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House Report 107-308 - To accompany H.R. 2299 MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND RELATED AGENCIES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2002, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
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OPERATIONS AND RESEARCH
(LIQUIDATION OF CONTRACT AUTHORIZATION)
(LIMITATION ON OBLIGATION)
(HIGHWAY TRUST FUND)
(INCLUDING RESCISSION OF CONTRACT AUTHORIZATION)
The conference agreement provides $72,000,000 from the highway trust fund to carry out provisions of 23 U.S.C. 403 as proposed by both the House and the Senate.
The following table summarizes the conference agreement for operations and research (general fund and highway trust fund combined) by budget activity:
Salaries and benefits
Highway safety programs
Research and analysis
Grant administration reimbursements
Salaries and benefits.-A total of $61,451,000 is provided for salaries and benefits. This level will support an FTP level of 709, including 15 new FTPs (7.5 FTEs) to assist in regulatory issues as proposed by the Senate. The House approved an FTP level of 664.
Operating expenses.-Within the $23,113,000 provided for operating expenses, the conferees direct that funding for computer support should continue at the fiscal year 2001 level. The conferees believe that this level of funding is adequate, and urge NHTSA to adopt a more cost-effective approach to managing computer support expenses.
Executive bonuses.-The conferees reduce funding within the salaries and benefits account for executive bonuses because performance goals are not being met (-$20,000).
Safety performance.-The conference agreement provides $7,891,000 for safety performance, $550,000 above the budget request as proposed by the Senate. The additional funding should be used to expedite key motor vehicle safety standards including TREAD activities and several other backlogged regulatory items. NHTSA is directed to submit a notification letter to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations if there is a reasonable likelihood that the agency will not meet any deadlines specified in the TREAD Act. In addition, NHTSA shall submit a strategic implementation plan to both the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations with the submission of the fiscal year 2003 budget that specifies timetables, milestones, and the research necessary to implement each provision of TREAD, as well as the amounts provided to these activities in fiscal years 2001 and 2002.
National occupant protection program.-The conference agreement provides $2,000,000 above the budget request to bolster the national occupant protection program. Of these additional funds, $1,000,000 shall be targeted at high-risk groups, such as minorities, younger drivers, and the occasional seat belt user to increase seat belt usage; and $1,000,000 shall be used to increase local efforts to boost seat belt usage rates in their jurisdictions.
The conferees remain disappointed that NHTSA has been unable to raise seat belt usage to the Presidential directive of 85 percent by 2000 and direct the agency to refocus its program on achieving meaningful results. As part of this effort, NHTSA shall provide a report to the House and Senate Committee on Appropriations describing its plans to accelerate progress in raising seat belt use. This report is due by February 1, 2002.
Within the funds provided, NHTSA shall contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the benefits and acceptability of technologies that may enhance seat belt usage in passenger vehicles, as well as any legislative or regulatory actions that may be necessary to enable installation of devices, as proposed by the House.
Older driver research.-The conferees support NHTSA´s efforts to promote the safe mobility of older Americans. As the agency analyzes ways to rehabilitate older Americans who have suffered strokes or other medical conditions to resume some or all of their driving, the conferees encourage NHTSA to closely examine the potential of occupational therapy as an appropriate intervention to improve safety for older drivers.
Impaired driving.-The conference agreement provides $2,500,000 above the budget request to help states and communities decrease the number of impaired driving offenders, including repeat offenders and those with high
blood alcohol content. Up to half of these funds may be awarded to states and communities that want to implement promising new strategies.
Emergency medical services head injury research.-A total of $2,245,000 has been provided for emergency medical services. Of this amount, $750,000 shall be used to continue training emergency medical service personnel in delivering prehospital care to patients with traumatic brain injuries.
Biomechanics.-Within the funds provided for biomechanical research, $1,250,000 shall be used to continue research related to traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries caused by motor vehicle, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents at the Injury Control Research Center and other centers of the Southern Consortium for Injury Biomechanics.
Brake lining friction.-Within the funds provided for research and analysis, $300,000 shall be used for research into brake lining friction, as proposed by the Senate.