96th Congress > House > Vote 346

Date: 1979-07-25

Result: 399-19

Vote Subject Matter: Government Management / Budget Special Interest

Bill number: HR3996

Description: TO PASS H.R. 3996, AMENDING THE RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE ACT TO EXTEND THE AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR AMTRAK. (MOTION PASSED)

Bill summary: (Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 96-481) =Title I: Amtrak Reorganization= - Amtrak Reorganization Act of 1979 - Amends the Rail Passenger Service Act to require the National Railroad Passenger Corporation to establish a reduced fare program for elderly and handicapped individuals. Directs the Corporation, by January 1, 1981, to develop and submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive plan for the improvement of all intercity rail passenger service in the basic system. (...show more) Provides that such plan shall include: (1) a zero-based assessment of all operating practices and implementation of changes to achieve the minimum use of employees consistent with safe operation and adequate service; (2) a systematic program for optimizing the ratio of train size to passenger demand; (3) a systematic program for trip time reductions; (4) the establishment of training programs to achieve on-time departures and priorities for passenger trains over freight trains en route; (5) an adjustment of food and beverage pricing and purchasing to increase profitability; and (6) cooperative marketing opportunities between the Corporation and governmental entities having intercity rail passenger service as well as campaigns with specified Federal agencies. Directs the Corporation, by January 1, 1980, to establish a Regional Maintenance Plan to provide systematic preventive maintenance, a systemwide inventory of spare parts, and a method for the periodic evaluation of maintenance costs, time lags, and parts shortages. Authorizes the Secretary to permit the Corporation to purchase rolling stock or power train equipment which is not manufactured in the United States from United States materials if such stock or equipment cannot be purchased or delivered in the United States within a reasonable time. Directs the Corporation to establish a Performance Evaluation Center to conduct an ongoing review of railroad operations and to make recommendations for improving such operations. Grants the President of the Corporation the power to direct the conductor of any Amtrak train to report to the Center regarding any inadequacy of train operation. Repeals the Interstate Commerce Commission's authority to promulgate adequacy of service regulations for Amtrak trains. Exempts the Corporation from the provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act with respect to the issuance of securities or the assumption of obligations or liabilities with respect to the securities of others. Authorizes the Commission to establish through routes and joint fares with any domestic or international motor, air, or water carrier (previously the Commission could establish such routes or fares with motor carriers. Provides that the Corporation shall not be subject to any State or local law relating to pay periods or dates for payment of employees. States that the Corporation shall be deemed to be a citizen of the District of Columbia for purposes of determining the original jurisdiction of district courts in civil actions. Changes the deadline by which Amtrak must submit monthly operation reports to Congress. Directs the Corporation to enter into a contract with rail carriers on an industry-wide basis to establish rights for the operation of special or charter trains between specific routes and points anywhere in the United States. Stipulates that an application of a State or local agency for subsidized rail passenger service outside the basic system must be accompanied by a statement that the State or local share of the costs of such service shall be 20 percent of the solely related costs during the first year, 35 percent during the second, and 50 percent for each year thereafter. Requires that such an application include a statement that the State or local share of associated capital costs shall be 50 percent. Requires the convening of Technical Assistance Panels to review such applications by the Corporation. Establishes the composition of such panels. Establishes a preference in such review for a proposal for State support of a service deleted from the basic system. Requires the Corporation to consult with the appropriate State officials and provide such officials with a justification concerning any proposed fare increase for such services which exceeds five percent over a six-month period. Stipulates that no more than five percent of the revenues generated by such service shall be dedicated to advertising and promotion of such service on a local level. Directs the Corporation to fund and operate until April 1, 1981: (1) any commuter rail passenger service operated by the Corporation on January 1, 1979; and (2) any commuter rail service operated by Conrail for which an application for discontinuance has been filed with the Commission before July 15, 1979. Requires the Commission to: (1) conduct an annual review of each long-distance route in the basic rail system to determine if such route meets certain long-distance route criteria and the Route and Service criteria; and (2) discontinue any route which fails to meet such criteria. Requires the Corporation to operate rail passenger service over any long or short distance route which is recommended for discontinuance by the Secretary of Transportation if: (1) operating expenses can be reduced; and (2) projected measurements of cost and ridership for such route for fiscal year 1980 meet specified standards. Stipulates that Amtrak must operate at least one long distance route in each quadrant of the United States provided a route exists which shows potential for meeting such standards. Terminates any such route which does not meet such standards as of October 1, 1981. Permits Amtrak to operate short-haul trains on routes of 200 miles or less between major cities on a demonstration basis. Sets forth the level of reimbursement to the Corporation by other railroads for the free or reduced rate transportation for railroad employees unless the Corporation and the railroad involved agree on another basis of compensation. Directs the Comptroller General to study such reduced rate transportation and submit to Congress and the Commission recommendations regarding the means of reimbursing the Corporation for the cost of providing such transportation. Prohibits the downgrading or disposal of railroad facilities utilized by the Corporation as of February 1, 1979, without the approval of the Secretary. Stipulates that if the Corporation does not object to such an action, within 30 days after the date such application is submitted, the Secretary shall approve the application for downgrading or disposal. Stipulates that in the event the Corporation does object the Secretary shall approve the proposed action unless the Corporation agrees within 60 days to pay the costs which the railroad could avoid if it was not required to maintain the facility in the condition requested by the Corporation. Sets forth considerations which the Corporation is to take into account in determining whether to pay such avoidable costs. Authorizes appropriations in specified amounts for: (1) operating expenses for fiscal years 1980 and 1981; and (2) other specified costs of the Corporation through fiscal year 1982. Directs the Secretary to establish an Employee Compensation and Incentive Commission to: (1) evaluate the salaries paid officers of Amtrak in relation to Amtrak's ability to attract and retain qualified officers; and (2) develop a program for improving Amtrak employee incentive and morale. Requires the Commission, by March 1, 1980, to submit its recommendations to the board of directors of the Corporation. Directs the board to report to the Congress within 90 days any action it plans to take to implement such recommendations. Requires the Corporation to develop and implement a Job Placement Program for employees who will be affected by the reduction in work force caused by the Secretary's recommendations for the restructuring of routes. Directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the payment of taxes by the Corporation to State and local governments and to make recommendations to Congress by January 1, 1980, regarding the advisability of relieving the Corporation of its obligation to make such payments. Requires Amtrak to report annually to the Congress, beginning with fiscal year 1981, on the ratio of revenue to operating expenses on all routes in the basic system; to specifically identify those train routes which did not achieve a 50 percent revenue-to-expense ratio; and to explain the reasons which prevented such ratios from being achieved. Allows the Corporation to defer implementation of new route plans in instances where implementation requires: (1) operation over rail lines not in use for intercity passenger service upon the date of approval; (2) the use of new facilities; or (3) new labor agreements, until track and facility improvements or labor agreements are made to permit service that is equivalent or improved and is consistent with the goals contained in the Amtrak Improvement Act of 1978. Requires Amtrak to provide substitute service over existing routes pending deferred implementation of such recommendations without reference to the Route and Service Criteria. Terminates such substitute service, except short haul commuter routes, on October 1, 1981, unless certain cost and ridership standards are satisfied. Amends the Department of Transportation Act to remove the time limitation during which railroad terminals must be converted into intermodal transportation terminals in order to receive Federal financial assistance for such a project. Grants the Secretary the power to establish the time period during which such a conversion must be completed. Directs the Comptroller General to report to Congress on the best way for the Corporation to eliminate certain debts. Requires the Corporation to conduct and submit to Congress an evaluation of the possibility of providing rail passenger service on a portion of any route over which service is discontinued on or after October 1, 1979. Directs the Corporation to submit to Congress a report with recommendations for achievement by the Corporation of maximum mail carriage and associated revenues. Directs the President of the Corporation to submit to Congress a report on the feasibility of establishing a system of uniform cost allocation for Amtrak which includes: (1) the avoidable cost by route; (2) the revenue by route; (3) the fully allocated cost by route; (4) the number of passengers carried by route; (5) the avoidable profit or loss per passenger by route; and (6) the fully allocated profit or loss by route; (7) the profit or loss per passenger by route; and (8) the profit or loss by revenue passenger mile. Requires the Corporation to submit a report to specified congressional committees containing; (1) a profit and loss table by route for the upcoming fiscal year, assuming a 50 percent Government reimbursement of the fully allocated losses experienced by each such route; and (2) the average ticket subsidy required to show a systemwide public service profit (above and beyond such Government reimbursement) for the upcoming fiscal year. =Title II: Amendments to the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973= - Amends the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 to authorize appropriations to the United States Railway Association (Association) for fiscal year 1980 to carry out its administrative expenses under such Act. Requires the Association to submit quarterly reports to Congress regarding the proceedings before the special court to determine the valuation of the rail properties conveyed to the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) pursuant to such Act, including an accounting of the Federal funds expended in connection with such proceedings. Directs the Association and the Attorney General to develop and submit to Congress a feasibility study for the transfer of such litigation functions of the Association to an appropriate Federal agency by March 1, 1980. Directs the Association together with the Department of Transportation to develop and submit to Congress a feasibility study to transfer the other functions of the Association to an appropriate Federal agency by such date. Sets forth procedures for the monitoring of contractors employed by the Association. Directs the special court established pursuant to such Act to include in its order a requirement that Conrail maintain medical and life insurance coverage for employees of railroads in reorganization. Stipulates that the Association shall have a direct claim on the amount of loans, plus interest, which are forgiven by the Association pursuant to the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973, as a current expense of administering the estate of a railroad in reorganization. =Title III: Office of Rail Public Counsel= - Authorizes appropriations for fiscal year 1980 of $1,200,000 to the Office of Rail Public Counsel. =Title IV: Amendments to the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976= - Extends the authorization for appropriations through September 30, 1980, for the redeemable preference share purchase program for rehabilitation and improvement financing under the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976. =Title V: Effective Dates= - Declares that the provisions of this Act shall take effect on October 1, 1979, except provisions requiring the maintenance of health and life insurance coverage for employees of a railroad in reorganization which shall be effective on the date of enactment of Public Law 95-597.

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Bill titles: An act to amend the Rail Passenger Service Act to extend the authorization of appropriations for Amtrak for 2 additional years, and for other purposes.; A bill to amend the Rail Passenger Service Act to extend the authorization of appropriations for Amtrak for three additional years, and for other purposes.

Original source documents: Digest of the Congressional Record vol. 103, p. 6580;

Links for more info on the vote: congress.gov

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