H.R. 2654 (107th): Transit Rail Accommodation Improvement and Needs Act for the 21st Century

107th Congress, 2001–2002. Text as of Jul 26, 2001 (Introduced).

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HR 2654 IH

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2654

To designate the Surface Transportation Board as a forum to improve passenger rail and other fixed guideway passenger transportation by allowing improved access to freight track and rights-of-way for fixed guideway transportation in consideration for just and reasonable compensation to freight railroads.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 26, 2001

Mr. CLEMENT (for himself, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Mrs. TAUSCHER, Mr. MICA, and Mr. HONDA) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


A BILL

To designate the Surface Transportation Board as a forum to improve passenger rail and other fixed guideway passenger transportation by allowing improved access to freight track and rights-of-way for fixed guideway transportation in consideration for just and reasonable compensation to freight railroads.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Transit Rail Accommodation Improvement and Needs Act for the 21st Century’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--

      (1) modern and efficient fixed guideway transportation is important to the viability and well-being of metropolitan areas and to the energy conservation and self-sufficiency goals of the United States;

      (2) public convenience and necessity require the development of fixed guideway transportation systems in metropolitan areas presently without such service, and the expansion of existing systems in metropolitan areas already receiving such service;

      (3) use of existing railroad trackage and rights-of-way in and around metropolitan areas provides a unique and valuable opportunity for the development and expansion of fixed guideway transportation facilities with a minimum of disruption to the environment and the surrounding community; and

      (4) voluntary negotiations between mass transportation authorities and rail carriers regarding shared use of existing railroad trackage and rights-of-way have not been adequate to ensure the development of sound and efficient fixed guideway transportation systems.

SEC. 3. RAIL TRANSIT ACCESS.

    (a) AMENDMENT- Part E of subtitle V of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:

‘CHAPTER 285--RAIL TRANSIT ACCESS

      ‘Sec.

      ‘28501. Definitions.

      ‘28502. Shared use of rail carrier trackage by mass transportation authorities.

      ‘28503. Shared use of rail rights-of-way by mass transportation authorities.

      ‘28504. Applicability of other laws.

      ‘28505. Standards for Board action.

‘Sec. 28501. Definitions

    ‘In this chapter--

      ‘(1) the term ‘Board’ means the Surface Transportation Board;

      ‘(2) the term ‘capital work’ means maintenance, restoration, reconstruction, capacity enhancement, or rehabilitation work on trackage that would be treated, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, as a capital item rather than an expense;

      ‘(3) the term ‘fixed guideway transportation’ means mass transportation (as defined in section 5302(a)(7)) provided on, by, or using a fixed guideway (as defined in section 5302(a)(4));

      ‘(4) the term ‘mass transportation authority’ means a local governmental authority (as defined in section 5302(a)(6)) established to provide, or make a contract providing for, fixed guideway transportation;

      ‘(5) the term ‘rail carrier’ means a person, other than a governmental authority, providing common carrier railroad transportation for compensation subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under chapter 105;

      ‘(6) the term ‘segregated fixed guideway facility’ means a fixed guideway facility constructed within the railroad right-of-way of a rail carrier but physically separate from trackage, including relocated trackage, within the right-of-way used by a rail carrier for freight transportation purposes; and

      ‘(7) the term ‘trackage’ means a railroad line of a rail carrier, including a spur, industrial, team, switching, side, yard, or station track, and a facility of a rail carrier.

‘Sec. 28502. Shared use of rail carrier trackage by mass transportation authorities

    ‘(a) AUTHORITY- If, after negotiation, a mass transportation authority cannot reach agreement with a rail carrier to use trackage of, and have related services provided by, the rail carrier for purposes of fixed guideway transportation, the Board shall, upon application of the mass transportation authority or the rail carrier, and if

the Board finds it necessary or useful to carry out this chapter--

      ‘(1) order that the trackage be made available and the related services be provided to the mass transportation authority; and

      ‘(2) prescribe reasonable terms and compensation for use of the trackage and provision of the related services, including the performance of capital work if the mass transportation authority has demonstrated that such capital work is required for efficient and reliable passenger operations on the trackage to be used.

    ‘(b) STANDARD FOR COMPENSATION; QUALITY OF SERVICE- When prescribing reasonable compensation under subsection (a)(2), the Board shall consider alternative cost allocation principles, including incremental cost and fully allocated cost, under rules promulgated by the Board within 6 months after the date of the enactment of the Transit Rail Accommodation Improvement and Needs Act for the 21st Century. The Board shall consider quality of service by the rail carrier as a major factor when determining compensation for the use of the trackage and providing the related services.

    ‘(c) TERMS OF OPERATION- When prescribing reasonable terms under subsection (a)(2), the Board may prescribe the number of trains that may be operated by or for the mass transportation authority, the speeds at which such trains may be operated, and the trackage maintenance levels to be provided by the rail carrier.

    ‘(d) ADDITIONAL TRAINS- When a rail carrier and a mass transportation authority cannot agree to terms for the operation of additional trains by or for a mass transportation authority over a rail line of the carrier, the mass transportation authority or the rail carrier may apply to the Board for an order establishing such terms. If the Board finds it reasonable to carry out this chapter, the Board shall order the rail carrier to allow operation of the requested additional trains on such terms as the Board finds reasonable under the circumstances.

    ‘(e) TRACKAGE MAINTENANCE- If a mass transportation authority believes that maintenance or related capital work of trackage operated by or for the mass transportation authority has fallen below a necessary level to maintain reliable service at speeds necessary to provide convenient and efficient mass transportation service, the mass transportation authority may, after notice to the rail carrier and a sufficient period for maintenance or related capital work improvements, apply to the Board for an order requiring the rail carrier to provide increased or improved maintenance or related capital work on the trackage. If the Board finds it reasonable to carry out this part, the Board shall order the rail carrier to provide such increased or improved maintenance or related capital work as the Board finds reasonable under the circumstances. The remedy available under this subsection shall be in addition to any contract rights that a mass transportation authority may possess with respect to trackage maintenance or related capital work.

    ‘(f) ACCELERATED SPEEDS- If a rail carrier refuses to allow accelerated speeds for trains operated by or for a mass transportation authority, the mass transportation authority may apply to the Board for an order requiring the rail carrier to allow the accelerated speeds and related capital work required to permit operation at the accelerated speeds. The Board shall decide whether accelerated speeds are practicable and which capital work would be required to make accelerated speeds practicable. The Board shall establish the maximum allowable speeds for trains operated by or for a mass transportation authority on terms the Board decides are reasonable.

    ‘(g) PREFERENCE OVER FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION- Except in an emergency, fixed guideway transportation provided by or for a mass transportation authority pursuant to an order issued under subsection (a) has preference over freight transportation in using a rail line, junction, or crossing unless the Board orders otherwise under this chapter. A rail carrier affected by this subsection may apply to the Board for relief. If the Board decides that preference for fixed guideway transportation materially will lessen the quality of freight transportation provided to shippers, the Board shall establish the rights of the rail carrier and the mass transportation authority on reasonable terms.

    ‘(h) FINAL DETERMINATION- The Board shall make a determination under this section not later than 120 days after a mass transportation authority or a rail carrier submits an application to the Board.

‘Sec. 28503. Shared use of rail rights-of-way by mass transportation authorities

    ‘(a) GENERAL AUTHORITY- If, after negotiation, a mass transportation authority cannot reach agreement with a rail carrier to acquire an interest in a railroad right-of-way for the construction and operation of a segregated fixed guideway facility, the mass transportation authority may apply to the Board for an order requiring the rail carrier to convey an interest to the authority. The Board, not later than 120 days after receiving the application, shall order the interest conveyed if--

      ‘(1) the mass transportation authority assumes a reasonable allocation of costs associated with any

necessary relocation of a rail carrier’s trackage within the right-of-way; and

      ‘(2) the fixed guideway transportation purpose of the proposed segregated fixed guideway facility cannot be met adequately at a reasonable cost by acquiring an interest in other property.

    ‘(b) COMPENSATION AND TERMS- A conveyance ordered by the Board under this section shall be subject to the payment of just compensation and to such other reasonable terms as the Board may prescribe.

‘Sec. 28504. Applicability of other laws

    ‘(a) BOARD REVIEW OR APPROVAL- Operations or conveyances undertaken pursuant to an order issued under section 28502 or 28503 are not subject to Board review or approval under subtitle IV of this title unless the Board, on a case-by-case basis, has determined that the mass transportation authority has assumed rights or obligations under such order to provide transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under chapter 105.

    ‘(b) CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS FOR CLAIMS- Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit a rail transportation provider’s right under section 28103(b) to enter into contracts that allocate financial responsibility for claims.

‘Sec. 28505. Standards for Board action

    ‘In proceedings under sections 28502 and 28503 the Board shall utilize, to the extent relevant and feasible, the principles, standards, and precedents utilized in proceedings under sections 24308 and 24311(c) involving the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.’.

    (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS-

      (1) LIMITATIONS ON RAIL PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION LIABILITY- Section 28103(a) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting ‘or other fixed guideway transportation’ after ‘commuter’.

      (2) TABLE OF CHAPTERS- The table of chapters of subtitle V of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding after the item relating to chapter 283 the following new item:

--28501’.

SEC. 4. RAIL TRANSPORTATION POLICY.

    Section 10101 of title 49, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) by striking ‘and’ at the end of paragraph (14);

      (2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (15) and inserting ‘; and’; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

      ‘(16) to encourage and promote the operation of safe, efficient, and reliable commuter rail passenger service and other fixed guideway transportation systems, including operations where the service will share lines, corridors, or other facilities with freight railroads or with intercity rail passenger service.’.