H. R. 2595
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 15, 2021
Mr. Pence (for himself and Mr. Cuellar) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
To establish a Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Initiative, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Act or the
Rural opportunities to use transportation for economic success initiative
The Secretary of Transportation shall establish the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Initiative (hereinafter referred to as the
ROUTES Office), to—
improve analysis of rural projects applying for Department of Transportation discretionary grants, including ensuring that project costs, local resources, and the larger benefits to the American people and the economy are appropriately considered; and
provide rural communities with technical assistance for meeting the Nation’s transportation infrastructure investment need in a financially sustainable manner.
The ROUTES Office shall—
collect input from knowledgeable entities and the public on the benefits of rural transportation projects, the technical and financial assistance required for constructing and operating rural transportation infrastructure and services, and barriers and opportunities to funding such rural transportation projects;
evaluate data on rural transportation challenges and determining methods to align the Department of Transportation’s discretionary funding and financing opportunities with the needs of rural communities for meeting National transportation goals; and
educate rural communities about applicable Department of Transportation discretionary grants, developing effective methods to evaluate rural projects in discretionary grant programs, and communicating those methods through program guidance.
The Secretary shall establish the ROUTES Council (hereinafter referred to as the
organize, guide, and lead the ROUTES Office; and
coordinate rural-related funding programs and assistance among the modal administrations.
The Council shall be composed of the following officers of the Department of Transportation, or their designees:
The Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy.
The General Counsel.
The Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs.
The Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology.
The Administrators of the—
Federal Aviation Administration;
Federal Highway Administration;
Federal Railroad Administration; and
Federal Transit Administration.
The Chief Infrastructure Funding Officer.
The Assistant Secretary of Government Affairs.
The Director of the Office of Public Affairs.
The Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy shall be the Chair of the Council.
The Secretary of Transportation or the Chair of the Council may designate additional members to serve on the Council.
Additional modal input
To address issues related to safety and transport of rural commodities, the Council shall consult with the Administrators (or their designees) of the—
Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; and
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Members of the Council shall—
participate in all meetings and relevant Council activities and be prepared to share information relevant to rural transportation infrastructure projects and issues;
provide guidance and leadership on rural transportation infrastructure issues and represent the work of the Council and Department of Transportation on such issues to external stakeholders; and
recommend initiatives to the Chair of the Council to consider, establish, and staff any resulting activities or working groups.
The Council shall meet bimonthly.
Work products and deliverables
The Council may develop work products or deliverables to meet its goals, including—
an annual report to Congress describing Council activities for the past year and expected activities for the coming year;
any recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of Department of Transportation discretionary grant programs regarding rural infrastructure issues; and
other guides and reports for relevant groups and the public.