Summary: H.R.3551 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House with amendment(s) (09/07/2004)

Surface Transportation Research and Development Act of 2004 - Title I: Surface Transportation Research and Development - (Sec. 101) Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2009 for surface transportation research and development (R&D). Earmarks from such funds amounts for: (1) surface transportation research; (2) technology deployment; (3) the international highway transportation outreach program; (4) the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program; (5) surface transportation research strategic planning; (6) commercial remote sensing products and geospatial information technologies; (7) the National Multimodal Trends Policy Research and Development Program; (8) advanced exploratory research; (9) training and education; (10) establishment of a Bureau of Transportation Statistics, including R&D grants; (11) university transportation research; and (12) implementation of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Act of 2004.

(Sec. 102) Sets forth certain goals, principles, and processes, including that the Federal Government: (1) support surface transportation R&D to achieve specified goals established in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21); (2) fund and conduct surface transportation R&D and technology transfer activities; and (3) address the needs of stakeholder States, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), local governments, the private sector, researchers, research sponsors, and other affected parties in conducting such activities.

(Sec. 103) Amends Federal highway law to revise surface transportation research strategic planning requirements. Directs the Secretary of Transportation to develop an integrated Department of Transportation (DOT)-wide five-year transportation R&D strategic plan that: (1) reflects input from States, local governments, and other stakeholders to guide Federal transportation R&D activities; and (2) links such activities with the Nation's transportation R&D goals. Directs the Secretary to report annually to Congress, along with the President's budget request, describing the amount spent in the previous fiscal year on, and the amount proposed in the current budget for, transportation R&D.

(Sec. 104) Revises surface transportation R&D requirements to change from discretionary to mandatory the authority of the Secretary to carry out research, development, and technology transfer activities with respect to: (1) motor carrier transportation; (2) all phases of transportation planning and development (including transportation system management, data collection, performance analysis, multimodal assessment, and demand forecasting); and (3) institutional arrangements and support.

Revises requirements regarding the contents of surface transportation research, technology development, and technology transfer programs. Requires the Secretary to include coordinated activities with respect to: (1) R&D on the operation and management of the surface transportation system to improve efficiency, productivity, and safety; (2) R&D to support the evaluation of how the surface transportation system and individual surface transportation projects meet the goals of the surface transportation system contained in this Act; (3) how the surface transportation system affects and is affected by social systems; (4) environmental R&D, including research described in the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Special Report 268, entitled "Surface Transportation Environmental Research: A Long-Term Strategy" published in 2002; and (5) exploratory advanced research as it relates to such activities.

Directs the Secretary to convene a workshop of appropriate researchers and policymakers from Federal and State agencies, as well as academic researchers, to: (1) determine priority areas of exploratory advanced research; and (2) identify the best way to accomplish such research (such as through federally funded R&D centers or academic researchers). Authorizes the Secretary to administer a competitive, peer-reviewed grant program to support such research.

Directs the Secretary to establish a 20-year, long-term bridge performance program.

Establishes in the Federal Highway Administration the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center to support the conduct of highway R&D related to new highway technology and the development of innovative, environmentally friendly highway products and practices

Revises requirements for the surface transportation-environment cooperative research program.
Directs the Secretary to establish a collaborative, public-private, multimodal surface transportation environment and planning cooperative R&D program that solely carries out R&D in areas called for in TRB Special Report 268 (such as human health, ecology and natural systems, environmental and social justice, emerging technologies, land use, and planning and performance measures). Directs the Secretary to enter into an arrangement with the National Research Council, or another nonprofit research organization, such as the Health Effects Institute, to administer such program. Requires such research organization to establish an advisory board to develop a R&D agenda, carry out R&D activities described in TRB Special Report 268, and solicit and select reearch projects for funding.

Establishes a National Multimodal Trends Policy Research and Development Program that addresses critical short-term, medium-term, and long-term social science issues affecting and affected by the transportation system. Requires such program to include R&D on various issues, such as how, and the extent to which, the overall transportation system is meeting the goals set forth in TEA-21, and how to improve evaluation methodologies and performance measures.

Directs the Secretary to enter into an arrangement with the National Research Council to establish an advisory board composed of social science experts and others to develop a R&D agenda for annual transportation project solicitation.

Directs the Secretary to establish a road weather R&D program to: (1) maximize use of available road weather information and technologies; and (2) promote technology transfer of effective road weather scientific and technological advances. Requires such program to solely carry out R&D called for in the National Research Council's report entitled "A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services." Earmarks an amount for each of FY 2004 through 2009.

(Sec. 105) Renames the national technology deployment initiatives and partnerships program simply the national technology deployment program. Replaces the current discretionary program of grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to foster alliances and support efforts to stimulate advances in transportation technology with a mandatory program of grants to, and cooperative agreements and contracts with, States, Federal agencies, and other specified entities to pay the Federal share of the cost of research, development, and technology transfer concerning innovative materials.

Revises requirements for the innovative bridge research and deployment program.

Directs the Secretary to establish and implement an innovative pavement research and deployment program and a highway safety innovation deployment program to promote, demonstrate, support, and document the application of innovative pavement and highway safety technologies, practices, performance, and benefits. Directs the Secretary to make grants to, and enter into cooperative agreements and contracts with, States, Federal agencies, and other specified entities for research, development, and technology transfer for such technologies.

(Sec. 106) Revises National Highway Institute training and education requirements to require the Institute to develop and update courses in the subject areas of asset management, application of emerging technologies, including intelligent transportation systems (ITS), information technology, environmental stewardship, and transportation system management and operations. Authorizes Federal grant funds through the local technical assistance program (LTAP) to cover up to 50 percent of the program costs for access to surface transportation technology, with the remaining 50 percent coming from funds available for technology transfer and training. Sets the Federal share of costs at 100 percent for LTAP centers designated to provide transportation technical assistance to Indian tribal governments.

Authorizes a State, subject to the Secretary's approval, to obligate certain Federal-aid highway funds apportioned to it for surface transportation workforce development, training, and education. Sets the Federal share of costs at 100 percent. Defines "surface transportation workforce development, training, and education" as activities associated with surface transportation career awareness, student transportation career preparation, and training and professional development for surface transportation workers, including activities for women and minorities.

Directs the Secretary to establish the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program to improve the preparation of students, particularly women and minorities, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through curriculum development and other activities related to transportation. Directs the Secretary to award grants on the basis of competitive peer review to local education agencies and State education agencies which may partner with institutions of higher education, businesses, or other entities to enhance such courses at the elementary and secondary school level.

Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 107) Establishes in DOT (currently, in the Research and Innovative Technology Administration) a Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), which shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Sets forth the duties of the Director, including to: (1) ensure that transportation statistics are designed to support transportation decisionmaking by the Federal Government, State and local governments, metropolitan planning organizations, transportation-related associations, the private sector (including the freight community), and the public; (2) coordinate within DOT to establish and implement the Bureau's data programs and to improve the coordination of information collection efforts with other Federal agencies; (3) build and disseminate the transportation layer of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, including to coordinate the development of transportation geospatial data standards, compile intermodal geospatial data, and collect geospatial data that is not being collected by others; and (4) make transportation statistics available.

Directs the Secretary to enter into an arrangement with the National Research Council to develop and publish a National Transportation Information Needs Assessment to: (1) identify transportation data that is not being collected by the Bureau, DOT, or other Federal, State, or local entities, but is needed to improve transportation decisionmaking at the Federal, State, and local level; and (2) describe new data collection methods and other changes the Bureau or other Federal, State, and local entities should implement to improve standardization, accuracy, and utility of transportation data and statistics. Directs the Secretary, not later than six months after the National Research Council transmits the Assessment to the Secretary and to Congress, to report to specified congressional committees on how DOT plans to: (1) fill any identified data gaps, or stop collecting any unneeded data; and (2) implement improved data collection methods or statutory changes identified by the Assessment.

Requires the BTS Director to establish: (1) an intermodal transportation data base for all modes of transportation; (2) a National Transportation Library which shall contain a collection of statistical and other information needed for transportation decisionmaking at the Federal, State, and local levels; and (3) a national transportation atlas data base that depicts transportation networks, flows of people, goods, vehicles, and craft over the networks, and social, economic, and environmental conditions that affect or are affected by such networks.

Sets forth civil penalties for persons who fail, or who give false answers, to requests by the Director for freight data.

Authorizes the Secretary to make R&D grants to specified entities with respect to the collection of such data.

Sets forth requirements prohibiting the disclosure of, or Federal agency or court request for, Bureau transportation data.

Requires the Director to submit to the President and to Congress a Transportation Statistics Annual Report, including any recommendations for improving transportation statistical information.

Establishes an Advisory Council on Transportation Statistics.

(Sec. 108) Increases from two percent to two and a half percent the amount of an apportionment of Federal-aid highway funds to a State available for transportation planning and research, including for freight planning, safety planning, transportation systems management and operations planning, transportation-related land use planning, and transportation-related growth management activities within such planning processes, and planning capacity building activities. Specifies that the existing set-aside of 25 percent of such funds for State research, development, and technology transfer activities shall be expended for bicycle and pedestrian transportation as well as other currently specified systems.

Requires a set-aside of at least ten percent of such funds to improve the collection and reporting of strategic surface transportation data to provide critical information about the extent, condition,use, performance, and financing of the Nation's surface transportation system (including intermodal connectors) for passenger and freight movement.

(Sec. 109) Establishes the Future Strategic Highway Research Program to implement the TRB Special Report 260 entitled "Strategic Highway Research: Saving Lives, Reducing Congestion, Improving Quality of Life", which includes research to accelerate the renewal of America's highways, make significant improvement in highway safety, provide a highway system with reliable travel times, and provide highway capacity in support of the Nation's economic, environmental, multi-modal transportation, and social goals. Provides for the award of grants to implement the program.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2009.

Directs: (1) the Comptroller General to assess the degree to which projects funded under the program have addressed such R&D activities; and (2) the National Research Council to report annually to Congress on program progress and performance.

(Sec. 110) Directs the Secretary to make 16 additional grants to nonprofit institutions of higher learning to establish and operate university transportation centers. Requires such centers to address transportation management and R&D matters, with special attention to increasing the number of highly skilled individuals entering the field of transportation. Requires the competitive grant selection process to be an open and peer-reviewed process based on specified factors. Sets the Federal share of costs for: (1) the ten basic center grants at 80 (currently 50) percent; and (2) the additional center grants at 50 percent.

Directs the Secretary to establish a transportation education development pilot program to make grants to institutions of higher education that in partnership with industry or State Departments of Transportation will develop, test, and revise new curricula and education programs to train individuals at all levels of the transportation workforce.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2009.

Directs the Secretary to establish up to four National Transportation Security Centers at institutions of higher education to conduct research, education, and professional training on all aspects of surface transportation security, with emphasis on utilization of ITS, technologies, and architectures.

(Sec. 111) Amends TEA-21 to revise the Intelligent Transportation Systems Act of 1998 and rename it the Intelligent Transportation Systems Act of 2004. Includes as one of the goals of the ITS program the accommodation of the needs of pedestrians.

Directs the Secretary to establish an Advisory Committee balancing metropolitan and rural interests to: (1) evaluate developing new ITS (like those contained in the transportation R&D strategic plan); and (2) review annually areas of intelligent transportation systems research being considered for DOT funding to determine whether such activities are likely to advance either the state-of-the-practice or the state-of-the-art of such systems or be deployed by users.

Directs the Secretary to submit to specified congressional committees a report assessing the value of current and anticipated data collected from ITS technologies to determine whether and how such data should be used for real-time traffic management, planning, performance monitoring, program assessment, and policy applications.

Requires the Secretary, in carrying out a program of research, development, and operational tests of intelligent vehicles and intelligent infrastructure systems, to give higher priority to funding projects that are aimed at reducing congestion and improving mobility and efficiency, improving safety and security, and developing methods to address nontechnical barriers to the deployment of ITS technologies.

Repeals specified comprehensive programs to: (1) accelerate the integration and interoperability of intelligent transportation systems in metropolitan and rural areas; and (2) deploy commercial vehicle ITS infrastructure. Repeals the requirement that a funds applicant submit a life cycle cost analysis and financing and operations plan.

Earmarks at least one-third of ITS R&D funds to research, develop, and operationally test technologies that reduce congestion.

Title II: Miscellaneous - (Sec 201) Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2009 for: (1) transit R&D; (2) highway safety R&D; and (3) motor carrier R&D.

(Sec. 202) Directs the Secretary to establish an Innovative Practices and Technologies Demonstration and Deployment Program to demonstrate new transit practices and technologies that may increase ridership, increase accessibility, reduce cost,, improve customer satisfaction, and improve safety. Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to, or enter into cooperative agreements or contracts with, transit agencies, States, Federal agencies, and other specified entities to pay the Federal share of the cost of such demonstration and deployment projects.

(Sec. 204) Amends Federal transportation law to direct the Secretary (or the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when required for urban transportation planning) to make grants to nonprofit institutions of higher learning to: (1) conduct competent research and investigations into the theoretical or practical problems of urban transportation; and (2) train individuals to conduct further research or obtain employment in an organization that plans, operates, or manages an urban transportation system.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to: (1) States, local governments, and operators of public transportation systems to provide fellowships to train personnel employed in managerial, technical, and professional positions in the mass transportation field; and (2) State and local governments for projects that will use innovative techniques and methods in managing and providing public transportation.

(Sec. 205) Amends Federal highway law to authorize the Secretary to use highway safety R&D funds to: (1) enhance coordination among Federal agencies involved with State, local, tribal, and community-based emergency medical services; (2) participate and cooperate in specified international activities to enhance highway safety; and (3) develop and conduct a nationally representative survey to collect on-scene motor vehicle crash causation data.

(Sec. 206) Amends Federal transportation law to authorize the Secretary to establish a motor carrier R&D program with respect to the causes of accidents, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles, including the means to reduce the number and severity of such accidents. Authorizes the Secretary to use program funds for training or education of commercial motor vehicle safety personnel, including, but not limited to, training in accident reconstruction and detection of controlled substances or other contraband, and stolen cargo or vehicles. Sets the Federal share of cost at 50 percent.

(Sec. 207) Directs the Secretary, as part of the National Climate Change Technology Initiative and the Climate Change Research Initiative, to establish and carry out a multimodal energy and climate change program to study the relationship of transportation, energy, and climate change. Requires such program to include R&D designed to identify and evaluate: (1) strategies to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources; and (2) the potential effects of climate changes on the Nation's transportation systems, including strategies to address such effects.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2009.

(Sec. 208) Amends Federal highway law to direct the Secretary to establish establish a national cooperative freight transportation R&D program that focuses on all forms of freight transportation, including trucking and rail. Establishes an advisory committee of freight stakeholders which shall recommend a national R&D agenda for the program, including a multi-year strategic plan. Allows such agenda to include R&D on: (1) techniques estimating public benefits derived from freight transportation projects; (2) alternative approaches to calculating the contribution of truck traffic to congestion on specific highway segments; (3) the use of technology applications to increase capacity of highway lanes dedicated to truck-only traffic; (4) development of policy alternatives for separating car and truck traffic; and (5) additional priorities to identify and address emerging R&D needs related to freight transportation. Sets the Federal share of costs at 100 percent.

(Sec. 209) Directs the President to establish the Next Generation National Transportation Policy Study Commission to investigate and study the transportation needs, requirements, and policies of the United States through 2025.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2009.

(Sec. 210) Directs the Secretary to establish a real-time system management information program to: (1) provide the nationwide capability to monitor, in real-time, the traffic and travel conditions of the Nation's major highways and share that information to improve the security of the surface transportation system, address congestion problems, support improved response to weather events, and facilitate national and regional traveler information; (2) provide a nationwide system of basic real-time information for managing and operating the Nation's surface transportation system; (3) identify longer range real-time highway and transit monitoring needs and develop plans and strategies for meeting those needs; and (4) provide the capability and means to share such data with State and local governments, and the traveling public.

Directs the Secretary to establish data exchange formats to ensure that data provided by highway and transit monitoring systems, including statewide incident reporting systems, can readily be exchanged across jurisdictional boundaries, facilitating nation-wide availability of information. Requires each State to establish a statewide incident reporting system.

(Sec. 211) Amends Federal highway law to direct the Secretary to establish a planning capacity building initiative to support enhancements in transportation planning to: (1) strengthen metropolitan and statewide transportation planning; (2) enhance tribal capacity to conduct joint transportation planning; and (3) participate in certain metropolitan and statewide transportation planning programs. Requires the Secretary to give priority to planning practices and processes that support homeland security planning, performance based planning, safety planning, operations planning, freight planning, and integration of environment and planning. Sets the Federal share of costs at 100 percent.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2009.