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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Highway and Transit Infrastructure Provision

William J. Mallett
Specialist in Transportation Policy

Growing demands on the transportation system and constraints on public resources have led to calls for more private sector involvement in the provision of highway and transit infrastructure through what are known as "public-private partnerships" (PPPs). A PPP, broadly defined, is any arrangement whereby the private sector assumes more responsibility than is traditional for infrastructure planning, financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance. This report describes the wide variety of public-private partnerships in highways and transit, but focuses on the two types of highway PPPs that are generating the most debate: the leasing by the public sector to the private sector of existing infrastructure; and the building, leasing, and owning of new infrastructure by private entities. 

PPP proponents argue that, in addition to being the best hope for injecting additional resources into the surface freight and passenger transportation systems for upkeep and expansion, private sector involvement potentially reduces costs, project delivery time, and public sector risk, and may also improve project selection and project quality. Detractors, on the other hand, argue that the potential for PPPs is limited, and that, unless carefully regulated, PPPs will disrupt the operation of the surface transportation network, increase driving and other costs for the traveling public, and subvert the public planning process. Some of the specific issues raised in highway operation and costs include the effects of PPPs on trucking, low-income households, and traffic diversion. Issues raised in transportation planning include non-compete provisions in PPP agreements, unsolicited proposals, lease duration, and foreign control of transportation assets. 

On the question of new resources, the evidence suggests that there is significant private funding available for investment in surface transportation infrastructure, but that it is unlikely to amount to more than 10% of the ongoing needs of highways over the next 20 years or so, if that, and probably a much smaller share of transit needs. With competing demands for public funds, there is also a concern that private funding will substitute for public resources with no net gain in transportation infrastructure. The effect of PPPs on the planning and operation of the transportation system is a more open question because of the numerous forms they can take, and because they are dependent on the detailed agreements negotiated between the public and private partners. For this reason, some have suggested that the federal government needs to more systematically identify and evaluate the public interest, particularly the national public interest, in projects that employ a PPP. 

Three broad policy options Congress might consider in how to deal with PPPs in federal transportation programs and regulations are discussed in this report. The first option is to continue with the current policy of incremental changes and experimentation in program incentives and regulation. Second is to actively encourage PPPs with program incentives, but with relatively tight regulatory controls. Third is to aggressively encourage the use of PPPs through program incentives and limited, if any, regulation.


Date of Report: February 22, 2010
Number of Pages: 29
Order Number: RL34567
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation: The Future of Commercial Trucking Across the Mexican Border

John Frittelli 
Specialist in Transportation Policy

NAFTA set forth a schedule for implementing its trucking provisions that would have opened the border states to cross-border trucking competition in 1995 and all of North America in 2000, but full implementation has been stalled because of concern with the safety of Mexican trucks. Congress first addressed these concerns in the FY2002 Department of Transportation Appropriations Act (P.L. 107-87) which set 22 safety-related preconditions for opening the border to long-haul Mexican trucks. In November 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that all the preconditions had been met and began processing Mexican applications for U.S. long-haul authority. However, a suit over environmental compliance delayed implementation further. After the suit was resolved, in February 2007, the U.S. and Mexican Secretaries of Transportation announced a demonstration project to implement the NAFTA trucking provisions. The purpose of the project was to demonstrate the ability of Mexico-based motor carriers to operate safely in the United States beyond the border commercial zones. Up to 100 Mexicodomiciled carriers would be allowed to operate throughout the United States for one year and Mexico would allow the same for up to 100 U.S.-based carriers. With passage of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veteran's Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (P.L. 110-28), Congress mandated additional requirements before the project could begin. After failing to defund the demonstration project in the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161), Congress succeeded in terminating the demonstration project through a provision in the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-8). Subsequently, Mexico announced it would retaliate by increasing import duties on 90 U.S. products. The Obama Administration has indicated it intends to propose a revamped program that will address the concerns of Congress. The FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-117) passed in December 2009 did not preclude funds from being spent on a long-haul Mexican truck pilot program, provided the terms and conditions stipulated in section 350 of P.L. 107-87 and section 6901 of P.L. 110-28 were satisfied. 

One truck safety statistic, "out-of-service" rates, indicates that Mexican trucks operating in the United States are now safer than they were a decade ago. The data indicate that Mexican trucks and drivers have a comparable safety record to U.S. truckers. Another study indicates that the truck driver is usually the more critical factor in causing accidents than a safety defect with the truck itself. Service characteristics of long-haul trucking suggest that substandard carriers would likely not succeed in this market. As shipment distance increases, the relative cost of trucking compared to rail increases, and thus shippers utilizing long-haul trucking are willing to pay more because they require premium service, such as precise delivery windows or cargo refrigeration. These exacting service requirements would seem to disqualify truckers with unreliable equipment or incompetent drivers. In contrast, the short-haul "drayage" carriers that Mexican long-haul carriers would displace, typically use older equipment because of the many hours spent idling awaiting customs processing at the border. If Mexican carriers do eventually receive long-haul authority, the short term impact is expected to be gradual as Mexican firms deal with a number of stumbling blocks, including lack of prearranged back hauls and higher insurance and capital costs, in addition to the customs processing delays. In the long run, use of drayage companies is likely to decline as they lose part of their market share to Mexican long-haul carriers. The most common trips for these carriers will probably be from the Mexican interior to warehouse facilities on the U.S. side of the border or to nearby cities in the border states.


Date of Report: February 1, 2010
Number of Pages: 32
Order Number: RL31738
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Surface Transportation Program Reauthorization Issues for the 111th Congress

John W. Fischer, Coordinator
Specialist in Transportation Policy

Reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs was supposed to have occurred before the end of FY2009, but Congress failed to meet that deadline. Surface transportation programs continue to operate on the basis of authority provided in Continuing Resolutions. Extension legislation may also be enacted to facilitate program continuation. For the moment, however, passage of a complete reauthorization package during the remainder of the 111th Congress appears problematic. 

This situation should not be a surprise to those familiar with the history of the reauthorization process. Especially during the last two decades reauthorization has become a difficult undertaking. This is primarily due to controversy over how and to whom federal-aid highway funds should be distributed. The most recent law, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU or SAFETEA) (P.L. 109-59) was enacted 22 months after previous legislation had originally expired. Previous reauthorization bills also arrived well after their required reenactment dates. 

The most difficult issue to be considered during reauthorization is how to finance it. The highway trust fund and the revenue sources that feed it have been a reliable mechanism for financing highway and transit programs for five decades, but no more. Almost all transportation industry observers see a need for a larger federal contribution to national infrastructure creation in the years ahead. For a number of reasons discussed in this report, fuel taxes, which provide most of the money for surface transportation, are unlikely to provide a solid long-term foundation for this desired growth, even if Congress were to raise them modestly. The choice for policymakers, therefore, is to find new sources of income for an expanded, program, or alternately, to settle for a smaller program that might look very different than the one currently in place. 

Debate on the specifics of the highway program will focus on the donor-donee funding distribution issue, earmarking, and possible programmatic reorganization. Specific programs, such as the highway bridge program, can be expected to receive extensive congressional attention due to public concerns about the condition of the nation's transportation infrastructure. 

Transit industry advocates also seek additional funding in the reauthorization bill. Many supporters believe the nation is under-investing in public transit infrastructure and that should be significantly increased to deal with an existing backlog of projects and other future needs. Against this backdrop, Congress can be expected to look closely at existing transit program spending priorities and perhaps modify them. Other issues such as rural transit, paratransit, productivity, service optimization, and competition are likely to arise as well. 

Surface transportation program reauthorization also includes a number of programmatic and issue areas beyond those specifically associated with funding, highways and transit. Freight issues have been of growing importance in recent years and figure to get significantly more attention as part of the reauthorization debate. Highway safety, motor carrier safety, research, planning, and environmental issues will each be addressed in detail in the months ahead. 

This report provides background information for the reauthorization debate. Those seeking information on legislative proposals before Congress should consult CRS Report R40780, Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation in the 111th Congress: Summary of Selected Major Provisions, coordinated by John W. Fischer.


Date of Report: February 2, 2010
Number of Pages: 44
Order Number: R40053
Price: $29.95

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CRS Issue Statement on Aviation Policy

Bart Elias, Coordinator
Specialist in Aviation Policy

Aviation policy issues confronting the 111th Congress include increasingly stressed financing mechanisms to support national airspace system operations and infrastructure improvements; capacity constraints that have an increasingly negative effect on the efficiency and safety of the national airspace system; options for mitigating environmental impacts of aviation operations; and options to further improve the safety and security of the air transportation system. These issues engaged the 110th Congress in intensive legislative activity to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other aviation programs, but disagreements prevented passage of legislation. Authorization for FAA functions and related aviation programs, as well as funding mechanisms for these activities, expired at the end of FY2007, but have been continued through a series of temporary extensions to existing revenue collection authority. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 (H.R. 915) was introduced in the House on February 11, 2009, and was passed by the House on May 21, 2009. The FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (S. 1451) was introduced in the Senate on July 14, 2009, and ordered reported favorable as amended by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on July 21, 2009. While that bill is pending further action in the Senate, a temporary extension, providing authority for aviation trust fund revenue collections and aviation programs until March 31, 2010, has been enacted (P.L. 111-116).


Date of Report: January 7, 2010
Number of Pages: 3
Order Number:IS40256
Price: $7.95

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Airport Improvement Program (AIP): Reauthorization Issues for Congress

Robert S. Kirk
Specialist in Transportation Policy

The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) has been providing federal grants for airport development and planning since the passage of the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-248). AIP funding is usually spent on projects that support aircraft operations such as runways, taxiways, aprons, noise abatement, land purchase, and safety or emergency equipment. The funds obligated for the AIP are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (hereafter referred to as the trust fund), which is supported by a variety of user fees and fuel taxes. The AIP is one of five major sources of airport capital development funding. The other sources are taxexempt bonds, passenger facility charges (PFCs: a local tax levied on each boarding passenger), state and local grants, and airport operating revenue. Different airports use different combinations of these sources depending on the individual airport's financial situation and the type of project being considered. Small airports are more dependent on AIP grants than large or medium-sized airports. The larger airports, whose projects tend to be much more costly, are more likely to participate in the tax-exempt bond market or finance capital development projects with a PFC. 

The multi-year authorization of the AIP under Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (P.L. 108-176) ended on September 30, 2007. Since then, a series of short-term extensions has authorized and provided funding for AIP. The AIP and PFC issues that have been considered during the ongoing debate regarding the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) include the national level of need for airport development and the appropriate AIP funding level; the appropriate federal role in airport development; the criteria for the distribution of funding across airports of different types and sizes; the sufficiency of AIP discretionary funding, especially for major capacity enhancing projects; airport privatization; defederalization of large airports; raising or eliminating the $4.50 ceiling now imposed on PFCs; the use and tax treatment of airport bonds; and noise mitigation funding and eligibility. 

During the FAA reauthorization debate, virtually all of the policy issues and options concerning AIP will be influenced by the broader budget issues of the adequacy of trust fund revenues and the availability of money for the FAA from the Treasury general fund. Should ample revenues be available, the reauthorization of AIP could maintain the program's structure and perhaps even increase AIP spending. A constrained-budget scenario would probably increase interest in such issues as defederalization or a tightening of program formula funding and eligibility criteria, which could provide cost savings. It could also increase interest in raising or eliminating the PFC ceiling, which could help airports fund more projects. 

This report is focused solely on AIP issues in the ongoing FAA reauthorization debate. To track the full FAA reauthorization debate, including legislative action on AIP and other FAA programs and activities, see CRS Report R40410, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization: An Overview of Legislative Action in the 111th Congress, coordinated by Bart Elias.


Date of Report: January 27, 2010
Number of Pages: 50
Order Number: R40608
Price: $29.95

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Aviation and Climate Change

James E. McCarthy
Specialist in Environmental Policy

Aircraft are a significant source of greenhouse gases—compounds that trap the sun's heat, with effects on the Earth's climate. In the United States, aircraft of all kinds are estimated to emit between 2.6% and 3.4% of the nation's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, depending on whether one counts international air travel. The impact of U.S. aviation on climate change is perhaps twice that size when other factors are considered. These include the contribution of aircraft emissions to ozone formation, the water vapor and soot that aircraft emit, and the high altitude location of the bulk of aircraft emissions. Worldwide, aviation is projected to be among the faster-growing GHG sources. 

If Congress or the Administration decides to regulate aircraft GHG emissions, they face several choices. The Administration could use existing authority under Sections 231 and 211 of the Clean Air Act, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA has already been petitioned to do so by several states, local governments, and environmental organizations. Congress could address aviation or aviation fuels legislatively, through cap-and-trade or carbon tax proposals, or could require EPA to set emission standards. 

Among the legislative options, the cap-and-trade approach (setting an economy-wide limit on GHG emissions and distributing tradable allowances to emitters) has received the most attention. Most cap-and-trade bills, including the House-passed energy and climate bill, H.R. 2454, would include aviation indirectly, through emission caps imposed upstream on their source of fuel—the petroleum refining sector. By capping emissions upstream of air carriers and eventually lowering the cap more than 80%, bills such as these would have several effects: they would provide an incentive for refiners to produce lower-carbon fuels; they would increase the price of fuels, and thus increase the demand for more fuel-efficient aircraft; and they might increase the cost of aviation services relative to other means of transport, giving airline passengers and shippers of freight incentives to substitute lower-cost, lower-carbon alternatives. 

Besides regulating emissions directly or through a cap-and-trade program or carbon tax, there are other tools available to policy makers that can lower aviation's GHG emissions. These include implementation of the Next Generation Air Traffic Control System (not expected to be complete until 2025, although some elements that could reduce aircraft emissions may be implemented sooner); research and development of more fuel-efficient aircraft and engines; and perhaps the development of lower-carbon jet fuel. 

This report provides background on aviation emissions and the factors affecting them; it discusses the tools available to control emissions, including existing authority under the Clean Air Act and proposed economy-wide cap-and-trade legislation; and it examines international regulatory developments that may affect U.S. commercial airlines. These include the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme for greenhouse gases (EU-ETS), which is to include the aviation sector beginning in 2012, and discussions under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). 


Date of Report: January 27, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R40090
Price: $29.95

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Metropolitan Transportation Planning

William J. Mallett
Specialist in Transportation Policy

Federal law requires state and local governments to designate a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) in each urbanized area with a population of 50,000 or more to help plan surface transportation infrastructure and services. There are currently 381 MPOs nationwide. Despite some strengthening of their authority over the years, MPOs have generally remained subordinate to state departments of transportation (DOTs) in the planning and selecting ("programming") of projects using federal surface transportation funds. Moreover, it can be argued that at the metropolitan level MPOs are subordinate to local governments that own and operate many elements of the transportation system, and also control land use planning and zoning. 

Because of the perceived weakness of MPOs, some in the transportation community have argued that they ought to be given much more power over the planning and programming of projects using federal surface transportation funds. Some of these observers go so far as to suggest that federal policies and programs in a number of areas, including transportation, housing, and the environment, need to be coordinated on a metropolitan scale, and that MPOs are the organizational venue where this should occur. Others argue that the relationship between state government, local government, and MPOs is well-balanced and should not be changed. A third view is that metropolitan transportation planning is controlled by planners who often harbor anticar views, and consequently, MPOs can be actually detrimental to well-functioning metropolitan transportation systems. In this view, MPOs should be abolished or, at the very least, have their functions significantly curtailed. 

Surface transportation programs were authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU or SAFETEA) (P.L. 109-59) covering the period FY2005 through FY2009. In lieu of a new multi-year reauthorization that is still being considered, Congress has extended these programs and their funding several times. Reauthorization of the surface transportation programs provides an opportunity for Congress to reexamine policies related to MPOs and the metropolitan planning process. This report discusses several issues that Congress may want to consider: the authority of MPOs to plan and program funds; representation and participation in MPOs; MPO funding and technical capacity; and implementation of livability initiatives. It may also want to consider a number of issues having to do with planning requirements such as the need for a long-range plan, the proper scale of planning, and the incorporation of freight transportation interests. The report begins with a brief description of the metropolitan transportation planning process. 


Date of Report: February 3, 2010
Number of Pages: 22
Order Number: R41068
Price: $29.95

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies(THUD): FY2010 Appropriations

David Randall Peterman
Analyst in Transportation Policy

Maggie McCarty
Specialist in Housing Policy

President Obama requested a total of $123.1 billion for the agencies included in H.R. 3288, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations (THUD) bill for FY2010. This request represented an increase of approximately $14.1 billion (12.9%) over the $109.1 billion provided in the FY2009 THUD appropriations act (Division I of P.L. 111-8). The enacted legislation provided $122.1 billion, less than 1% ($977 million) below the President's request and 12% ($13.4 billion) more than the comparable FY2009 funding (not including the FY2009 emergency funding). 

The single largest new item in the budget request was $5 billion for a new independent federal agency—a national infrastructure bank—that would provide federal funding for, and promote investment from other sources in, infrastructure projects of national or regional significance. Neither the House nor the Senate funded this request; the conference report encourages the administration to pursue the creation of such a program through the regular authorization process. 

The FY2010 request for DOT totaled $72.4 billion, $5.2 billion (7.7%) more than the total of $67.2 billion in funding provided in the FY2009 THUD appropriations act (the House and Senate both reported the request as $77.4 billion, as they considered the $5 billion request for an infrastructure bank as part of the DOT request). The actual requested increase is somewhat less, as the reported funding level for FY2009 was reduced by a $3.5 billion rescission of contract authority which did not actually reduce the level of funding provided. The House-passed bill provides a total of $75.8 billion in funding for DOT, $3.4 billion (8%) more than the requested level. The Senate-passed bill provided $75.8 billion. The enacted legislation provided $75.7 billion, $3.3 billion (5%) more than the original DOT request. 

The FY2010 request for HUD totaled $45.5 billion, $4.0 billion (7.7%) more than the comparable amount of new funding provided in the regular annual appropriation for FY2009. The Housepassed bill provided $47.1 billion, the Senate-passed bill provided $45.8, and the enacted legislation provided $46.1 billion,1% more than the requested amount. 

Throughout this report, the amounts being considered for FY2010 are compared to the amounts provided in the FY2009 THUD appropriations act. However, DOT and HUD also received significant amounts of supplemental funding in FY2009 through the economic stimulus act (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, P.L. 111-5/H.R. 1), which Congress passed in February of 2009. That act provided $48.1 billion in emergency supplemental funding for DOT and $13.7 billion for HUD, a total of $61.8 billion in additional funding. That represented an increase of 52% to the total new funding provided in the FY2009 THUD appropriations act. Not every office and program in the THUD bill received funding from that supplement, and not all of that additional funding was expended in FY2009.


Date of Report: January 29, 2010
Number of Pages: 35
Order Number: R40805
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Railroad Access and Competition Issues

John Frittelli
Specialist in Transportation Policy

Some bulk shippers, particularly those that are served by, or, in the view of some, "are captive to," one railroad, are extremely frustrated with what they perceive as poor rail service and exorbitant rail rates. "Captive shippers" claim that the railroad serving them acts like a monopoly—charging excessively high rates and providing less service than they require. Beginning in the late 1970s, Congress gave railroads flexibility to set rates and to enter into confidential contracts with their customers. Over the last decade, large railroads have consolidated and, particularly in the past two years, have achieved higher profitability. Some Members of Congress believe that the present, mostly deregulated, regime needs to be revised to provide more weight for the interests of "captive shippers." A major point of contention is whether current railroad industry practices should be changed to provide "captive shippers" with more railroad routing options. 

The Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2009 (S. 2889) and bills reported by the Senate and House Judiciary Committees (S. 146 and H.R. 233) would change current railroad practices to allow "captive shippers" more access to competing railroads by addressing "bottlenecks," "paper barriers," and "terminal switching arrangements." A bottleneck refers to a situation in which only one railroad serves a particular origin or destination but a competing railroad provides parallel track over at least a portion of the route. Currently, the bottleneck carrier is not required to interchange traffic with the competing carrier, but captive shippers seek legislative or regulatory change requiring the bottleneck carrier to do so. Paper barriers are contractual agreements between a large railroad selling or leasing a less profitable route segment to a smaller railroad. The agreement typically requires the smaller railroad to interchange all of its traffic with the large railroad, even if it has access to another railroad's network. These agreements are a means of reducing the up-front sale or lease price while enabling the selling railroad to still recover the full value of the route over time. Terminal switching refers to interchanging traffic between competing railroads wherever a terminal provides the possibility to do so. Currently, railroads interchange traffic at terminals only where they find it mutually beneficial to do so. 

One issue for Congress is balancing the railroads' ability to earn revenue sufficient to reward shareholders, as well as maintain and improve its network, and the need of captive shippers for reasonable rates and adequate service. However, the captive shipper issue has wider economic implications than just the question of a division of revenue between railroads and their captive customers. Higher fuel prices, congestion on certain segments of the interstate highway system, and rising domestic and international trade volumes are driving shippers to demand more rail capacity. Freight revenues are a significant means of financing rail capacity because the railroads receive negligible public financing. Therefore, a larger policy question is how a legislated solution to the "captive shipper" problem would affect the development of a more robust and efficient railroad system. 


Date of Report: January 29, 2010
Number of Pages: 18
Order Number: RL34117
Price: $29.95

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Amtrak: Budget and Reauthorization

John Frittelli
Specialist in Transportation Policy

David Randall Peterman
Analyst in Transportation Policy

Amtrak was created by Congress in 1970 to provide intercity passenger railroad service. It operates approximately 44 routes over 22,000 miles of track, 97% of which is owned by freight rail companies. It runs a deficit each year, and requires federal assistance to cover operating losses and capital investment. Without a yearly federal grant to cover operating losses, Amtrak would not survive as presently configured. The crux of the public policy issue facing Congress has been succinctly stated by the Department of Transportation Inspector General (DOT IG): "To create a new model for intercity passenger rail, a comprehensive reauthorization that provides new direction and adequate funding is needed. The problem with the current model extends beyond funding—there are inadequate incentives for Amtrak to provide cost-effective service; state-of-good-repair needs are not being adequately addressed; and states have insufficient leverage in determining service quality options, in part because Amtrak receives Federal rail funds, not the states." 

Amtrak was reauthorized in 2008. Its previous authorization had lapsed in 2002 because of a policy stalemate involving the Bush Administration and Congress. The Bush Administration advocated significant changes to federal passenger rail policy, involving a reduction of Amtrak's role. Those changes were supported by some in Congress, while others supported increased funding for Amtrak, in line with Amtrak's strategy of maintaining its full current network while restoring its infrastructure to a state of good repair. Interest in alternatives to, and complements to, auto and air transportation, spurred by concerns over gasoline supplies and global warming, as well as the Obama Administration's interest in high-speed rail, suggest that Amtrak policy may receive additional attention in the 111th Congress. 

Appropriations.
For FY2010, the Obama Administration requested $1.502 billion for Amtrak, which is $600 million more than the previous Administration requested for FY2009. Amtrak itself requested $1.840 billion, which is $350 million more than Congress appropriated last year. Congress provided $1.584 billion for Amtrak FY2010. Congress also appropriated $2.5 billion for intercity and high speed rail grants, for which Amtrak is among the eligible recipients. 

Congress provided $1.490 billion for Amtrak in the FY2009 transportation appropriations act (Division I of P.L. 111-8), $165 million more than the $1.325 billion provided in FY2008. In addition, Congress appropriated $1.3 billion for capital grants to Amtrak, and appropriated another $8 billion for intercity rail infrastructure projects (for which Amtrak is among the eligible recipients) in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5). 

Reauthorization.
Amtrak's previous authorization expired in December 2002. In October 2008, the 110th Congress passed an Amtrak reauthorization bill, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (Division B of P.L. 110-432). This bill authorized nearly $10 billion over the five-year life of the bill (FY2009-FY2013) specifically for Amtrak, including $5.3 billion in capital grants, nearly $3 billion in operating grants, and $1.4 billion for debt service. In addition, Congress authorized a total of $1.9 billion over these five fiscal years in intercity passenger rail capital grants to the states on an 80-20 federal/state matching basis. Congress also authorized $1.5 billion in capital grants to states and/or Amtrak for the development of 11 authorized high-speed rail corridors. The act established a procedure for interested public or private entities to submit proposals for the financing, design, construction, and operation of highspeed rail on these 11 corridors. However, putting a proposal into action would require further legislation from Congress.


Date of Report: January 29, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: RL33492
Price: $29.95

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