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H.R. 4975 (94th): Amtrak Improvement Act

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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 Apr 24, 1975.

(Measure passed House, amended, roll call #156 (280-63)) Amtrak Improvement Act - Authorizes the Board of Directors of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, in its discretion, to approve a salary for the Corporation president of $85,000 or the general level of compensation paid officers of railroads in positions of comparable responsibility, whichever is the lesser. Permits the Corporation, at the request of States, to conduct studies during fiscal year 1976 to determine benefits of seasonal routes to recreational areas. Requires the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General, consistent with the effective enforcement of immigration and customs laws, to establish and maintain en route customs inspections and immigration procedures aboard trains. Provides that the Corporation must provide the service included within the basic system until October 1, 1976, subject only to the provisions of this Act. Provides that service undertaken by the Corporation on its own initiative beyond those services prescribed for in the basic system, must be operated by the Corporation until March 1, 1977. Requires the Board of Directors of the Corporation to develop a set of criteria and procedures (within 120 days) under which the Corporation would be authorized to add or discontinue rail passenger routes and services. Requires criteria and procedures, within the same 120-day period, to be submitted to the Congress, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Interstate Commerce Commission. Sets guidelines for such criteria and procedures. States that such criteria must include methods of evaluating the economic and environmental impact of any addition or discontinuance of intercity rail passenger service including an evaluation of the economic impact to the Corporation and to the nation of the addition of new service points along existing or new intercity routes within the Northeast Corridor. Requires the Board of Directors of the Corporation to consider the comments of the Secretary of Transportation and the Interstate Commerce Commission on the initial criteria and procedures developed by the Board of Directors and to submit to the Congress, within 30 days after receipt of such comments, a final set of criteria and procedures under which the Corporation would be authorized to add or discontinue intercity rail passenger trains, routes, and services. Authorizes such criteria and procedures set forth in the final proposal submitted by the Board of Directors to the Congress to take effect at the end of 60 calendar days of continuous session of the Congress after the date of its submission, unless either House of Congress adopts a resolution disapproving such final criteria and procedures. States that services initiated beyond the basic system by the Corporation upon its own initiative are not subject to any criteria or procedures under any law relating to discontinuance of service until March 1, 1977. Provides for a $63,000,000 increase in the authorization of appropriations for the Corporation, through June 30, 1975 (from $534,300,000 to $597,300,000). Authorizes appropriations for fiscal year 1976, the transition period of July through September of 1976, and fiscal year 1977. Permits the Secretary of Transportation, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, to guarantee any lessor against loss of principal and interest or other contractual commitments on a lease agreement between the Corporation and a lessor involving new rolling stock or other capital equipment and facilities necessary for the improvement of intercity rail passenger service. Provides that in the case of a railroad in reorganization which has an agreement with the Corporation to provide intercity rail passenger service, the sale by such railroad of any right-of-way or track over which the Corporation is required to provide intercity rail passenger service, shall be deemed to be a liquidation of the assets of such railroad and the Secretary shall acquire such right, title, and interest in such right-of-way or track, and restore it to such condition as may be necessary to permit the Corporation to provide intercity rail passenger service over the designated route. Permits the Secretary of Transportation to make grants, not to exceed 60 percent of the total cost of conversion of a railroad passenger terminal into an intermodal transportation terminal, beyond the July 1, 1976, date established by the Department of Transportation Act, as amended by the Amtrak Improvement Act of 1974.