• H.R. 1630 (RIDE 21) Reintroduced to the House

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by texman
Heres some info on it:
http://www.house.gov/transportation/rai ... 1memo.html

According to the National Corridors website, this got reintroduced...well read for your self:

House to consider high-speed rail bill
Bipartisan legislation that would provide $60 billion for high-speed rail and rail infrastructure projects was introduced in the House on April 14.

The Railroad Infrastructure Development and Expansion Act for the 21st Century (RIDE 21), H.R. 1631 was introduced by Reps. Don Young; James Oberstar, Steven LaTourette and Corrine Brown.

“RIDE 21 is a historic commitment from this Congress to improve and expand our nation’s rail infrastructure and develop a viable high-speed rail system,” said Transportation Committee Chairman Young.

“This bill addresses the increasing needs of our passenger and freight rail systems and the growing congestion problems that hinder our other transportation systems” he added.

“This is a state-empowering bill in which the states will call the shots. States will select and design their own corridors, choose whether to use steel-wheel or Maglev trains, and also determine how and on what schedule they will finance and construct projects,” he said.

Transportation Committee Ranking Member Oberstar added, “If the U.S. is serious about maintaining our status as the world’s leader in transportation, then we must tap into the potential of our rail system.” Oberstar pointed out, “Even with continuing investments in highways and aviation, we cannot depend on those modes of transportation alone. We must strengthen our rail system by expanding capacity and improving reliability for freight and passenger services. RIDE 21 will enable us do that.”

Railroad Subcommittee Chairman LaTourette added, “RIDE-21 will pump $60 billion into new and improved rail infrastructure across the country. It will help create thousands of new jobs while preserving the rights of rail workers under existing collective bargaining agreements.”

Railroad Subcommittee Ranking Member Brown noted, “Expanding and improving our passenger and freight rail systems will allow this nation to keep up with ever expanding growth and improve congestion This legislation is a win-win for passenger and freight rail, and the people who utilize it.”

The bill establishes authority for states or interstate compacts to issue $12 billion in federally tax-exempt bonds and $12 billion in federal tax-credit bonds for infrastructure improvements for high-speed passenger railroad infrastructure. Other provisions include:

The USDOT secretary may approve overall corridor designs that have in place agreements of owning freight railroad if its rights-of-way are to be used; eliminates or avoids railroad grade crossings that would impede high-speed operations; applies prevailing wage rate standards to construction projects; and has an interstate compact in place for multi-state corridors.

The Transportation secretary may approve projects to complete a major portion of the infrastructure to complete a viable and comprehensive corridor for high-speed rail as defined in 49 U.S.C. sec. 26105 (including corridors designated under ISTEA/TEA-21) at 125 mph or higher.

The measure stipulates the Transportation secretary may give preference to projects that use a mix of tax-credit and tax-exempt bonds, link rail passenger service with other modes of transportation, and are expected to have a significant impact on air traffic congestion.

The secretary may also give preference to routes expected to also improve commuter rail operations, have all environmental work completed and are ready to commence, or have received state or local financial support.

The Secretary may designate $1.2 billion per year for 10 years of private-activity, tax-exempt bonds, plus $1.2 billion per year for 10 years in tax-credit bonds. Authority to designate unused annual amounts of each type of bond carries over to subsequent years.

State and local government bonds used for high-speed rail infrastructure must be designated by the secretary to be tax-exempt.

Tax-exempt bond amounts are excluded from the $225 million cap on state-issued federally tax-exempt bonds. Potentially displaced workers are provided protection through hiring preference for positions with new providers of high-speed rail passenger service.

States are required to submit annual reports on status of bonds and bond-funded projects.

The legislation reauthorizes and modifies the existing Swift Rail Development Act, a program to develop high-speed rail corridors, by extending the program authority through fiscal year 2011, and $100 million per year in general fund grants that are subject to appropriation.

It also changes funding emphasis from technology development (from $25 million per year to $30 million per year) to corridor development (previously corridor planning) (from $10 million per year to $70 million per year) and allows acquiring locomotives, rolling stock, track and signal equipment with program grants.

The legislation also expands the existing Railroad Rehabilitation and Infrastructure Financing (RRIF) loan and loan guarantee program by increasing funding authority from $3.5 billion to $35 billion of outstanding loan principal at any time, and modifies the RRIF program by making interstate compacts as well as states eligible for assistance.

Magnetic levitation systems as well as steel-wheel systems are eligible for assistance.

Amount available for primary benefit of Class II and III railroads is increased from $1 billion to $7 billion out of $35 billion in total loan principal authority.

Eliminates obstacles in the current RRIF program (structure of loan cohorts, collateral requirements, artificial limits on loan amounts, prior rejection requirement).

The Secretary of Transportation must approve or disapprove an application within 180 days after receiving it, and may not assess applicant fees or other charges.

The Secretary is required to publish review standards and criteria within 30 days after enactment.

Applicants must apply prevailing wage rate standards to construction projects.


Think this will go anywhere?

  by Irish Chieftain
Think this will go anywhere?
Not if money borrowed from other countries has to pay for it...the Neoconservatives will file it under "G" quite rapidly because they just won't tax the rich to pay for it or leave off helping out the airlines...