< Back to H.R. 6052 (110th Congress, 2007–2009)

Text of the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008

This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the House on June 26, 2008 but was never passed by the Senate. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 27, 2008 (Referred to Senate Committee).

Source: GPO

HR 6052 RFS

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6052

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 27, 2008

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs


AN ACT

To promote increased public transportation use, to promote increased use of alternative fuels in providing public transportation, and for other purposes.

    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 ‘Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:

      (1) In 2007, people in the United States took more than 10.3 billion trips using public transportation, the highest level in 50 years.

      (2) Public transportation use in the United States is up 32 percent since 1995, a figure that is more than double the growth rate of the Nation’s population and is substantially greater than the growth rate for vehicle miles traveled on the Nation’s highways for that same period.

      (3) Public transportation use saves fuel, reduces emissions, and saves money for the people of the United States.

      (4) The direct petroleum savings attributable to public transportation use is 1.4 billion gallons per year, and when the secondary effects of transit availability on travel are also taken into account, public transportation use saves the United States the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year (more than 11 million gallons of gasoline per day).

      (5) Public transportation use in the United States is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.

      (6) An individual who commutes to work using a single occupancy vehicle can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 pounds per day (more than 4,800 pounds per year) by switching to public transportation.

      (7) Public transportation use provides an affordable alternative to driving, as households that use public transportation save an average of $6,251 every year.

      (8) Although under existing laws Federal employees in the National Capital Region receive transit benefits, transit benefits should be available to all Federal employees in the United States so that the Federal Government sets a leading example of greater public transportation use.

      (9) Public transportation stakeholders should engage and involve local communities in the education and promotion of the importance of utilizing public transportation.

      (10) Increasing public transportation use is a national priority.

SEC. 3. GRANTS TO IMPROVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SERVICES.

    (a) Authorizations of Appropriations-

      (1) URBANIZED AREA FORMULA GRANTS- In addition to amounts allocated under section 5338(b)(2)(B) of title 49, United States Code, to carry out section 5307 of such title, there is authorized to be appropriated $750,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to carry out such section 5307. Such funds shall be apportioned, not later than 7 days after the date on which the funds are appropriated, in accordance with section 5336 (other than subsections (i)(1) and (j)) of such title but may not be combined or commingled with any other funds apportioned under such section 5336.

      (2) FORMULA GRANTS FOR OTHER THAN URBANIZED AREAS- In addition to amounts allocated under section 5338(b)(2)(G) of title 49, United States Code, to carry out section 5311 of such title, there is authorized to be appropriated $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to carry out such section 5311. Such funds shall be apportioned, not later than 7 days after the date on which the funds are appropriated, in accordance with such section 5311 but may not be combined or commingled with any other funds apportioned under such section 5311.

    (b) Use of Funds- Notwithstanding sections 5307 and 5311 of title 49, United States Code, the Secretary of Transportation may make grants under such sections from amounts appropriated under subsection (a) only for one or more of the following:

      (1) If the recipient of the grant is reducing, or certifies to the Secretary within the time the Secretary prescribes that, during the term of the grant, the recipient will reduce one or more fares the recipient charges for public transportation, or in the case of subsection (f) of such section 5311, intercity bus service, those operating costs of equipment and facilities being used to provide the public transportation, or in the case of subsection (f) of such section 5311, intercity bus service, that the recipient is no longer able to pay from the revenues derived from such fare or fares as a result of such reduction.

      (2) If the recipient of the grant is expanding, or certifies to the Secretary within the time the Secretary prescribes that, during the term of the grant, the recipient will expand public transportation service, or in the case of subsection (f) of such section 5311, intercity bus service, those operating and capital costs of equipment and facilities being used to provide the public transportation service, or in the case of subsection (f) of such section 5311, intercity bus service, that the recipient incurs as a result of the expansion of such service.

      (3) To avoid increases in fares for public transportation, or in the case of subsection (f) of such section 5311, intercity bus service, or decreases in current public transportation service, or in the case of subsection (f) of such section 5311, intercity bus service, that would otherwise result from an increase in costs to the public transportation or intercity bus agency for transportation-related fuel or meeting additional transportation-related equipment or facility maintenance needs, if the recipient of the grant certifies to the Secretary within the time the Secretary prescribes that, during the term of the grant, the recipient will not increase the fares that the recipient charges for public transportation, or in the case of subsection (f) of such section 5311, intercity bus service, or, will not decrease the public transportation service, or in the case of subsection (f) of such section 5311, intercity bus service, that the recipient provides.

      (4) If the recipient of the grant is acquiring, or certifies to the Secretary within the time the Secretary prescribes that, during the term of the grant, the recipient will acquire, clean fuel or alternative fuel vehicle-related equipment or facilities for the purpose of improving fuel efficiency, the costs of acquiring the equipment or facilities.

      (5) If the recipient of the grant is establishing or expanding, or certifies to the Secretary within the time the Secretary prescribes that, during the term of the grant, the recipient will establish or expand commuter matching services to provide commuters with information and assistance about alternatives to single occupancy vehicle use, those administrative costs in establishing or expanding such services.

    (c) Federal Share- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal share of the costs for which a grant is made under this section shall be 100 percent.

    (d) Period of Availability- Funds appropriated under this section shall remain available for a period of 2 fiscal years.

SEC. 4. INCREASED FEDERAL SHARE FOR CLEAN AIR ACT COMPLIANCE.

    Notwithstanding section 5323(i)(1) of title 49, United States Code, a grant for a project to be assisted under chapter 53 of such title during fiscal years 2008 and 2009 that involves acquiring clean fuel or alternative fuel vehicle-related equipment or facilities for the purposes of complying with or maintaining compliance with the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.) shall be for 100 percent of the net project cost of the equipment or facility attributable to compliance with that Act unless the grant recipient requests a lower grant percentage.

SEC. 5. TRANSPORTATION FRINGE BENEFITS.

    (a) Requirement That Agencies Offer Transit Pass Transportation Fringe Benefits to Their Employees Nationwide-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 3049(a)(1) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (5 U.S.C. 7905 note; 119 Stat. 1711) is amended--

        (A) by striking ‘Effective’ and all that follows through ‘each covered agency’ and inserting ‘Each agency’; and

        (B) by inserting ‘at a location in an urbanized area of the United States that is served by fixed route public transportation’ before ‘shall be offered’.

      (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- Section 3049(a) of such Act (5 U.S.C. 7905 note; 119 Stat. 1711) is amended--

        (A) in paragraph (3)--

          (i) by striking subparagraph (A); and

          (ii) by redesignating subparagraphs (B) through (F) as subparagraphs (A) through (E), respectively; and

        (B) in paragraph (4) by striking ‘a covered agency’ and inserting ‘an agency’.

    (b) Benefits Described- Section 3049(a)(2) of such Act (5 U.S.C. 7905 note; 119 Stat. 1711) is amended by striking the period at the end and inserting the following: ‘, except that the maximum level of such benefits shall be the maximum amount which may be excluded from gross income for qualified parking as in effect for a month under section 132(f)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.’.

    (c) Guidance- Section 3049(a) of such Act (5 U.S.C. 7905 note; 119 Stat. 1711) is amended by adding at the end the following:

      ‘(5) GUIDANCE-

        ‘(A) ISSUANCE- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this paragraph, the Secretary of Transportation shall issue guidance on nationwide implementation of the transit pass transportation fringe benefits program under this subsection.

        ‘(B) UNIFORM APPLICATION-

          ‘(i) IN GENERAL- The guidance to be issued under subparagraph (A) shall contain a uniform application for use by all Federal employees applying for benefits from an agency under the program.

          ‘(ii) REQUIRED INFORMATION- As part of such an application, an employee shall provide, at a minimum, the employee’s home and work addresses, a breakdown of the employee’s commuting costs, and a certification of the employee’s eligibility for benefits under the program.

          ‘(iii) WARNING AGAINST FALSE STATEMENTS- Such an application shall contain a warning against making false statements in the application.

        ‘(C) INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS- The guidance to be issued under subparagraph (A) shall contain independent verification requirements to ensure that, with respect to an employee of an agency--

          ‘(i) the eligibility of the employee for benefits under the program is verified by an official of the agency;

          ‘(ii) employee commuting costs are verified by an official of the agency; and

          ‘(iii) records of the agency are checked to ensure that the employee is not receiving parking benefits from the agency.

        ‘(D) PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION REQUIREMENTS- The guidance to be issued under subparagraph (A) shall contain program implementation requirements applicable to each agency to ensure that--

          ‘(i) benefits provided by the agency under the program are adjusted in cases of employee travel, leave, or change of address;

          ‘(ii) removal from the program is included in the procedures of the agency relating to an employee separating from employment with the agency; and

          ‘(iii) benefits provided by the agency under the program are made available using an electronic format (rather than using paper fare media) where such a format is available for use.

        ‘(E) ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES- The guidance to be issued under subparagraph (A) shall contain a uniform administrative policy on enforcement and penalties. Such policy shall be implemented by each agency to ensure compliance with program requirements, to prevent fraud and abuse, and, as appropriate, to penalize employees who have abused or misused the benefits provided under the program.

        ‘(F) PERIODIC REVIEWS- The guidance to be issued under subparagraph (A) shall require each agency, not later than September 1 of the first fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment of this paragraph, and every 3 years thereafter, to develop and submit to the Secretary a review of the agency’s implementation of the program. Each such review shall contain, at a minimum, the following:

          ‘(i) An assessment of the agency’s implementation of the guidance, including a summary of the audits and investigations, if any, of the program conducted by the Inspector General of the agency.

          ‘(ii) Information on the total number of employees of the agency that are participating in the program.

          ‘(iii) Information on the total number of single occupancy vehicles removed from the roadway network as a result of participation by employees of the agency in the program.

          ‘(iv) Information on energy savings and emissions reductions, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, resulting from reductions in single occupancy vehicle use by employees of the agency that are participating in the program.

          ‘(v) Information on reduced congestion and improved air quality resulting from reductions in single occupancy vehicle use by employees of the agency that are participating in the program.

          ‘(vi) Recommendations to increase program participation and thereby reduce single occupancy vehicle use by Federal employees nationwide.

      ‘(6) REPORTING REQUIREMENTS- Not later than September 30 of the first fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment of this paragraph, and every 3 years thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate a report on nationwide implementation of the transit pass transportation fringe benefits program under this subsection, including a summary of the information submitted by agencies pursuant to paragraph (5)(F).’.

    (d) Effective Date- Except as otherwise specifically provided, the amendments made by this section shall become effective on the first day of the first fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 6. CAPITAL COST OF CONTRACTING VANPOOL PILOT PROGRAM.

    (a) Establishment- The Secretary of Transportation shall establish and implement a pilot program to carry out vanpool demonstration projects in not more than 3 urbanized areas and not more than 2 other than urbanized areas.

    (b) Pilot Program-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding section 5323(i) of title 49, United States Code, for each project selected for participation in the pilot program, the Secretary shall allow the non-Federal share provided by a recipient of assistance for a capital project under chapter 53 of such title to include the amounts described in paragraph (2).

      (2) CONDITIONS ON ACQUISITION OF VANS- The amounts referred to in paragraph (1) are any amounts expended by a private provider of public transportation by vanpool for the acquisition of vans to be used by such private provider in the recipient’s service area, excluding any amounts the provider may have received in Federal, State, or local government assistance for such acquisition, if the private provider enters into a legally binding agreement with the recipient that requires the private provider to use all revenues it receives in providing public transportation in such service area, in excess of its operating costs, for the purpose of acquiring vans to be used by the private provider in such service area.

    (c) Program Term- The Secretary may approve an application for a vanpool demonstration project for fiscal years 2008 through 2009.

    (d) Report to Congress- Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate a report containing an assessment of the costs, benefits, and efficiencies of the vanpool demonstration projects.

SEC. 7. INCREASED FEDERAL SHARE FOR END-OF-LINE FIXED GUIDEWAY STATIONS.

    Notwithstanding section 5309(h) of title 49, United States Code, a grant for a capital project to be assisted under section 5309 of such title during fiscal years 2008 and 2009 that involves the acquisition of real property for, or the design, engineering, or construction of, additional parking facilities at an end-of-line fixed guideway station or at a park-and-ride lot that serves a fixed route commuter bus route that is more than 20 miles in length shall be for 100 percent of the net capital cost of the project unless the grant recipient requests a lower grant percentage.

SEC. 8. NATIONAL CONSUMER AWARENESS PROGRAM.

    (a) In General- The Secretary of Transportation shall carry out a national consumer awareness program to educate the public on the environmental, energy, and economic benefits of public transportation alternatives to the use of single occupancy vehicles.

    (b) Authorization of Appropriations- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2009. Such sums shall remain available until expended.

SEC. 9. EXCEPTION TO ALTERNATIVE FUEL PROCUREMENT REQUIREMENT.

    Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140; 42 U.S. C. 17142) is amended--

      (1) by striking ‘No Federal agency’ and inserting ‘(a) Requirement- Except as provided in subsection (b), no Federal agency’; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(b) Exception- Subsection (a) does not prohibit a Federal agency from entering into a contract to purchase a generally available fuel that is not an alternative or synthetic fuel or predominantly produced from a nonconventional petroleum source, if--

      ‘(1) the contract does not specifically require the contractor to provide an alternative or synthetic fuel or fuel from a nonconventional petroleum source;

      ‘(2) the purpose of the contract is not to obtain an alternative or synthetic fuel or fuel from a nonconventional petroleum source; and

      ‘(3) the contract does not provide incentives for a refinery upgrade or expansion to allow a refinery to use or increase its use of fuel from a nonconventional petroleum source.’.

Passed the House of Representatives June 26, 2008.

Attest:

LORRAINE C. MILLER,

Clerk.

By Robert F. Reeves,

Deputy Clerk.