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                                                       Calendar No. 636
105th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 2d Session                                                     105-406
_______________________________________________________________________


 
            GATEWAY VISITOR CENTER AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 1998

                                _______
                                

 October 10 (legislative day, October 2), 1998.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


  Mr. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2300]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 2309) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to enter into an agreement for the construction and 
operation of the Gateway Visitor Center at Independence 
National Historical Park, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.

                         Purpose of the Measure

    The purpose of S. 2309 is to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to enter into an agreement with the Gateway Visitor 
Center Corporation to construct and operate a regional visitor 
center on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

                          Background and Need

    The National Park Service completed a General Management 
Plan (Plan) in 1997 for Independence National Historical Park 
located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The final plan 
identified the need for a regional Gateway Visitor Center on 
Independence Mall (Mall). The Mall, is the site of Independence 
Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Old City Hall, and other 
historic sites.
    The city of Philadelphia conducted tourism studies and 
found that the area has missed opportunities for regional 
economic development by failing to develop its tourism 
industry. These studies led to proposals to develop a visitor 
center on the Mall and to redevelop the Mall as a gateway to 
the park, the surrounding historic district, city of 
Philadelphia, and the region.
    This legislation would authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to enter into an agreement with the Gateway Visitor 
Center Corporation (GVCC), a nonprofit organization, to 
construct and operate the Gateway Visitor Center on the Mall. 
The estimated cost for the 50,000 square foot visitor center is 
$24 million for the structure and exhibits, and $6 million for 
an endowment to provide support for operations and maintenance 
of the facility. the funding has been fully committed from non-
Federal sources. The National Park Service would provide an 
annual contribution towards the operation of the center.
    S. 2309 would allow the GVCC to solicit and accept 
donations and contributions, charge fees, raise revenues, rent 
space for events, sell merchandise, tickets, and food, and 
enter into agreements with other parties for such activities. 
The funds generated by these activities would be retained by 
the Gateway Visitor Center for operating costs.

                          Legislative History

    S. 2309 was introduced on July 15, 1998 by Senator Specter 
and Senator Santorum and referred to the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources. The Subcommittee on National parks, 
Historic Preservation, and Recreation held a hearing on S. 2309 
on September 17, 1998.
    At its business meeting on September 24, 1998, the 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 2309, 
favorably reported.

            Committee Recommendation and Tabulation of Votes

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session September 24, 1998, by a unanimous voice vote 
of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 2309, 
as described herein.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 designates the bill's short title as the 
``Gateway Visitor Center Authorization Act of 1998''.
    Section 2 lists the findings and purposes of the bill. The 
findings include: (1) in 1997, the National Park Service 
completed a general management plan for Independence National 
Historic Park that establishes goals and priorities for the 
future of the park; (2) the plan calls for the revitalization 
of Independence Mall and recommends as a critical component of 
the revitalization the development of a new visitor center; (3) 
such a visitor center would replace the existing park visitor 
center and serve as an orientation center for visitors to the 
park and to city and regional attractions; (4) the National 
Park Service has completed a design project and master plan for 
Independence Mall that includes the Gateway Visitor Center; (5) 
plans for the Gateway Visitor Center call for the center to be 
developed and managed, in cooperation with the Secretary of the 
Interior, by a nonprofit organization that represents the 
various public and civic interests of the Philadelphia 
metropolitan area; and (6) the Gateway Visitor Center 
Corporation, a nonprofit organization, has been established to 
raise funds for and cooperate in a program to design, develop, 
construct, and operate the proposed Gateway Visitor Center.
    Subsection (b) states the purpose of the Act is to 
authorize the Secretary of the Interior to enter into an 
agreement with the Gateway Visitor Center Corporation to 
construct and operate a regional visitor center on Independence 
Mall.
    Section 3 amends Public Law 80-795 by adding a new section 
8. Section 8 establishes a Regional Gateway Visitor Center and 
defines the term ``Center'' to mean Gateway Visitor Center, and 
``Corporation'' to mean Gateway Visitor Center Corporation.
    The new section 8 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior 
to enter into an agreement with the Corproation to facilitate 
the construction and operation of the Gateway Visitor Center on 
Independence Mall. In addition, the section defines the terms 
of the agreement to include authorization for the Corporation 
to operate the Center in cooperation with the Secretary and 
provide at the Center information, interpretation, facilities, 
and services to visitors of Independence National Historical 
Park, its surrounding historic sites, the city of Philadelphia, 
and the region. Section 8 also authorizes the Corporation to 
engage in activities appropriate for operation of a regional 
visitor center, which may include selling food, charging fees, 
conducting events, and selling merchandise and tickets to 
visitors to the Center. The section further authorizes the 
Secretary to undertake at the Center activities relating to the 
management of Independence National Historical Park, including 
provision of appropriate visitor information and interpretive 
facilities and programs related to the park.
    Section 8 also states that revenues from the operation of 
the Center's facilities and services shall be used to pay for 
expenses of operation, and nothing in this section authorizes 
the Secretary or the Corporation to take any action in 
derogation of the preservation and protection of the values and 
resources of Independence National Historical Park.

                     Cost and Budget Considerations

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, October 1, 1998.
Hon. Frank H. Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate, 
        Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2309, the Gateway 
Visitor Center Authorization Act of 1998.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 2309 would cost less 
than $1 million a year, subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds. S. 2309 would authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior to execute an agreement with the Gateway Visitor 
Center Corporation under which this nonprofit organization 
would construct and operate a regional visitor center on 
Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bill would 
authorize the corporation to charge fees, sell food, 
merchandise, and tickets, and provide information, facilities, 
and services to visitors of Independence National Historical 
Park and other regional sites. Amounts earned from fees and 
sales would be used by the corporation to help pay for its 
operating expenses. The National Park Service (NPS) would 
participate in activities such as providing visitor information 
and facilities and carrying out interpretive programs.
    Based on information provided by the NPS, and assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO expects that the 
agency would provide an annual contribution toward the 
operation of the center. The appropriate federal contribution 
has not yet been determined by the NPS, but CBO estimates that 
it cold be several hundred thousand dollars a year. Some of the 
annual contribution may be offset by savings in operating 
expenses that may be realized when the NPS closes its existing 
visitor center at the park once the new Gateway Visitor Center 
becomes operational in fiscal year 2000.
    S. 2309 would not affect direct spending or receipts; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. The bill 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not 
affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis. This estimate was 
approved by Paul N. Van de Water, Assistant Director for Budget 
Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 2309. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards of 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from 
enactment of S. 2309, as ordered reported.

                        Executive Communications

    On September 3, 1998, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth Executive agency recommendations on S. 2309. These 
reports had not been received at the time the report on S. 2309 
was filed. When these reports become available, the Chairman 
will request that they be printed in the Congressional Record 
for the advice of the Senate. The testimony of the Department 
of the Interior at the Subcommittee hearing follows:

 Statement of Destry Jarvis, Assistant Director for External Affairs, 
           National Park Service, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear 
before this subcommittee to present the views of the Department 
of the Interior on S. 2309, a bill to authorize the Gateway 
Visitor Center, a facility to be constructed on the mall at 
Independence National Historical Park.
    This bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to 
enter into an agreement with a nonprofit corporation, the 
Gateway Visitor Center Corporation, to operate a new visitor 
center to be built on part land. It would authorize the 
Corporation to undertake management-related activities, such as 
providing visitor information and interpretation, and to engage 
I other activities appropriate for a regional visitor center, 
such as conducting events and selling merchandise and food. The 
bill would authorize the use of revenues generated by the 
Corporation for the operation and administration of the Center.
    The Department of the Interior supports S. 2309. This 
legislation will enable the implementation of a critical 
component of the General Management Plan (GMP) for Independence 
National Historical Park, which was approved in April 1997, by 
authorizing the operation of a regional Gateway Visitor Center 
on Independence Mall.
    Independence National Historical Park (Independence NHP) is 
the site of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and other 
historic treasures associated with the birth of our nation. The 
park is located in the heart of Philadelphia. This great 
American city is a living museum of historic sites, it has 
played host to significant events in our nation's history, and 
has a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Independence NHP 
attracts more than 3.1 million visitors annually from around 
the nation and the world. Visitors include school classes, 
family vacationers and organized tour groups. Regardless of 
their background each individual finds special meaning in the 
birthplace of our Nation.
    In 1993, Independence NHP began the process of developing 
its first GMP. Prior planning was the master plan completed 
over 25 years ago that resulted in the park's current 
configuration. A GMP was approved in April 1997 after four 
years of research, planning and unprecedented public 
participation. The GMP affirmed a critical role for the park: 
to enhance the overall quality of the visitor experience. The 
GMP identified Independence Mall as the primary location for 
the development of new visitor facilities. The GMP also 
articulated a need for Independence NHP to become a more active 
partner in the life of the city and the region. In so doing, 
the GMP recognized the complementary roles of the park and the 
community--park staff in achieving quality stewardship and 
interpretation of the park, and the community in ensuring 
sensitive preservation and development of the surrounding 
neighborhoods.
    Independent of the GMP, a series of studies conducted by 
the Pew Charitable Trust concluded that Greater Philadelphia 
has been missing opportunities for enhanced regional identity 
and significant economic development by failing to develop the 
potential of its tourism industry
    These tourism studies and the GMP process, although 
conducted separately, came to similar conclusions through their 
joint recognition of Independence NHP as the primary 
destination for visitors to the City of Philadelphia, and of 
the inadequacies of Independence NHP's existing visitor center 
to fully address the needs of those visitors. This led to the 
proposals endorsed in the GMP to develop a new visitor center 
on Independence Mall and to redevelop Independence Mall as a 
gateway to the park and the surrounding historic district, city 
and region. By way of a regional center, visitors could 
potentially experience a richer visit through better 
understanding of the overall historical and geographic context 
of the park.
    Subsequent to the approval of the GMP in April 1997, the 
National Park Service entered into a contract with a 
Philadelphia-based design team headed by the Olin Partnership, 
a nationally recognized landscape architectural firm. This team 
produced a Master Plan for Independence Mall, a detailed 
physical design that elaborated the recommendations contained 
in the GMP for the placement and relationships of the various 
facilities and open space. It was presented to the public in 
October 1997, and has met not only with acclaim from the 
public, but an outpouring of financial support, detailed below.
    The Gateway Visitor Center would directly address what the 
GMP clearly articulates as the importance of the visitor 
experience--recognizing the various needs and expectations of 
visitors; managing their traffic flow through and beyond the 
park; and allowing them to make the best use of available time 
by providing more opportunities to discover and visit 
historical, cultural and natural resources in the park and 
beyond. The Gateway Visitor Center is also a major component 
contributing to the GMP's visitor orientation goal of 
strengthening Independence Mall itself--providing a dignified 
and comprehensive setting respecting the historical 
significance of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, while 
clarifying and enhancing the pedestrian environment.
    Visitors to the center will also be able to gain 
information and tickets to area tours, attractions and events. 
They will be able to make reservations for accommodations, 
restaurants and transportation; purchase items at a book and 
gift store, obtain information and see films about the creation 
of our nation and about the attractions of Philadelphia and the 
surrounding region, and have a light meal. The Gateway Visitor 
Center will be the distribution site for free tickets for 
admission to Independence Hall during peak periods.
    A range of private and nonfederal public entities have come 
together to fund the development and construction of the 
Gateway Visitor Center, which will be located on federal land 
and owned by the federal government. The Gateway Visitor Center 
will be developed by a private nonprofit corporation, the 
Gateway Visitor Center (GVCC). Pursuant to a long-term 
agreement with the National Park Service, the Gateway Visitor 
Center will be operated jointly by the National Park Service 
and the Gateway Visitor Center Corporation. The GVCC Board, 
comprised of representative stakeholders, includes the Mayor of 
Philadelphia, a representative of the Governor of the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and a representative of the Pew 
Charitable Trusts.
    Current estimates call for an approximately 50,000 square 
foot facility costing $24 million (hard and soft costs) for the 
physical structure and exhibits. In addition, the overall 
project development budget includes a $6 million endowment to 
help support operation of the facility in the future, including 
the ongoing maintenance, renewal and replacement of the 
facility's exhibits.
    This overall project budget of $30 million is in hand or 
firmly committed, and is split equally between public (non-
federal) and private contributions. The Gateway Visitor 
Center's leading private sector financial backer, and in many 
ways one of the project's primary catalysts, is the Pew 
Charitable Trusts, based in Philadelphia. It is one of the 
nation's largest philanthropies. No federal money will be 
utilized for the design or construction of the Gateway Visitor 
Center.
    While the Gateway Visitor Center itself can be constructed 
within Independence NHP based on existing NPS authorities, the 
proposed legislation permits the GVCC to undertake certain 
activities that will enliven the visitor experience and 
generate revenues to defray operating and management expenses 
of the Gateway Visitor Center. It would allow the GVCC to 
charge fees, raise revenues, rent space for events, sell 
merchandise, tickets and food, and enter into agreements with 
other parties for these activities. The funds generated by 
these activities would be retained by the GVCC to defray 
ongoing costs of operations, maintenance and repair of the 
building and exhibits, and for the periodic replacement, 
improvement and modification of the exhibits in the building.
    If authorization is enacted in this Congress the projected 
completion date for the Gateway Visitor Center is November 
2000. Once completed, the Gateway Visitor Center will be 
operated and managed on a long-term basis by the National Park 
Service and the GVCC pursuant to an agreement between the two 
parties. This agreement will define the relationship between 
the National Park Service and the GVCC on a number of items of 
particular concern to both parties, such as ongoing liaison 
between the GVCC and the park, content of the Gateway Visitor 
Center's exhibits, ticketing for Independence Hall, the 
presence and role of park staff in the Gateway Visitor Center. 
In addition, the agreement will set forth policies for 
addressing such matters as the sale of merchandise, the rental 
of Gateway Visitor Center space, the display and content of 
written materials, and the maintenance of the facility.
    Once the funding mechanisms are in place, the Gateway 
Visitor Center is designed to be financially self-sustaining. 
Its annual operations will be supported through revenue 
generating activities, endowment income, and various 
stakeholder contributions, including an appropriate 
contribution by NPS toward operations and maintenance.
    This concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer 
any questions you may have.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill S. 2309, as ordered reported, are shown as follows 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

(Act of June 28, 1948 (U.S.C. 407m et seq.))

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    Sec. 7. * * *

SEC. 8. REGIONAL GATEWAY VISITOR CENTER.

    (a) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Center.--The term Center means the Gateway 
        Visitor Center authorized by subsection (b).
          (2) Corporation.--The term Corporation means Gateway 
        Visitor Center Corporation, a nonprofit organization.
    (b) Agreement.--The Secretary of the Interior may enter 
into an agreement under appropriate terms and conditions with 
the Corporation to facilitate the construction and operation of 
the Gateway Visitor Center on Independence Mall.
    (c) Authorized Activities.--The agreement under subsection 
(b) shall--
          (1) authorize the Corporation--
                  (A) to operate the Center in cooperation with 
                the Secretary and provide at the Center 
                information, interpretation, facilities, and 
                services to visitors of Independence National 
                Historical Park, its surrounding historic 
                sites, the city of Philadelphia, and the 
                region, in order to assist in the enjoyment of 
                the historic, cultural, educational, and 
                recreational resources of the Philadelphia 
                metropolitan area; and
                  (B) to engage in activities appropriate for 
                operation of a regional visitor center, which 
                may include selling food, charging fees, 
                conducting events, and selling merchandise and 
                tickets to visitors to the Center; and
          (2) authorize the Secretary to undertake at the 
        Center activities relating to the management of 
        Independence National Historical Park, including 
        provision of appropriate visitor information and 
        interpretive facilities and programs related to the 
        park.
    (d) Revenues.--Revenues from the operation of the Center's 
facilities and services shall be used to pay for expenses of 
operation.
    (e) Preservation and Protection.--Nothing in this section 
authorizes the Secretary or the Corporation to take any action 
in derogation of the preservation and protection of the values 
and resources of Independence National Historical Park.