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H.R. 200 (114th): Commute Less Act of 2015

The text of the bill below is as of Jan 7, 2015 (Introduced).


I

114th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 200

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 7, 2015

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

A BILL

To amend titles 23 and 49, United States Code, with respect to congestion mitigation and metropolitan transportation planning, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Commute Less Act of 2015.

2.

Metropolitan transportation planning

(a)

Definitions

Section 5303(b) of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraph (7) as paragraph (9);

(2)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) through (6) as paragraphs (2) through (7), respectively;

(3)

by inserting before paragraph (2) (as so redesignated by paragraph (2) of this subsection) the following:

(1)

Employer-based commuter program

The term employer-based commuter program means a program implemented by an employer that provides employees of that employer with alternatives to driving to and from work in a vehicle occupied by a single individual, including the following:

(A)

A carpool program.

(B)

A vanpool program.

(C)

A transit benefit program.

(D)

A parking cash-out program.

(E)

A shuttle program.

(F)

A telework program.

; and

(4)

by inserting before paragraph (9) (as so redesignated by paragraph (1) of this subsection) the following:

(8)

Transportation management organization

The term transportation management organization means a local, regional, or statewide association of employers established for the purpose of providing employees of those employers with alternatives to driving to and from work in a vehicle occupied by a single individual.

.

(b)

Development of transportation plan

(1)

Transportation plan

Section 5303(i)(2) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(I)

Employer outreach activities and strategies

Proposed activities and strategies to provide outreach to employers and transportation management organizations to facilitate the creation and expansion of employer-based commuter programs.

.

(2)

Participation by interested parties

Section 5303(i)(6)(A) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the disabled, the following: representatives of employers and transportation management organizations,.

(c)

Metropolitan TIP

Section 5303(j)(2)(A) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by striking the period at the end and inserting , including projects identified in a relevant commuter trip reduction plan developed under subsection (r)..

(d)

Transportation management areas

Section 5303(k)(3) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(C)

Employer involvement

A process for addressing congestion management under subparagraph (A) shall be developed in coordination with any relevant employer advisory council established under subsection (r) and shall include projects identified in the commuter trip reduction plan of that council.

.

(e)

Employer advisory councils and information clearinghouse

Section 5303 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(r)

Employer advisory councils

(1)

In general

Each metropolitan planning organization serving a transportation management area shall establish an employer advisory council that consists of representatives of employers in the area served by the metropolitan planning organization.

(2)

Membership

(A)

In general

An employer advisory council shall consist of not less than 7 representatives of employers and representatives of identified transportation management organizations in the area served by the relevant metropolitan planning organization.

(B)

Ensuring a diverse cross-section of employers

In establishing an employer advisory council, a metropolitan planning organization, to the extent practicable, shall ensure that the membership of the council includes a diverse cross-section of employers from the area served by the organization.

(3)

Commuter trip reduction plan

An employer advisory council established under paragraph (1) shall develop and maintain a commuter trip reduction plan that identifies—

(A)

commuting patterns in the area served by the relevant metropolitan planning organization;

(B)

area goals for the reduction of vehicle miles traveled during peak commuting hours;

(C)

existing and proposed employer-based commuter programs in the area;

(D)

a series of projects and activities to facilitate achievement of the goals identified under subparagraph (B); and

(E)

a financing plan for the projects and activities identified under subparagraph (D).

(s)

Information clearinghouse

The Secretary is authorized to make a grant to a national nonprofit organization engaged in efforts relating to employer-based commuter programs or another entity to—

(1)

establish and operate an information clearinghouse relating to employer investment in transportation and employer-based commuter programs;

(2)

develop an education program with respect to employer investment in transportation and employer-based commuter programs; and

(3)

provide technical assistance relating to employer-based commuter programs and disseminate techniques and strategies used by successful employer-based commuter programs.

.

3.

Congestion mitigation during project construction

Section 106 of title 23, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(k)

Congestion mitigation plans

(1)

Requirement

A recipient of Federal financial assistance under this title for a project with an estimated total cost of $75,000,000 or more or that will reduce traffic flow (as defined by the Secretary) for more than 120 days shall prepare a congestion mitigation plan for such project that includes funding for projects to reduce vehicle miles traveled during peak commuting hours along the impacted corridor.

(2)

Coordination

A recipient shall prepare a congestion mitigation plan under paragraph (1) in coordination with any relevant employer advisory council established under section 5303(r) of title 49.

(3)

Review by Secretary

A congestion mitigation plan prepared under paragraph (1) shall be made available to the Secretary for review upon the request of the Secretary.

.

4.

Employer-based commuter programs action plan

(a)

In general

The Secretary of Transportation shall develop and implement a plan to expand and promote employer-based commuter programs (as defined in section 5303(b) of title 49, United States Code).

(b)

Contents

The plan developed under subsection (a) shall include plans—

(1)

to amend existing regulations and guidance and, if necessary, develop new regulations and guidance to ensure that employer-based commuter programs are integrated, to the extent possible, into all appropriate Federal transportation programs;

(2)

to identify best practices with respect to employer-based commuter programs;

(3)

to research the effectiveness and efficiency of employer-based commuter programs; and

(4)

to create a national and regional peer exchange program to ensure that developments with respect to employer-based commuter programs are shared and issues are addressed.

(c)

Timing

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall finalize and begin implementation of the plan developed under subsection (a).

(d)

Report to Congress

Not later than 2 years 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 and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate a report on the implementation and impact of the plan developed under subsection (a).

5.

Disaster preparedness report

(a)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate a report with recommendations on how to better integrate employer-based commuter programs (as defined in section 5303(b) of title 49, United States Code) into emergency planning, preparedness, and response activities.

(b)

Coordination

In preparing the report under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consult with—

(1)

the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and

(2)

stakeholders, including national and regional organizations and experts that promote employer-based commuter programs.