H.R. 2205 (105th): Amtrak Reform and Privatization Act of 1997

Jul 22, 1997 (105th Congress, 1997–1998)
Died (Referred to Committee)
See Instead:

H.R. 2247 (same title)
Reported by Committee — Jul 30, 1997

James Oberstar
Representative for Minnesota's 8th congressional district
Read Text »
Last Updated
Jul 22, 1997
34 pages
Related Bills
H.R. 2247 (Related)
Amtrak Reform and Privatization Act of 1997

Reported by Committee
Last Action: Jul 30, 1997


This bill was introduced on July 22, 1997, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted.

Introduced Jul 22, 1997
Referred to Committee Jul 22, 1997
Full Title

To reform the statutes relating to Amtrak, to authorize appropriations for Amtrak, and for other purposes.


No summaries available.

1 cosponsors (1D) (show)

House Transportation and Infrastructure

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Primary Source

THOMAS.gov (The Library of Congress)

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H.R. stands for House of Representatives bill.

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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.

Title I - Procurement Reforms Title II: Operational Reforms Title III: Financial Reforms Title IV: Miscellaneous Title V: Authorization of Appropriations Amtrak Reform and Privatization Act of 1997
Title I - Procurement Reforms
Amends Federal transportation law to prohibit Amtrak from submitting a bid for the performance of services under a contract for an amount less than the cost to it of performing such services (below-cost competition) with respect to any activity, except the provision of intercity rail passenger transportation, commuter rail passenger transportation, or mail or express transportation.
Authorizes an aggrieved individual to commence a civil action in a U.S. district court for violations of such prohibition.
Section 101 -
Repeals general Amtrak authority to maintain and rehabilitate rail passenger equipment, and the mandate to maintain a regional maintenance plan including specified components. Authorizes Amtrak, with a specified exception, to enter into a contract with a motor carrier of passengers for the intercity transportation over regular routes only if certain requirements are met.
Section 103 -
Directs Amtrak to establish an outreach program to increase the likelihood of U.S. track work manufacturers to be able to meet Amtrak's specifications for track work. Requires Amtrak to report annually to the Congress on progress made with such program, including a statement of the percentage of Amtrak's track work contracts awarded to U.S. manufacturers.
Title II - Operational Reforms
Repeals Amtrak's mandate: (1) to provide intercity rail passenger transportation within the basic system (unless such transportation is provided by specified others); and (2) to continue to carry out a specified plan to improve such transportation.
Section 201 -
Requires Amtrak to give 180 days' notice (currently, 90 days) of its intention to discontinue rail service over a route to States, regional or local authorities, or other persons so that they will have an opportunity to agree to share or assume the cost of any part of the train, route, or service to be discontinued. Repeals Amtrak's mandates for: (1) cost and performance reviews of Amtrak routes in the basic system; and (2) provision of special commuter transportation.
Section 202 -
Repeals specified provisions regarding:
(1) Amtrak's mandate to increase mail and express transportation revenues, and its authority to provide auto-ferry transportation;
(2) route and service criteria with respect to route discontinuances and route additions;
(3) additional qualifying routes;
(4) certain requests to Amtrak by State, regional, or local authorities or other persons to provide rail passenger transportation or keep a train, route, or service that Amtrak intends to discontinue; and
(5) authority for the Amtrak Commuter (thus abolishing it as an Amtrak subsidiary).
Declares that State and local laws that impair the provision of mail, express, and auto-ferry transportation shall not apply to Amtrak or a rail carrier providing such services.
Section 206 -
Exempts from paying a tax or fee to the same extent that Amtrak is so exempt any commuter authority eligible to contract with Amtrak Commuter to provide commuter rail passenger transportation but which decided to provide its own beginning January 1, 1983.
Section 207 -
Repeals the requirement that rail freight and commuter rail passenger transportation over certain acquired property be provided under compensatory agreements with the responsible carriers.
Requires Amtrak and other commuter rail carriers to an agreement for the provision of rail freight or commuter rail passenger transportation over certain rights-of-way and facilities on the Northeast Corridor to submit any disputes over terms of such agreement to binding arbitration.
Encourages Amtrak to make agreements with the private sector and undertake initiatives that promote the potential privatization of its operations.
Section 208 -
Authorizes the Comptroller General to conduct financial audits of Amtrak activities. Declares that a State shall have access to Amtrak's records, accounts, and other necessary documents used to determine the amount of any State payment to Amtrak.
Title III - Financial Reforms
Urges Amtrak, in issuing stock, to include employee stock ownership plans.
Section 301 -
Requires Amtrak to redeem all previously issued common stock at the fair market value.
Declares that Amtrak preferred stock held by the Secretary of Transportation shall confer no liquidation preference or voting rights.
Repeals the Secretary's authority to obtain notes and mortgages from Amtrak in order to secure expenditures to acquire and improve designated Conrail rail property, and establish a Government mortgage lien on it, under the final system plan pursuant to the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973.
Relinquishes all U.S. rights in any such notes or mortgages entered into with Amtrak dated October 5, 1983.
Declares that no amount shall be includible in Amtrak's gross income for Federal tax purposes as a result of the application of this section.
Section 302 -
Repeals current requirements governing Federal payments to Amtrak and provides, instead, that appropriated Federal operating assistance funds shall be provided to Amtrak upon appropriation when requested by Amtrak.
Section 303 -
Replaces the Board of Directors of Amtrak with the Emergency Reform Board.
Section 306 -
Exempts Amtrak (and Amtrak subsidiary) passengers and customers from any fee, head charge, or other charge imposed by a State or local taxing authority directly or indirectly on any persons traveling in intercity rail passenger transportation or mail or express transportation provided by Amtrak or a rail carrier subsidiary of Amtrak, or on the carriage of such persons, mail, or express, or on the sale of any such transportation, or on the gross receipts derived from such activities.
Title IV - Miscellaneous
Establishes a Temporary Rail Advisory Council to: (1) evaluate Amtrak's performance; and (2) suggest strategies for further cost containment and productivity improvements, including strategies for further reduction in Federal operating subsidies and eventual privatization of Amtrak operations.
Section 404 -
Extends from October 15, 1996, to October 15, 2000, the deadline for retrofitting of certain intercity rail passenger cars with human waste disposal systems that provide for waste discharge at a servicing facility only.
Section 405 -
Repeals the authority or mandate for: (1) assistance for upgrading rail facilities that pose a hazard; (2) the rail safety system program; (3) a plan for demonstrating new technology in rail passenger equipment; and (4) a program master plan for a Boston-New York main line.
Section 409 -
Requires Amtrak to construct an electrification system between Boston, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut, to accommodate the installation of a third mainline track between Davisville and Central Falls, Rhode Island, to be used for double-stack freight service to and from the Port of Davisville.
Section 410 -
Declares that Amtrak, and facilities it jointly uses with a commuter authority, shall not be subject to certain requirements under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 until January 1, 1998.
Section 412 -
Amends the Northeast Rail Service Act of 1981 to repeal the mandate for determination of a costing methodology with respect to certain Northeast Corridor cost disputes.
Section 414 -
Amends the Conrail Privatization Act to repeal a specified provision regarding composition of the Board of Directors of the Consolidated Rail Corporation.
Section 415 -
Grants congressional consent to States with an interest in a specific form, route, or corridor of intercity passenger rail service, including high speed rail service, to enter into interstate compacts to promote such service.
Section 417 -
Directs the Secretary of Transportation to transfer title to certain magnetic levitation tract materials at the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado, to the State of Florida.
Section 418 -
Amends the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 to declare that it is the purpose of the Congress to promote the revitalization of the railway system through, among other things, preservation of light density lines. Revises interest rate, repayment, and prepayment penalty requirements with respect to guaranteed railroad improvement loans.
Title V - Authorization of Appropriations
Amends Federal transportation law to authorize appropriations for Amtrak for: (1) capital expenditures, operating expenses, and certain additional amounts; and (2) guarantee of obligations to improve railroad facilities or equipment. Reduces the authorizations for capital expenditures and certain additional amounts for any fiscal year by any amount made available to Amtrak from an intercity passenger transportation trust fund for that fiscal year.
Section 501 -
Amends the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 to prohibit the Secretary from requiring, as a condition for guarantee of an obligation, that all preexisting secured obligations of an obligor be subordinated to the Secretary's rights in the event of a default.

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.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus Summary

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