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H.R.4123 - High-Speed Rail Authority Development and Formation Act
To provide for the creation of a National High-Speed Rail Authority.
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November 8, 2007
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(1) The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) (
(5) High-speed rail will greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by reducing vehicle travel and make major contributes to efforts to reduce greenhouses gas emissions and combat global warming.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(7) Most of the high-speed rail tracks will be at ground level, only needing a minimum path 50 feet wide, comparable to a new two-lane road with shoulders, but providing 20 times the transportation capacity.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(9) High-speed rail can provide a viable alternative to airspace capacity problems the Federal Aviation Administration admits it cannot solve in the Los Angeles to Bay Area air corridor. High-speed rail will have comparable and often shorter travel times when compared to air travel on trips 200 to 500 miles in length, allowing it to significantly reduce airspace congestion.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(13) The Federal Government has traditionally participated in significant infrastructure improvements such as the Transcontinental Railroad, Interstate Highway System, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, as well as our Nation's port and harbor systems.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(14) The economic strength and development of our Nation has been led by advances in transportation projects, such as the Erie Canal, Transcontinental Railroad, Interstate Highway System, and airports.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(18) Advances in rail technology have allowed high-speed rail systems in Europe and Japan to attain speeds of up to 357 miles per hour and provide a much needed alternative for trips in the 200 to 500-mile range.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(19) The Shinkansen high-speed trains in Japan carry over 300,000,000 passengers a year, and the system's 1,540 miles of track continues to expand due to demand for travel.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. PURPOSE.
SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.
SEC. 5. NATIONAL HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY.
(ii) LIMITATION ON RULEMAKING AUTHORITY- The Administrator shall not make any modifications to high-speed rail standards or related standards in effect on the date of enactment of this Act that would result in no planning, development, or construction of high-speed rail systems.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(I) IN GENERAL- Subject to subclause (II), the Administrator may establish, alter, consolidate, or discontinue organizational units or components within the Authority as the Administrator determines to be necessary.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(III) improve existing high-speed rail technologies or develop new high-speed rail technologies, as well as work with designated corridors to find the best high-speed rail technology for the corridor; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(ii) OBJECTIVES- The high-speed rail development activities of United States carried out by the Administrator or carried out with financial assistance from the Administrator shall be conducted so as to contribute significantly to 1 or both of the following objectives:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(II) The most effective use of engineering resources of the United States, with close cooperation among all interested agencies of the United States so as to avoid duplication of effort, facilities, and equipment.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(d) Personnel Plan- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a personnel plan for the Authority that--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 6. ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS.
(2) establish the entrance grade for engineering personnel without previous service in the Federal Government at a level up to 2 grades higher than the grade provided for such personnel in the General Schedule (within the meaning of
(3) acquire, construct, improve, repair, operate, and maintain such offices, such research and development sites and facilities, and such other real and personal property or interests in real and personal property, as the Administrator determines to be necessary for the performance of the functions of the Authority;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) enter into and perform such contracts, leases, cooperative agreements, or other transactions as are necessary in the performance of the duties of the Administrator with any--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) establish within the Authority such offices and procedures as the Administrator considers appropriate to provide for the greatest possible coordination of the activities of the Authority with related scientific and other activities of other public and private agencies and organizations.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 7. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE.
(B) APPOINTMENT- The Speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, the majority leader of the Senate, and the minority leader of the Senate shall each appoint 1 member described in clauses (i), (ii), and (iii) of subparagraph (A).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) ASSISTANT ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR- The head of the Office of Administration shall be an Assistant Associate Administrator for the Authority, to be appointed by the Administrator.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) GENERAL COUNSEL- There is established in the Office of Administration the position of General Counsel, to be appointed by the Administrator, to serve as the chief legal officer of the Authority.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) sponsor, manage, and direct basic and applied research projects, including projects to accelerate the development of high-speed rail technologies from fundamental research to implementation; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) ASSISTANT ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR- The head of the Office of Policy, Research, and Development shall be an Assistant Associate Administrator for Policy, Research, and Development, to be appointed by the Administrator.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) ASSISTANT ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR- The head of the Office of Venture Capital shall be an Assistant Associate Administrator for Venture Capital, to be appointed by the Administrator.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(C) from among the applications submitted under subparagraph (A) and taking into account the objectives described in section 5(c)(1)(E)(ii), award financial assistance to applicants to carry out the proposals that are most likely to develop high-speed rail.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 8. INITIAL TECHNOLOGY SOLICITATIONS.
(a) In General- The Administrator (acting through the Office of Venture Capital and the Office of Policy, Research, and Development) may, based on the criteria described in subsection (b), initiate the development of technologies for--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Report- As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act, but not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a report that--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 9. REPORTS.
(1) ACTIVITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS- Semiannually and at such other times as the Administrator considers to be appropriate, the Administrator shall submit to the President a report that describes the activities and accomplishments of the Authority.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) REPORT TO CONGRESS- At the time at which the Administrator submits to the President or the Director of the Office of Management and Budget any report relating to any budget information, legislative recommendation, comment on legislation about amounts made available under this Act, or prepared testimony for a congressional hearing, the Administrator shall submit a copy of the information, recommendation, comment, or testimony to each appropriate committee of Congress.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) a description of the activities and accomplishments of all agencies of the United States in the field of high-speed rail development during the preceding calendar year;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) such recommendations for additional legislation as the Administrator or the President considers appropriate for the attainment of the objectives described in this Act.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 10. DESIGNATED HIGH-SPEED RAIL CORRIDORS.
(a) In General- The Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator shall give priority in allocating funds authorized by
(5) Gulf Coast Corridor from Houston TX, through New Orleans, LA, to Mobile, AL, with a branch from New Orleans, through Meridian, MS, and Birmingham, AL, to Atlanta, GA.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(10) South Central Corridor from San Antonio, TX, through Dallas/Fort Worth to Little Rock, AK, with a branch from Dallas/Fort Worth through Oklahoma City, OK, to Tulsa, OK.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(11) Southeast Corridor from Washington, DC, through Richmond, VA, Raleigh, NC, Columbia, SC, Savannah, GA, and Jesup, GA, to Jacksonville, FL, with a branch from Raleigh, NC, through Charlotte, NC, and Greenville, SC, to Atlanta, GA, a branch from Richmond, to Hampton Roads/Norfolk, VA, and a connecting route between Atlanta, GA, to Jesup, GA.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) GENERAL RULE- Except as provided in paragraph (2), assistance under subsection (a) shall be provided only for projects for which at least 50 percent of the funding is provided by non-Federal sources.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) EXCEPTION- The Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator may provide assistance under subsection (a) for a project if less than 50 percent of the funding is provided by non-Federal sources if the Secretary or Administrator finds that the public interest is served by making such an exception.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 11. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
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