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H.R. 2595: ROUTES Act


The text of the bill below is as of Apr 15, 2021 (Introduced).


I

117th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2595

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 15, 2021

(for himself and Mr. Cuellar) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

A BILL

To establish a Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Initiative, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Act or the ROUTES Act.

2.

Rural opportunities to use transportation for economic success initiative

(a)

In general

The Secretary of Transportation shall establish the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Initiative (hereinafter referred to as the ROUTES Office), to—

(1)

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

(2)

provide rural communities with technical assistance for meeting the Nation’s transportation infrastructure investment need in a financially sustainable manner.

(b)

Objectives

The ROUTES Office shall—

(1)

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;

(2)

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

(3)

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.

(c)

ROUTES Council

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall establish the ROUTES Council (hereinafter referred to as the Council) to—

(A)

organize, guide, and lead the ROUTES Office; and

(B)

coordinate rural-related funding programs and assistance among the modal administrations.

(2)

Membership

(A)

In general

The Council shall be composed of the following officers of the Department of Transportation, or their designees:

(i)

The Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy.

(ii)

The General Counsel.

(iii)

The Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs.

(iv)

The Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology.

(v)

The Administrators of the—

(I)

Federal Aviation Administration;

(II)

Federal Highway Administration;

(III)

Federal Railroad Administration; and

(IV)

Federal Transit Administration.

(vi)

The Chief Infrastructure Funding Officer.

(vii)

The Assistant Secretary of Government Affairs.

(viii)

The Director of the Office of Public Affairs.

(B)

Chair

The Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy shall be the Chair of the Council.

(C)

Additional Members

The Secretary of Transportation or the Chair of the Council may designate additional members to serve on the Council.

(3)

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—

(A)

Maritime Administration;

(B)

Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; and

(C)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(4)

Duties

Members of the Council shall—

(A)

participate in all meetings and relevant Council activities and be prepared to share information relevant to rural transportation infrastructure projects and issues;

(B)

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

(C)

recommend initiatives to the Chair of the Council to consider, establish, and staff any resulting activities or working groups.

(5)

Meetings

The Council shall meet bimonthly.

(6)

Work products and deliverables

The Council may develop work products or de­liv­er­ables to meet its goals, including—

(A)

an annual report to Congress describing Council activities for the past year and expected activities for the coming year;

(B)

any recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of Department of Transportation discretionary grant programs regarding rural infrastructure issues; and

(C)

other guides and reports for relevant groups and the public.