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                                                       Calendar No. 144
104th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 1st Session                                                    104-111
_______________________________________________________________________


 
           DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA EMERGENCY HIGHWAY RELIEF ACT

                                _______


    July 12 (legislative day, July 10), 1995.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


    Mr. Chafee, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1023]
    The Committee on Environment and Public Works reports an 
original bill (S. 1023) to authorize an increased Federal share 
of the costs of certain transportation projects in the District 
of Columbia for fiscal years 1995 and 1996, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
and recommends that the bill do pass.

                           general statement

District of Columbia Highway Match Waiver

    The District of Columbia is currently experiencing budget 
problems that may jeopardize the transportation infrastructure 
of the District. Funds are not available to provide the local 
cost share required for the Federal-aid highway program. 
According to the Secretary of Transportation, no new highway 
projects have been planned for this year and the District has 
not solicited bids for 18 months because of the lack of funds 
for the local matching share. Relief is needed not only because 
the District's road system is important for the functioning of 
our Nation's capital but also because it is critical to the 
regional transportation system serving Maryland and Virginia.
    The gas tax in the District of Columbia is currently 20 
cents compared to the national average of 18 cents. During the 
last 10 years, the gas tax in the District has been 
consistently higher than the national average. The District 
does not have a dedicated transportation trust fund. However, 
the District has spent more of its funds on transportation 
projects than were raised from highway user taxes during the 
past 10 years.
    The absence of matching funds, which are required of all 
States and the District of Columbia under the title 23 Federal-
aid highway program, will result in up to $82 million in 
apportioned and allocated Federal funds going unused this year 
in the District.
    The inability of the District of Columbia to provide the 
local matching share for Federal-aid highway funds is a time 
sensitive issue. States and the District of Columbia must 
indicate their ability to use fiscal year 1995 obligation 
authority to the Secretary of Transportation by August 1, 1995, 
or this obligation authority will be redistributed to other 
States. Without a waiver of the Federal match in the next few 
weeks, the District of Columbia will be unable to certify by 
August 1 that it can use its fiscal year 1995 obligation 
authority this year. The District will lose the ability to 
spend approximately $82 million of Federal-aid highway funds 
this year and approximately $87 million next year.
    This legislation authorizes the Secretary of Transportation 
to temporarily increase the Federal cost share of the Federal-
aid highway program from the current cost share--generally 80 
percent--up to 100 percent for the District of Columbia for 
certain projects. The Secretary's ability to increase the 
Federal cost share applies to projects on the National Highway 
System and any other projects that the Secretary determines to 
be of regional significance. The waiver would be in effect for 
2 years, fiscal years 1995 and 1996. Such a temporary waiver 
does not provide any new funds to the District; it merely 
allows the District to use the Federal funds already made 
available. It also does not take away funds from any other 
State.
    The Secretary has indicated that ``projects of regional 
significance'' would include roads such as Pennsylvania Avenue, 
New York Avenue, South Capitol Street, and Fourteenth Street. 
Under current law, States may use certain highway funds for 
transit projects. Under this legislation, the Secretary could 
determine that certain transit projects are of regional 
significance. If the project is not on the National Highway 
System or determined to be a project of regional significance, 
it will have to be matched with local funds.
    This legislation requires the District to repay the local 
match by September 30, 1996. If repayment is not made in cash 
by September 30, 1996, the Secretary of Transportation will 
deduct the amount owed from the funds apportioned to the 
District of Columbia on October 1, 1996. Any amounts deducted 
from the District's apportionment will be reapportioned to the 
other States.
    The bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to report 
to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the 
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on November 
1, 1995 and again on November 1, 1996. The report will provide 
detailed information on the projects moved forward under this 
Act, any specific cause of delay in the rate of obligation of 
Federal funds made available under this Act, and all other 
pertinent information that will enable the Committees to 
evaluate the appropriate and effective use of these funds.
Congressional Legislation

    The Secretary of Transportation transmitted to Congress a 
proposed bill on June 15, 1995, to waive the cost share 
requirements for the District of Columbia for fiscal years 1995 
and 1996. The Administration's proposed bill did not require 
repayment. The bill approved by the Senate Committee on 
Environment and Public Works does require repayment.
    Legislation to provide waivers from the Federal-aid highway 
program cost share requirement to States has been enacted three 
times in the past. The waiver was first made available in 1975 
after passage of Public Law 94-30 a Federal jobs stimulus bill. 
This waiver applied to projects approved between February 12, 
1975 and September 30, 1975. Cash repayment was required by 
January 1, 1977. The following States participated in the 1975 
waiver: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, 
Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, 
South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Puerto Rico, Virgin 
Islands.
    The second waiver occurred in the 1982 highway 
reauthorization bill (Public Law 97-924) when the gas tax was 
increased by 5 cents and a matching share waiver was included 
for projects approved between January 6, 1983 and September 30, 
1984. Cash repayment was required by September 30, 1984 or an 
apportionment reduction was made for fiscal year 1985 and 
fiscal year 1986. States that participated in the 1982 waiver 
included: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, 
New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, 
West Virginia.
    The third waiver was contained in the 1991 transportation 
reauthorization bill, the Intermodal Surface Transportation 
Efficiency Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-240) when program 
funding was increased. This waiver applied to projects between 
October 1, 1991 and September 30, 1993. Cash repayment was 
required by March 30, 1994 or an apportionment reduction was 
made for fiscal year 1995 and fiscal year 1996. The following 
States participated in the 1991 waiver: Alaska, Louisiana, 
Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South 
Carolina, Vermont, Puerto Rico.
    All previous waivers have required repayment. States were 
not required to pay interest when the State cost share was 
repaid. The kind of waiver, without a repayment requirement, 
proposed by the Administration for the District of Columbia has 
never been made available by Congress.

                           general discussion

    The reported bill does the following:
          authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to 
        increase the Federal cost share of the Federal-aid 
        highway program from the current cost share--generally 
        80 percent--up to 100 percent for the District of 
        Columbia for fiscal years 1995 and 1996.
          permits the Secretary to increase the Federal cost 
        share only for projects on the National Highway System 
        and any other projects that the Secretary determines to 
        be of regional significance.
          requires the District to repay the local match by 
        September 30, 1996.
          requires the Secretary of Transportation to submit a 
        report to the Congress on the implementation of this 
        bill by November 1, 1995, and again on November 1, 
        1996.

                      section-by-section analysis

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 titles this bill as the ``District of Columbia 
Emergency Highway Relief Act''.

Section 2. District of Columbia Emergency Highway Relief

    Section 2(a) authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to 
approve a Federal share up to 100 percent at the Secretary's 
discretion for highway construction projects to be undertaken 
by the District of Columbia.
    Section 2(b) defines the eligible projects for the 
increased cost share to be those on the National Highway System 
and any other projects that the Secretary determines to be of 
regional significance. This section applies to title 23, United 
States Code, projects for which the United States is obligated 
to pay under title 23 on the date of enactment of this Act, or 
for such projects obligated during fiscal years 1995 and 1996. 
Eligible costs include preliminary engineering for design, 
construction, and related expenses. The Mayor is required to 
certify that sufficient funds are not available to pay the non-
Federal share of the costs of the project.
    Section 2(c) requires the District of Columbia to repay the 
local match by September 30, 1996. Cash repayments will be 
deposited in the Highway Trust Fund. If repayment is not made 
in cash by September 30, 1996, the Secretary of Transportation 
will deduct the amount owed from the funds apportioned to the 
District of Columbia on October 1, 1996. Any amounts deducted 
from the District's apportionment, including obligation 
authority, will be reapportioned to the other States.

Section 3. Report to Congress

    Section 3 requires the Secretary of Transportation to 
submit a report to the Environment and Public Works Committee 
of the Senate and the Transportation and Infrastructure 
Committee of the House of Representatives no later than 
November 1, 1995 and again on November 1, 1996. The report 
shall provide information on the implementation of the waiver 
provision including a detailed description of the projects for 
which funds obligated under this act have been obligated, 
information regarding projects that have not gone forward and 
specific reasons for the cause of delay in obligating Federal 
funds made available under this Act, and any other pertinent 
information that will enable the Committees to evaluate the 
appropriate and effective use of these funds.
    While a waiver is provided in this Act for both fiscal 
years 1995 and 1996, continuation of the waiver in fiscal year 
1996 is not a certainty. The Committee will carefully review 
the report submitted by on November 1, 1995 to determine 
whether funds have been spent wisely and if any change should 
be made in the conditions of the waiver in 1996. Continuation 
of the waiver will depend on the results in the report 
indicating that these funds have been used appropriately and 
that they have effectively improved the transportation system 
in the District of Columbia. The performance of those 
responsible for carrying out this Act will be carefully 
reviewed and a determination will be made after the report is 
received whether to continue the waiver.

                           regulatory impact

    Section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate require the Committee to evaluate the regulatory impact 
of the reported bill. There is no regulatory impact from this 
legislation.

                          cost of legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act 
requires that a statement of cost of the reported bill, 
prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be included in the 
report. That statement has been requested. However, it is the 
opinion of the Committee that in order to expedite the business 
of the Senate, it is necessary to file this report without the 
statement.

                        changes in existing law

    In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill 
as reported are shown. No change to existing law occurs with 
this bill.