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Title of Law:Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1998
Law #:Public Law 105- 66
Passed by Congress:105th Congress (1st Session)

The following are excerpts from the Senate committee report and the final legislation and/or conference report which contain National Academies’ studies. The Senate report is being included since it holds the actual language of the study referred to briefly in the conference report. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

SRpt 105-55 SENATE REPORT To accompany S. 1048 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 1998
Senate Appropriations
(07/22/97)

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COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

The Committee recommends the following changes to the administration's budget submission:

Equipment, operations, and hazardous materials
+$250,000

Track, structures, and train control
+ 3,500,000

Safety of high-speed ground transportation
-600,000

Research and development facilities
-80,000

Administration
-102,000

Transportation research board study
+300,000

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//Transportation Research Board review\\.--The Transportation Research Board [TRB] Committee for an Assessment of Federal High Speed Ground Transportation R&D has provided useful recommendations on the Next Generation of High Speed Rail Program. Discussions with FRA indicate that TRB's advice has been welcome, appreciated, and useful. FRA should continue to adjust its budget submission to respond to the recommendations of the TRB panel.

The Committee maintains that it would be beneficial to expand the purpose of the current TRB review to include a systematic analysis of the entire FRA research and development program. A reconstituted panel should also analyze the research and development management structure and approach and the current direction and allocation of moneys devoted to the various program areas. The questions of whether there is an appropriate balance of Federal, State, and private sector input and cost sharing and whether the directions and objectives outlined in FRA's 5-year strategic R&D plan are appropriate should be explored. Furthermore, the TRB panel should evaluate whether it is of critical importance to establish a Railroad Safety Institute, and whether such an institute would be duplicative of current research efforts. A focal point of this review should be to ascertain how the FRA research and development program could better serve the safety mission of the agency. The Committee maintains that periodic reports to FRA and to the Committee prior to markup would be especially useful. The Committee recommends $300,000 to support this initiative.

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HRpt 105-313 CONFERENCE REPORT To accompany H.R. 2169 MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND RELATED AGENCIES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 1998, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Conference Committee
(10/07/97)

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RAILROAD RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

The conference agreement provides $20,758,000 for railroad research and development instead of $21,038,000 as proposed by the House and $24,906,000 as proposed by the Senate and includes the following adjustments to the budget request:

Equipment related research
-$50,000

Operation Lifesaver
+200,000

T-6 railcar
- 500,000

Magnetic levitation
-500,000

Environmental issues
-100,000

Research and development facilities
-80,000

TRB study
+150,000

//1-800 emergency notification system.--\\The conferees have deleted funding provided by the Senate for expedited development of a computer-based emergency response system for notification of malfunctioning grade crossing signals and track obstacles, based on unobligated balances. FRA and two states are already working on the development of this system. The conferees expect that the agency's fiscal year 1999 budget submission will include a definitive schedule for completion of this project and a description of the process by which FRA will promote state investment in this approach to improving grade crossing safety.

//Positive train control.--\\In conjunction with FRA, eastern railroads are developing positive train control (PTC) capable of operating with present and future technologies to adapt to the various types of railroad infrastructure. As the first step, an interoperable locomotive platform is being developed. As the next step, a positive train separation (PTS) pilot will be run on the rail line between Manassas, Virginia through Hagerstown, Maryland to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to demonstrate the operation of locomotives over different types of PTC territory. This project, funded jointly by FRA and the railroads, was begun last year. The conferees direct FRA and the affected railroads to proceed under previously negotiated cost-sharing agreements with the second phase of the pilot project, which is intended to develop a PTS system that builds on existing infrastructure, is interoperable, and cost-effective.

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