHTSA outreach and education,
(11) the commercial motor vehicle operators grant program,
(12) the FMCSA's Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, and
(13) the working group for development of practices and procedures to enhance federal-state relations.
Extends, from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, the funding for hazardous materials (hazmat) research projects.
Amends the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act to continue for the same period of time the authorized distribution of funds under such Act for coastal wetlands, recreational boating safety, projects under the Clean Vessel Act of 19921, boating infrastructure projects, and the National Outreach and Communications Program. Extends the set-aside for administrative expenses for carrying out such projects.
Public Transportation Program
Extends, from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, the allocation of capital investment grant funds for federal transit programs, including the metropolitan planning program and the state planning and research program.
Extends the special rule authority of the Secretary to award urbanized area formula grants to finance the operating cost of equipment and facilities for use in public transportation in an urbanized area with a population of at least 200,000.
Allocates, from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, certain amounts for formula and bus grants and capital investment grants for:
(1) certain new fixed guideway capital projects;
(2) new fixed guideway ferry systems and extension projects in Alaska and Hawaii;
(3) payments to the Denali Commission for docks, waterfront development projects, and related transportation infrastructure;
(4) ferry boats or ferry terminal facilities;
(5) a set-aside for the national fuel cell bus technology development program;
(6) projects in nonurbanized areas;
(7) intermodal terminal projects; and
(8) bus testing.
Extends the apportionment of nonurbanized area formula grants for public transportation on Indian reservations.
Extends, from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, the apportionment of capital investment grant funds for certain fixed guideway modernization projects. Requires, however, the Secretary to apportion 75% of each dollar amount for such projects.
Extends for that same period the authorization appropriations from the HTF Mass Transit Account for:
(1) formula and bus grant projects, including allocations for specified projects;
(2) capital investment grants,
(3) transit research, including allocations for transit cooperative research programs, the National Transit Institute, the university centers program, transportation projects to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the National Technical Assistance Center for senior transportation, and national research programs; and
(4) administration expenses.
Extends, from October 1, 2011, through June 30,2012, certain SAFETEA-LU programs, including: (1) the contracted paratransit pilot program, (2) the public-private partnership pilot program, (3) project authorizations for final design and construction and preliminary engineering of specified fixed guideway projects, and (4) the elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities pilot program. Extends certain allocations for national research and technology programs.
Highway Trust Fund Extension
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend through June 30, 2012, authority for expenditures from: (1) the HTF Highway and Mass Transit accounts, (2) the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, and (3) the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.
Extends through June 30, 2012, excise taxes on:
(1) fuel used by certain buses,
(2) certain alcohol fuels,
(3) gasoline (other than aviation gasoline) and diesel fuel or kerosene,
(4) certain heavy trucks and trailers, and
Extends the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund tax.
Extends through FY2013 the excise tax on certain heavy vehicles.
Extends through June 30, 2012, the exemptions from excise taxes on:
(1) certain sales, and
(2) motor vehicles used by a state and local government.
Extends the transfer of:
(1) certain highway excise taxes to the HTF, and
(2) motorboat fuel taxes from the HTF into the land and water conservation fund.
House Republican Conference Summary
The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
This summary can be found at http://www.gop.gov/bill/112/2/hr4281.
The HTF was established in 1956 for the purpose of funding the construction of an interstate highway system. The account is administered by the Federal Highway Administration, within the Department of Transportation, and distributes gasoline tax revenues annually to states for highway projects. The vast majority of total receipts for the HTF come from the federal highway users excise tax (the remainder comes from truck-related taxes such as truck and trailer sales, truck tires and heavy-vehicle use taxes). Currently the 18.4-cent federal gasoline tax is distributed with one-tenth of one cent going to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund and the rest to the Highway Trust Fund’s two accounts: 2.85 cents per gallon to fund the mass transit account and 15.44 cents per gallon to fund the highway account. The current highway program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), expired at the end of FY 2009 and has since been authorized by a series of short-term extensions. The most recent extension (H.R. 2887) was approved in September 2011 and is set to expire on March 31, 2012.
In recent years, revenues to the HTF have not kept pace with the outlays, dropping off sharply in 2008 when fuel hit record-high prices and consumption dropped. According to CRS, in 2008, $8 billion was transferred from the general fund to the HTF to fill a funding shortfall. In FY 2009 and FY 2010, the HTF received transfers of $7 billion and $20 billion, respectively, to keep the trust fund solvent.
H.R. 4281 would extend the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs for 90 days, through June 30, 2012 (three-fourths of FY 2012). Under current law, surface transportation spending authority is set to expire on March 31, 2012. The current highway program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), expired at the end of FY 2009 and has since been authorized by a series of short-term extensions. The most recent extension (H.R. 2887) was approved in the House by voice vote in September 2011 and is set to expire on March 31, 2012.
Surface Transportation Reauthorization
H.R. 4281 would extend the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs through June 30, 2012 (three-fourths of FY 2012). Current authority to appropriate funds from the HTF under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was most recently extended in September 2011 by H.R. 2887, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, and is set to expire on March 31, 2012. H.R. 2887 was approved in the House on September 13, 2011, by voice vote. H.R. 2887 provided six months of surface transportation funding and accordingly set FY 2012 HTF transportation spending limits at half of the 2011 spending levels. Funding for 2011 was $42.46 billion for highway funding and $10.33 billion for mass transit funding. H.R. 4281 would set the total obligation limitation levels for transportation funding at three-fourths of the total amount authorized for FY 2011. This would provide funding for the first nine months of FY 2012 at the same level as FY 2011. The funding level authorized by the bill is identical to CBO’s current baseline projection, thus enacting H.R. 4281 would not provide budget authority above amounts assumed under current law.
Federal-Aid Highway Programs: H.R. 4281 would authorize an obligation limit for highway program spending from the HTF from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, at three-fourths of the total amount authorized from the HTF in FY 2011 ($42.46 billion). The amounts authorized to be appropriated would be calculated by accounting for any rescission or cancellation of funds or contract authority in FY 2011, including in the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act. In addition, the bill would extend the authority to collect highway related taxes, including the federal gasoline tax, through June 30, 2012.
Extension of Highway Safety Programs: H.R. 4281 would provide spending authority for highway safety programs carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for three-fourths of FY 2012, from October 2011 through June 2012, including:
- $176 million for Chapter 4 Highway Safety Programs;
- $81 million for Highway Safety Research and Development;
- $18 million for Occupant Protection Incentive Grants;
- $36 million for Safety Belt Performance Grants;
- $25 million for State Traffic Safety Information System Improvements;
- $104 million for the Alcohol-Impaired Driving Counter-Measures Incentive Grant Program;
- $3 million for the National Driver Register;
- $21 million for the High Visibility Enforcement Program;
- $5 million for Motorcycle Safety;
- $5 million for Child Safety and Booster Seat Safety Incentive Grants; and
- $18 million for Administrative Expenses.
H.R. 4281 would also authorize $342 million for three-fourths of FY 2012 for programs carried out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including $159 million for Motor Carrier Safety Grants and $183 million for Administrative Expenses.
Public Transportation Programs: H.R. 4281 sets the obligation limit for mass transit program spending authority from the HTF at $7.7 billion from October 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. The bill would authorize $6.3 billion for Formula and Bus Grants and $1.4 billion for Capital Investment Grants.
A CBO score for H.R. 4281 was unavailable as of press time.
House Democratic Caucus Summary
The House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.
So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference’s summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That’s because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.
We’ll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.