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S. 1732 (114th): Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015

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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 Jul 9, 2015.

Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015

This bill establishes in the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of the Secretary an Interagency Infrastructure Permitting Improvement Center to support modernization efforts at federal agencies and interagency pilots for innovative approaches to the permitting and review of infrastructure projects.

DOT shall establish a national multimodal freight network and develop a national freight strategic plan.

States shall develop a freight investment plan.

DOT shall develop a five-year transportation research and development (R&D) strategic plan.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration is eliminated, and DOT shall be responsible generally for coordination and review of DOT R&D programs and activities.

The bill also eliminates the DOT Office of Intermodalism of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

Port Performance Act

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) shall establish a port performance statistics program to provide nationally consistent measures of performance of at least the nation's top 25 ports by tonnage, its top 25 ports by 20-foot equivalent unit, and its top 25 ports by dry bulk.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shall commission the National Research Council of the National Academies to study the Safety Measurement System (SMS) and the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.

The bill establishes a national hiring standard for motor carriers.

Drug Free Commercial Driver Act of 2015

Motor carriers may use hair testing as an acceptable alternative to mandatory urinalysis for detecting use of controlled substances by an operator, but only for preemployment testing and random testing.

The FMCSA shall:

establish procedures for exemption from federal hours of service requirements for commercial motor vehicle drivers, and a six-year pilot program to study the feasibility of allowing licensed drivers between ages 18 and 21 to operate commercial motor vehicles. DOT shall administer a financial assistance program for discretionary grants to and cooperative agreements with states, local governments, federally-recognized Indian tribes, and other persons to carry out high priority motor carrier safety activities and projects.

DOT shall award separate grants to each state that:

adopts and is enforcing a law that requires all individuals convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while intoxicated to receive a restriction on driving privileges; and either adopts and is enforcing a mandatory alcohol-ignition interlock law for all individuals convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or of driving while intoxicated, or provides a 24-7 sobriety program. Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act

DOT may not award grants or funds to any state or local government for any program to check helmet usage or create checkpoints for motorcycle drivers or passengers.

Improving Driver Safety Act of 2015

States may use distracted driving incentive program grants for enforcement of distracted driving laws as well as highway safety program projects.

DOT shall implement current information technology, web design trends, and best practices to ensure that motor vehicle safety recall information is readily accessible to the public on the federal website.

Driver Privacy Act of 2015

Any data in an event data recorder required to be installed in a passenger motor vehicle shall be the property of the vehicle owner or lessee, regardless of when the vehicle was manufactured.

Safety Through Informed Consumers Act of 2015

DOT shall promulgate a rule to ensure that passenger motor vehicle crash avoidance information is indicated next to crashworthiness information on stickers placed on motor vehicles by their manufacturers.

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) shall establish internal controls to ensure its costs, revenues, and other compensation are allocated to specified features of its national network activities.

Amtrak shall submit to Congress and DOT final five-year business line plans and five-year asset plans.

DOT shall develop a program for issuing three-year competitive operating assistance grants to states and other eligible entities to enhance intercity rail passenger service.

DOT may make grants to states and other eligible entities to assist in financing the cost of rail projects to improve the safety of passenger and freight rail transportation systems.

DOT shall require each Class I railroad carrier and entity providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation to develop a plan for implementing a positive train control (PTC) system by December 31, 2015, (currently, 2018) on certain of its tracks.

Track, Railroad, and Infrastructure Network Act

This bill exempts improvements to, maintenance, rehabilitation, or operation of railroad or rail transit lines (but not stations) that are in use or were historically used for the transportation of goods or passengers from federal policies and requirements for the preservation of public park and recreation lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites.

Railroad Infrastructure Financing Improvement Act

The bill revises Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program requirements.