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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Oct 30, 2015.
(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The expanded summary of the House passed version is repeated here.)
Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015
(Sec. 1) Directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to reduce the amount apportioned for a surface transportation program, project, or activity for FY2016 by amounts apportioned or allocated pursuant to the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 for the period from October 1, 2015, through October 29, 2015.
TITLE I--SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM EXTENSION
Subtitle A--Federal-Aid Highways
(Sec. 1001) Amends the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 to continue from October 1, 2015, through November 20, 2015, and authorizes appropriations through that period for, specified federal-aid highway programs under:
the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) Technical Corrections Act of 2008, SAFETEA-LU, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), and other specified law. Subjects funding for such programs generally to the same manner of distribution, administration, limitation, and availability for obligation, but at a specified pro rata of the total amount, as funds authorized for appropriation out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for such programs and activities for FY2014.
Amends the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) to authorize appropriations out of the general fund of the Treasury for the Tribal High Priority Projects program for the same period.
Prescribes an obligation ceiling of $5,595,839,851 for federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs for the same period.
(Sec. 1002) Authorizes appropriations from the HTF (other than the Mass Transit Account) for administrative expenses of the federal-aid highway program for the same period.
Subtitle B--Extension of Highway Safety Programs
(Sec. 1101) Extends for the same period the authorization of appropriations for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety programs, including:
highway safety research and development, national priority safety programs, the National Driver Register, the High Visibility Enforcement Program, and NHTSA administrative expenses. Amends SAFETEA-LU to extend for the same period high-visibility traffic safety law enforcement campaigns under the High Visibility Enforcement Program.
Sets aside a specified amount of the total apportionment to states for highway safety programs for a cooperative program to research and evaluate priority highway safety countermeasures for the same period.
(Sec. 1102) Extends for the same period the authorization of appropriations for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) programs, including:
motor carrier safety grants, FMCSA administrative expenses, commercial driver's license program improvement grants, border enforcement grants, performance and registration information system management grants, commercial vehicle information systems and networks deployment grants, safety data improvement grants, a set-aside for high priority activities that improve commercial motor vehicle safety and compliance with commercial motor vehicle safety regulations, a set-aside for new entrant motor carrier audit grants, FMCSA outreach and education, and the commercial motor vehicle operators grant program. (Sec. 1103) Amends the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act to continue, for the same period, the authorized distribution of funds for coastal wetlands, recreational boating safety, projects under the Clean Vessel Act of 19921, boating infrastructure projects, and the National Outreach and Communications Program.
Subtitle C--Public Transportation Programs
(Sec. 1201) Extends for the same period the apportionment of nonurbanized (rural) area formula grants for competitive grants and formula grants for public transportation on Indian reservations.
(Sec. 1202) Extends the apportionment of urbanized area formula grants for passenger ferry projects for the same period.
(Sec. 1203) Extends for the same period the authorization of appropriations from the HTF Mass Transit Account for:
formula grants for public transportation, including allocations for specified projects; research, development demonstration, and deployment projects; the transit cooperative research program; technical assistance and standards development grants; human resources and training grants; capital investment grants; and administrative expenses. (Sec. 1204) Allocates, for the same period, certain amounts to states and territories for formula bus and bus facilities grants.
Subtitle D--Hazardous Materials
(Sec. 1301) Authorizes appropriations for the same period for hazardous materials (hazmat) transportation safety projects.
Authorizes DOT to make certain expenditures, including an amount for hazmat training grants, from the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Fund for the same period.
(Sec. 1302) Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015
Revises positive train control systems requirements.
Extends from December 31, 2015, to December 31, 2018, the deadline for submission to DOT by each Class I railroad carrier and each entity providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation of a revised plan for implementing a positive train control (PTC) system on certain of its tracks. Permits such carrier or other entity to provide for an alternative schedule and sequence for implementing a PTC system, subject to DOT review.
Requires each railroad carrier or other entity to report annually to DOT on the progress toward implementing PTC systems.
Authorizes DOT to assess civil penalties for violations of this section.
Exempts Class I railroad carriers with PTC systems that have been certified and implemented on its tracks from certain federal rail operating restrictions that would otherwise apply where a PTC-equipped track segment fails or cuts out en route, provided the carrier operates at an equivalent or greater level of safety than that acheived before use or implementation of its PTC system.
Requires DOT to amend federal regulations relating to equipping locomotives for Class II and Class III railroads operating in PTC territory to extend each deadline under the regulations by three years.
TITLE II--REVENUE PROVISIONS
(Sec. 2001) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend through November 20, 2015, the authority for expenditures from:
the HTF Highway and Mass Transit Accounts, the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, and the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.