IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
December 8, 2011
Mr. Warner (for himself and Mr. Kirk) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To require the Secretary of Transportation to establish a pilot program to increase accountability with respect to outcomes of transportation investments, and for other purposes.
Moving toward transportation accountability
Chapter 53 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
In this section:
Metropolitan planning organization
The term metropolitan planning organization means an organization designated as a metropolitan planning organization under section 5303(d) of this title or section 134(d) of title 23.
The term pilot program means the pilot program established under this section.
The term program participant means a State or metropolitan planning organization selected by the Secretary to participate in the pilot program.
National transportation goals
The term national transportation goals includes—
improving the connection of individuals and goods throughout the United States;
providing improved and efficient access to jobs and services throughout metropolitan areas;
promoting economic growth and enhanced commercial productivity;
integrating energy security and environmental protection objectives with transportation policy; and
improving safety by reducing fatalities and injuries.
The term transportation investment means Federal funding for a project included in a transportation program.
The term transportation program means a plan or strategy prepared by a metropolitan planning organization or a State for transportation systems and facilities in the metropolitan planning area or the State, including a transportation plan, transportation improvement program, statewide transportation plan, or statewide transportation improvement program developed under section 5303 or 5304 of this title or section 134 or 135 of title 23.
Establishment of pilot program
The Secretary shall establish a pilot program under which the Secretary shall conduct case studies of States and metropolitan planning organizations that are designed to—
provide more detailed, in-depth analysis and data collection with respect to transportation programs; and
apply rigorous methods of measuring and addressing the effectiveness of program participants in achieving national transportation goals.
The Secretary shall solicit applications to participate in the pilot program from States and metropolitan planning organizations.
A State or metropolitan planning organization that desires to participate in the pilot program shall notify the Secretary of such desire before a date determined by the Secretary.
Number of program participants
The Secretary shall select to participate in the pilot program—
not fewer than 3, and not more than 5, States; and
not fewer than 3, and not more than 5, metropolitan planning organizations.
The Secretary shall select program participants not later than 3 months after the date of enactment of this section.
Diversity of program participants
The Secretary shall, to the extent practicable, select program participants that represent a broad range of geographic and demographic areas (including rural and urban areas) and types of transportation programs.
Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this section, each program participant shall submit to the Secretary a baseline report that—
describes the reporting and data collection processes of the program participant for transportation investments that are in effect on the date of the report;
assesses how effective the program participant is in achieving national transportation goals;
describes potential improvements to the methods and metrics used to measure the effectiveness of the program participant in achieving national transportation goals and the hindrances to implementing such improvements; and
includes an assessment of whether, and specific reasons why, the preparation and submission of the baseline report may be limited, incomplete, or unduly burdensome, including any recommendations for facilitating the preparation and submission of similar reports in the future.
Each program participant shall work cooperatively with the Secretary to evaluate the methods and metrics used to measure the effectiveness of the program participant in achieving national transportation goals, including by—
considering the degree to which such methods and metrics take into account—
the factors that influence the effectiveness of the program participant in achieving national transportation goals;
all modes of transportation; and
the transportation program as a whole, rather than individual projects within the transportation program; and
identifying steps that could be used to implement the potential improvements identified under paragraph (1)(C).
Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this section, each program participant shall submit to the Secretary a comprehensive final report that—
contains an updated assessment of the effectiveness of the program participant in achieving national transportation goals; and
describes the ways in which the performance of the program participant in collecting and reporting data and carrying out the transportation program of the program participant has improved or otherwise changed since the date of submission of the baseline report under subparagraph (A).
Training, technical support, guidance
The Secretary, in consultation with the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget, shall—
provide training, technical support, and methodological guidance to program participants in—
improving data collection processes; and
preparing the reports, and making the evaluation required under this subsection;
facilitate coordination, collaboration, and information sharing between program participants; and
provide direction with respect to the nature of reports submitted by program participants, including collaborating with program participants to prepare the final report required under paragraph (3).
The Secretary may provide financial assistance to a program participant, as the Secretary determines is necessary to assist the program participant in carrying out the activities required under this subsection.
Coordination between states and metropolitan planning organizations
To the extent practicable, a program participant shall coordinate the activities required under this subsection—
with the department of transportation (or equivalent agency) of the State, if the program participant is a metropolitan planning organization; or
with the metropolitan planning organizations in the State, if the program participant is a State.
Federal plan for measuring the effectiveness of transportation programs in achieving national transportation goals
Not later than 21 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and after an analysis of the case studies under subsection (c), the Secretary shall develop and implement a plan for the Department of Transportation to use outcome-oriented performance measures to evaluate the effectiveness of transportation programs in achieving national transportation goals.
Contents of plan
The plan developed under paragraph (1) shall include—
an efficient method for reporting the effectiveness of transportation programs in achieving national transportation goals that is based on requirements applicable to States and metropolitan planning organizations under sections 5303 and 5304 of this title and sections 134 and 135 of title 23;
effective measures of the outcome or performance of transportation programs—
across all modes of transportation; and
with respect to the transportation program as a whole, rather than individual projects within the transportation program; and
a strategy to ensure that the Secretary continuously refines and standardizes data elements, models, and other estimating methods to steadily improve public and political confidence in the use of the outcome-oriented performance measures established under paragraph (1) as a basis for making transportation investments.
Availability of plan
The Secretary shall make the plan developed under paragraph (1) available to the public on the website of the Department of Transportation.
Comprehensive report to Congress
Not later than 21 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a comprehensive report on the pilot program that includes—
a summary of the results of the case studies under subsection (c);
the plan developed under subsection (d);
a summary of lessons learned with respect to challenges encountered by each program participant; and
recommendations, if any, for legislation to improve—
the guidance provided to States and metropolitan planning organizations for generating and collecting sound, outcome-based data; and
data-based performance measurement, analysis, and accountability for transportation programs.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated from the Highway Trust Fund to carry out this section, $15,000,000 for the 2-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this section.
The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of complying with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall be determined by reference to the latest statement titled Budgetary Effects of PAYGO Legislation for this Act, submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, provided that such statement has been submitted prior to the vote on passage.