Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (11/15/1995)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: National Highway System

Title II: Transportation Funding Flexibility

Title III: Miscellaneous Highway Provisions

Title IV: Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge

National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 - Title I: National Highway System - Designates the National Highway System (NHS) as submitted by the Secretary of Transportation on November 13, 1995.

Authorizes the Secretary to make modifications proposed by a State that meet the criteria established for, and that enhance the national transportation characteristics of, the NHS.

Directs the Secretary to submit to specified congressional committees for approval modifications to the NHS that are proposed by a State that consist of connectors to major ports, airports, international border crossings, public transportation and transit facilities, interstate bus terminals, and rail and other intermodal transportation facilities. Permits such modifications to take effect only if approved by law. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) interim eligibility of such an intermodal connector for NHS funds pending such approval; and (2) approval of subsequent modifications by the Secretary.

Requires, in proposing modifications: (1) a State to cooperate with local and regional officials; and (2) local officials in urbanized areas to act through the metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) designated for such areas.

Requires the Secretary, upon the completion of feasibility studies, to add to the NHS any congressional high priority corridor or segment thereof established by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) which was not identified on the NHS.

Title II: Transportation Funding Flexibility - Directs the Secretary to allocate among the States specified sums for FY 1996 and 1997 for projects eligible for assistance under Federal-aid highway provisions. Specifies allocation percentages by State. Provides that such allocations shall not affect a State's minimum allocation of Federal-aid highway funds or specified allocations under ISTEA.

Sets forth provisions regarding the apportionment of such funds, the applicability of obligation limitations of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, a special rule for determining the percentage of an allocation for obligation in urbanized areas with a population of over 200,000, and limits on the percentage of an allocation that may be used for planning expenditures. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 203) Rescinds funds from specified previously authorized projects and from unobligated balances of funds previously made available and derived from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Reduces the authorized funding levels for certain magnetic levitation and highway safety programs funded from the HTF. Transfers certain funds derived from the HTF made available for the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program to carry out projects eligible for assistance under Federal-aid highway provisions.

(Sec. 204) Directs the Secretary: (1) to notify each State of the total amount of the reduction in authorized funds for FY 1996 that would have been allocated and apportioned to such State as a result of specified ISTEA provisions; and (2) in determining such amount, to deduct the amount allocated to each State in FY 1996 to carry out Federal-aid highway projects under this Act.

Requires: (1) each State to designate unobligated balances of funds apportioned or allocated on or before September 30, 1995, and which are subject to the obligation ceiling, that may be made available to carry out Federal-aid highway projects; and (2) the Secretary to make such funds available to the States. Prohibits unobligated balances of funds attributed to urbanized areas with a population of over 200,000 from being designated by the State without the written concurrence of the MPO designated for such area.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the use of congestion mitigation and air quality and surface transportation program transportation enhancement activities balances when insufficient project funding is not otherwise available; (2) a limit on the use of unobligated interstate construction balances for other projects; and (3) periods of availability of and applicability of obligation limits to such unobligated balances.

(Sec. 205) Authorizes a State to elect, at any time, not to implement, in whole or in part, one or more of specified required management systems. Bars the Secretary from imposing any sanction on, or withholding any benefit from, a State on the basis of such an election.

Repeals a requirement under ISTEA that States meet minimum utilization requirements for asphalt pavement containing recycled rubber and the penalties for failure to meet those requirements.

Prohibits the Secretary from requiring: (1) the States to expend any Federal or State funds to construct, erect, or otherwise place or modify any highway sign relating to a speed limit, distance, or other measurement using the metric system; or (2) before September 30, 2000, that any State use or plan to use the metric system with respect to designing or advertising, or preparing plans, specifications, estimates, or other documents for, a Federal-aid highway project.

Repeals: (1) the national maximum speed limit compliance program (to be effective ten days after the enactment of this Act); and (2) penalties for noncompliance with motorcycle helmet requirements.

Title III: Miscellaneous Highway Provisions - Includes among eligible projects for NHS funds capital and operating costs for traffic monitoring, management, and control facilities and programs.

(Sec. 302) Permits a State to transfer 50 percent of its apportionment for the highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation program to its NHS or surface transportation program.

(Sec. 303) Directs the Secretary to establish programs to require States to: (1) conduct an analysis of the life-cycle costs of each usable project segment on the NHS with a cost of $25 million or more; and (2) carry out a value engineering analysis for all projects on the NHS with an estimated total cost of $25 million or more.

(Sec. 304) Requires the Secretary to ensure that the plans and specifications for each proposed highway project provide for a facility that will: (1) adequately serve the existing and planned future traffic of the highway in a manner that is conducive to safety, durability, and economy of maintenance; and (2) be designed and constructed in accordance with criteria best suited to accomplish those objectives and to conform to the particular needs of each locality.

Permits a design for new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing (except for maintenance resurfacing), restoration, or rehabilitation of a highway on the NHS (other than a highway also on the Interstate System) to take into account: (1) the constructed and natural environment of the area; (2) the environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic, community, and preservation impacts of the activity; and (3) access for other modes of transportation. Authorizes the Secretary, in cooperation with State highway departments, to develop criteria to implement such design.

Authorizes the Secretary to approve projects for the NHS designed to allow for the preservation of environmental, scenic, or historic values, ensure safe use of the facility, and comply with other specified requirements.

(Sec. 305) Specifies that transportation conformity requirements only apply to areas that are designated as nonattainment areas and to areas that have been designated as attainment areas but that are still subject to maintenance requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

(Sec. 306) Authorizes States to permit the placement of motorist call boxes on rights-of-way of the NHS, as long as they meet specified requirements to assure that they do not pose a safety hazard to motorists. Allows such boxes to include identification and sponsorship logos, subject to specified requirements. Requires States to place 20 percent of the call boxes displaying sponsorship logos outside of urbanized areas with a population greater than 50,000.

(Sec. 307) Sets forth provisions regarding contracting for engineering and design services. Repeals a Pilot Program for Uniform Audit Procedures under ISTEA.

(Sec. 308) Authorizes the Secretary to approve advance construction of a project if it is included in the State's transportation improvement program.

(Sec. 309) Specifies that a preventive maintenance activity shall be eligible for Federal assistance if the State demonstrates to the Secretary's satisfaction that the activity is a cost-effective means of extending the useful life of a Federal-aid highway.

(Sec. 310) Modifies the Federal share of costs for safety rest areas, bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways, and economic growth center development highways. Sets the Federal share for the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Connector at 95 percent.

(Sec. 311) Authorizes the Secretary to reimburse a State and a public authority for expenses and costs incurred for interest payments, the retirement of principal, the cost of issuance, the cost of sale, and the cost of insurance for a debt financing instrument for an eligible NHS project, subject to specified requirements.

(Sec. 312) Allows Iowa to: (1) permit the use of certain motor vehicles over 80,000 pounds on Interstates 29 and 129 in Sioux City; and (2) operate certain longer combination vehicles on such routes.

Exempts certain specialized vehicles operating on the 104-mile portion of Wisconsin State Route 78 and U.S. Route 51 from vehicle weight limitations upon the inclusion of the route as part of the Interstate System.

(Sec. 313) Specifies that the Federal share for toll highways, bridges, and tunnels shall be a percentage determined by the State not to exceed 80 percent.

Permits a State to loan to a public or private entity constructing or proposing to construct a toll facility or non-toll facility with a dedicated revenue source an amount equal to all or part of the Federal share of the cost of the project.

Allows Federal participation in the construction of ferry boats and terminal facilities that operate between a State and a point in Canada.

Includes the Centennial Bridge, Rock Island, Illinois, under provisions relating to toll agreements.

Directs the Secretary, on request of the Governor of Florida, to modify the agreement entered into with Florida's transportation department to permit the collection of tolls to liquidate indebtedness incurred to finance any cost associated with a feature of an environmental project that is carried out under State law and approved by the Secretary.

(Sec. 314) Allows a State to exclude from designation as a scenic byway for purposes of provisions governing outdoor advertising any segment of a highway that is inconsistent with the State's scenic byway criteria, subject to specified limitations.

(Sec. 315) Exempts from requirements of the Uniform Relocations Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 certain qualified organizations from which real property is acquired for conservation purposes in transportation enhancement activities.

(Sec. 316) Authorizes the Secretary to advance funds to a State for transportation enhancement activities if the Secretary certifies for the fiscal year that the State has authorized and uses a process for the selection of transportation enhancement projects that involves representatives of affected public entities and private citizens with expertise related to such activities. Limits such advances to amounts necessary to make prompt payment for project costs.

Directs the Secretary to develop: (1) categorical exclusions from the requirement that an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement be prepared for such activities; and (2) a nationwide programmatic agreement governing the review of such activities in accordance with provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act and the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

(Sec. 317) Requires each MPO, in developing transportation plans and programs, to consider recreational travel and tourism.

(Sec. 318) Allows any non-Federal funds expended for the seismic retrofit of certain toll bridges to be credited toward the non-Federal share required as a condition of receipt of Federal funds for such retrofit made available after the date of the expenditure.

(Sec. 319) Provides that Congestion and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funds may be used for projects for: (1) the attainment of air quality standards in nonattainment areas designated in FY 1994; (2) the maintenance of air quality standards in an area so designated but later designated as an attainment by the EPA Administrator; and (3) the establishment and operation of traffic monitoring, management, and control facilities or programs in such an area that are likely to contribute to the attainment of a national ambient air quality standard.

(Sec. 320) Requires States to enact and enforce a law providing that operation of a motor vehicle by an individual under age 21 who has a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent or greater shall be considered to be driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. Directs the Secretary to withhold five percent of highway construction funds on October 1, 1998, and ten percent on October 1, 1999, and every year thereafter, for noncompliance.

(Sec. 321) Requires the Secretary to issue guidance to encourage States to utilize private sector sources for surveying and mapping services.

(Sec. 322) Permits States to receive as credit to the non-Federal share of a project the fair market value for donated funds, materials, or services.

(Sec. 323) Specifies that data collected for safety reports or surveys shall not be subject to discovery or admitted into evidence in Federal or State court proceedings.

(Sec. 324) Provides that a State shall be treated as having met the requirement of having a statewide program for roadside sobriety checkpoints if: (1) the State's highest court certifies that such a program would violate the constitution of the State; and (2) the State demonstrates that over the last three years its alcohol fatal crash involvement rate has declined and has been lower than the average rate for all States. Establishes the blood alcohol concentration limit for minors as a requirement for an alcohol-impaired driving countermeasures basic grant.

(Sec. 326) Extends until the reauthorization of the Federal-aid highway and transit programs the temporary waiver from axle weight limitations for any vehicle traveling on the Interstate System which is regularly and exclusively used as an intrastate public agency transit passenger bus.

(Sec. 327) Directs the Secretary to develop testing procedures and conduct research to develop performance grade classifications for crumb rubber modifier binders.

Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to States to develop programs to use crumb rubber from scrap tires to modify asphalt pavements.

(Sec. 328) Changes the term "innovative safety barrier" to "innovative crashworthy safety barrier," defined as a barrier, other than a guardrail or guiderail, classified by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as "experimental" or that was classified as "operational" after January 1, 1985, and that meets or surpasses the requirements of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program 350 for longitudinal barriers.

(Sec. 329) Requires New York State, in carrying out improvements regarding the Gowanus Expressway Corridor, to consider the economic and social impacts of the project on the neighboring community.

Makes various modifications regarding: (1) the authorization of appropriations and allocation of funds for intermodal facilities in New York City; (2) high cost bridge projects in various States; and (3) congestion relief projects in various States.

(Sec. 332) Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the identification and routing of certain high priority corridors; (2) inclusion of certain route segments on the Interstate System; and (3) feasibility studies for evacuation routes for Louisiana coastal areas and for the East-West Transamerica Corridor.

(Sec. 333) Provides a series of technical amendments to rural access, urban access and mobility, innovative, and intermodal projects in ISTEA.

(Sec. 337) Amends the National Recreational Trails Program, established in ISTEA, to provide that the Federal share of any trails project funded under the Program will be 50 percent prior to FY 2001 and thereafter a State shall be eligible to receive Federal funds under the Program if the State agrees to provide an amount equal to 20 percent of the amount of Federal funds received by the State. Repeals the existing State fuel tax requirement.

Requires States to give consideration to project proposals that provide for the redesign, reconstruction, nonroutine maintenance, or relocation of trails to mitigate and minimize the impact to the environment. Increases the number of members of the National Recreational Trails Advisory Committee to include a member representing the disabled community. Provides funding for the Program.

(Sec. 338) Amends ISTEA and other laws to change references to "Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems" to "Intelligent Transportation Systems" (ITS). Authorizes the Secretary to carry out collaborative research and development with respect to ITS. Sets forth provisions regarding the obligation and reallocation of funds.

(Sec. 339) Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) reconstruction and widening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 95; (2) a prohibition on Federal-aid highway funds to construct Type II noise barriers; and (3) projects in various States, including certain route segments in Wyoming, the Orange Street Bridge in Montana, a National Railroad Passenger Corporation line in Rhode Island, the Pocono Northeast Railway Company Line, the Brightman Street Bridge in Massachusetts, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Bridge Replacement in Virginia, and the Alameda Transportation Corridor, California.

(Sec. 340) Makes technical modifications to certain projects authorized by the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987 in various States.

(Sec. 341) Amends the Americans With Disabilities Act to change compliance dates to two and three years after issuance of final regulations for large and small over-the-road bus operators, respectively, to comply with accessibility requirements.

(Sec. 342) Repeals the preemployment alcohol testing requirement for certain transit workers, railroad employees, operators of commercial vehicles, and employees of air carriers and the Federal Aviation Administration.

(Sec. 343) Authorizes appropriations for FY 1996 for the National Driver Register.

(Sec. 344) Directs the Secretary, within 270 days, to implement a commercial motor vehicle regulatory relief and safety pilot program to grant and monitor exemptions from Federal requirements.

Requires the Secretary to determine whether to exempt some or all of the eligible vehicles operated, and some or all of the drivers of such vehicles employed, by the applicant from such requirements if the applicant has a satisfactory safety rating or meets criteria established by the Secretary and if the applicant and the Secretary enter into an agreement that requires the applicant to: (1) operate safely; (2) provide the Secretary with accident and nonconfidential insurance-related information relevant to the safety performance of the applicant and such vehicles and drivers; (3) use only drivers with good safety records in the preceding 36 months who maintain such records while in the program; and (4) implement such safety management controls as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out program objectives. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) safety management controls; (2) minimization of paperwork; (3) encouragement of advanced technology; (4) approval factors; (5) modifications to reflect changes in regulations; (6) monitoring; (7) termination of participation; (8) emergencies; (9) criteria for implementing the program; (10) eligible vehicles; and (11) review of regulations.

(Sec. 345) Sets forth exemptions from requirements relating to commercial motor vehicles and operators regarding: (1) transportation of agricultural commodities and farm supplies (allows drivers transporting agricultural or farm supplies to operate without complying with Federal hours of service regulations if such transportation is limited to an area within a 100 air mile radius); (2) transportation and operation of ground water well drilling rigs; (3) transportation of construction materials and equipment; (4) drivers of utility service vehicles (requires that such a driver permit any period of seven or eight consecutive days to end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 24 or more consecutive hours for the purposes of determining maximum driving and on-duty time); and (5) snow and ice removal.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) preemption; (2) review by the Secretary (authorizes the Secretary to conduct a rulemaking proceeding to determine whether granting an exemption is not in the public interest and would have a significant adverse impact on the safety of commercial motor vehicles and, if so, to prevent the exemption from taking effect, modify it, or revoke it); and (3) reporting requirements.

(Sec. 346) Directs the Secretary to develop and implement a pilot program to evaluate waivers of certain regulations and provisions to permit any period of seven or eight consecutive days to end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 24 or more consecutive hours for the purposes of determining maximum on-duty time for drivers of motor vehicles making intrastate home heating oil deliveries that occur within 100 air miles of a central terminal or distribution point of the delivery of such oil. Authorizes the Secretary to approve up to five States to participate in such program during the winter heating season in the six-month period beginning on November 1, 1996. Sets forth provisions regarding approval criteria, program participation, suspension from the program, and review by the Secretary.

(Sec. 347) Requires the Secretary, in cooperation with any State which raises any speed limit in such State to a level above that permitted under Federal highway provisions as in effect on September 15, 1994, to prepare and submit to the Congress a study of the costs to such State of deaths and injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes and the benefits associated with the repeal of the national maximum speed limit.

(Sec. 348) Prohibits the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring adoption or implementation by a State of a test-only I-M240 enhanced vehicle inspection and maintenance program as a means of compliance with specified provisions of the CAA, but permits the Administrator to approve such a program if a State chooses to adopt the program as a means of compliance with such provisions.

Bars the Administrator from disapproving or applying an automatic discount to a State implementation plan revision on the basis of a policy, regulation, or guideline providing for a discount of emissions credits because the inspection and maintenance program in such plan revision is decentralized or is a test-and-repair program.

Authorizes a State to submit an implementation plan revision proposing an interim inspection and maintenance program under the CAA. Requires the Administrator to approve the program based on the full amount of credits proposed by the State for each element of the program if the proposed credits reflect good faith estimates by the State and the revision is otherwise in compliance with such Act.

(Sec. 349) Prohibits the Federal Government from taking any action to prepare or implement any regulation concerning rights-of-way across public lands until September 30, 1996. Provides for the transfer of 19 road corridors within the Shenandoah National Park from the Federal Government to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

(Sec. 350) Authorizes the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with up to ten States for the establishment of State infrastructure banks and multistate infrastructure banks for making loans and providing other assistance to public and private entities carrying out or proposing to carry out projects eligible for assistance.

Grants consent to two or more of the States, entering into a cooperative agreement with the Secretary for the establishment of a multistate infrastructure bank, to enter into an interstate compact establishing such bank.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) funding (including the maintenance of separate accounts for funds made available from the HTF and from funds made available from the Federal transit program); (2) forms of assistance from infrastructure banks; (3) qualifying projects; (4) infrastructure bank requirements; (5) limits on repayments; and (6) other requirements, including program administration and review by the Secretary.

(Sec. 351) Directs the Secretary to ensure that: (1) in implementing the Intelligent Transportation Systems Act of 1991, the national intelligent transportation systems program addresses the use of intelligent transportation technologies to promote safety at railroad-highway grade crossings; and (2) two or more operational tests funded under such Act are designed to promote highway traffic and railroad safety.

Requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Office of Motor Carriers within the FHWA to cooperate and work, on a continuing basis, with the National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, and Operation Lifesaver, Inc., to improve compliance with and enforcement of laws and regulations pertaining to railroad-highway grade crossings. Sets forth reporting requirements by the Secretary.

Declares that: (1) it is in the public interest to promote grade crossing safety and reduce risk at high risk railroad-highway grade crossings; (2) effective programs to reduce the number of unneeded and unsafe railroad-highway grade crossings require the partnership of Federal, State, and local officials and agencies, and affected railroads; and (3) promotion of a balanced national transportation system requires that highway planning specifically take into consideration grade crossing safety.

(Sec. 352) Directs that tolls collected for motor vehicles on any bridge connecting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York, continue to be collected for only those vehicles exiting from such bridge in Staten Island.

(Sec. 353) Deems traffic control signs referred to in the experimental project conducted in Oregon in December 1991, and a red, white, and blue center line in Main Street of Bristol, Rhode Island, to comply with Department of Transportation requirements.

(Sec. 354) Directs the Secretary to permit the conversion of any safety rest area adjacent to Interstate 95 within Rhode Island that was closed as of May 1, 1995, to use as a motor vehicle emissions testing facility. Specifies that, at the option of the State, vehicles shall be permitted to enter and exit any such testing facility directly from Interstate 95.

(Sec. 355) Deems New Hampshire and Maine to meet safety belt use law requirements upon certification by the Secretary that each State has achieved a safety belt use rate: (1) of not less than 50 percent in each of FY 1995 and 1996; and (2) of not less than the national average safety belt use rate in each succeeding fiscal year. Applies this provision retroactively.

(Sec. 356) Directs the Secretary to enter into an agreement modifying existing agreements that provide Orange County, California, with contingent lines-of-credit. Allows the Secretary to require an interest rate that is higher than that specified in previous Acts.

(Sec. 357) Requires the Secretary to prepare and submit to the Congress a draft legislative proposal of necessary technical and conforming amendments to title 23 of the U.S. Code.

(Sec. 358) Directs the Secretary to: (1) conduct a study of technologies and practices to improve the driving performance of older drivers and other special driver groups; (2) undertake, in conducting such study, demonstration activities that incorporate and build upon gerontology research related to the study of the normal aging process; and (3) conduct the study by entering into a cooperative agreement with an institution that has demonstrated competencies in gerontological research, population demographics, human factors related to transportation, and advanced technology applied to transportation.

Requires the Secretary: (1) in carrying out the work zone safety program under ISTEA, to utilize a variety of methods to increase safety at highway construction sites; (2) to conduct a study to develop and evaluate radio and microwave technology for a motor vehicle safety warning system in furtherance of safety in all types of motor vehicles; and (3) to conduct a study to evaluate the effectiveness on reducing drunk driving and appropriateness of laws enacted in the States which allow a health care provider who treats an individual involved in a vehicular accident to report the blood alcohol level, if known, of such individual to the local law enforcement agency which has jurisdiction over the accident site if such level exceeds the maximum permitted under State law.

(Sec. 359) Directs the Secretary to conduct a study: (1) on the adequacy of and the need for improvements to the Pan American Highway; (2) to determine the cost, need, and efficacy of establishing a highway sign for identifying routes on the NHS; (3) on compliance with the Buy American Act regarding contracts entered into using amounts made available from the HTF; and (4) evaluating the near-term applications of magnetic levitation ground transportation technology in the United States, with particular emphasis in identifying projects which would warrant immediate application of such technology. Sets forth reporting requirements.

Title IV: Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge - Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge Authority Act of 1995 - Grants congressional consent to the Capital region jurisdictions (Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia) to enter into an interstate agreement or compact to establish the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge Authority.

(Sec. 407) Directs the Secretary to: (1) convey to the Authority all right, title, and interest of the United States in the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge; (2) work with the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge Coordination Committee, or with the Authority, to complete planning, preliminary engineering and design, environmental studies and documentation, and final engineering for the project at the earliest possible date consistent with applicable Federal laws; and (3) obligate such sums as necessary for each of FY 1996 and 1997 for the rehabilitation of the Bridge and for environmental studies and documentation, planning, preliminary engineering and design, and final engineering for a new crossing of the Potomac River as part of the project, subject to specified limitations.

(Sec. 411) Makes available certain prior authorizations.