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Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization: An Overview of Legislative Action in the 111th Congress

Description: This report tracks the status of ongoing legislative action and debate related to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization. It is organized into six major program areas: aviation system finance; airport financing; FAA management and organizational issues; system capacity and safety; environmental issues; and airline industry issues. In several cases, provisions that appear in various unrelated sections of proposed legislation have been rearranged in this report in an effort to group and discuss related items in an issue-driven or programmatic context. Since this report is primarily written as a means of communicating key legislative provisions under consideration in the ongoing FAA reauthorization process, it does not go into detail regarding the specific policy issues behind these legislative proposals.
Date: January 7, 2010
Creator: Elias, Bart
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Emergency Relief for Disaster Damaged Roads and Transit Systems: In Brief

Description: This report describes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assistance for the repair and reconstruction of highways and bridges damaged by disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012) or catastrophic failures (such as the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge in 2013). It begins with a brief discussion of the legislative origins of federal assistance and then addresses eligibility issues and program operation.
Date: January 28, 2014
Creator: Kirk, Robert S.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Civil Aviation Programs: In Brief

Description: This report discusses the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs and activities are funded under four broad budget accounts: operations and maintenance (such as air traffic control and aviation safety functions); facilities and equipment (such as control towers and navigation beacons); grants for airport improvements under the airports improvement program (AIP); and civil aviation research and development conducted or sponsored by FAA. Additionally, aviation programs fund aviation programs administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of the Secretary, including the Essential Air Service Program that subsidizes airline service to certain small and isolated communities.
Date: December 16, 2013
Creator: Elias, Bart
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Policy Issues in the General Motors Vehicle Recall

Description: This report discusses the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) process by which vehicle safety defects are identified and vehicles are recalled, as well as the impact that the 2009 GM bankruptcy may have on liability for this defect.
Date: March 31, 2014
Creator: Canis, Bill; Peterman, David Randall & Pettit, Carol A.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides background information and presents potential issues, as well as costs, for Congress concerning the U.S. Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. The planned size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navy's shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the congressional defense committees for the past several years.
Date: August 17, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Traffic Safety Programs: An Overview

Description: This report discusses trends in traffic safety and federal efforts to improve overall safety on the roads including the encouragement of safer driving behavior, vehicle improvements, roadway improvements, and commercial transportation safety.
Date: April 1, 2013
Creator: Peterman, David R.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Keystone XL Pipeline: Overview and Recent Developments

Description: This report describes the Keystone XL Pipeline Project and the process that the State Department must complete to decide whether it will approve or deny TransCanada's permit application. The report also discusses key energy security, economic, and environmental issues relevant to this determination. Finally, the report discusses the constitutional basis for the State Department's authority to issue a Presidential Permit, and opponents' possible challenges to this authority.
Date: April 1, 2015
Creator: Parfomak, Paul W.; Luther, Linda; Lattanzio, Richard K.; Ramseur, Jonathan L.; Vann, Adam; Pirog, Robert et al.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The U.S. Motor Vehicle Industry: Confronting a New Dynamic in the Global Economy

Description: This report provides an in-depth analysis of the 2009 crisis in the U.S. auto industry and its prospects for regaining domestic and global competitiveness. It also analyzes business and policy issues arising from the unprecedented restructurings that occurred within the industry. The starting point for this analysis is June-July 2009, with General Motors Company (GM or new GM) and Chrysler Group LLC (or new Chrysler) incorporated as new companies, having selectively acquired many, but not all, assets from their predecessor companies.
Date: March 26, 2010
Creator: Canis, Bill & Yacobucci, Brent D.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Expenditures

Description: This report reviews the legislative history of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) and legal challenges to it, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of alternative funding mechanisms, and describes the commercial context of current dredging activity.
Date: January 25, 2010
Creator: Frittelli, John
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Battery Manufacturing for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: Policy Issues

Description: This report examines the nascent battery manufacturing industry and considers efforts to strengthen U.S. capacity to manufacture batteries and battery components for hybrid and electric vehicles. It addresses the concern about an electric vehicle supply chain in the United States since manufacturers have brought hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully-electric vehicles to market.
Date: March 22, 2011
Creator: Canis, Bill
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Earthquake Risk and U.S. Highway Infrastructure: Frequently Asked Questions

Description: This report addresses frequently asked questions about the risk from earthquakes to highway systems, including bridges, tunnels, pavements, and other highway components. Particular attention is given to highway bridges, which often are the most vulnerable highway structures. The report also discusses federal and nonfederal actions to reduce seismic risk to the U.S. highway system.
Date: March 30, 2011
Creator: Mallett, William J.; Carter, Nicole T. & Folger, Peter
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Expenditures

Description: In 1986, the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) was enacted to fund U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE or the Corps) activities related to the routine operation and maintenance (O&M) of harbors, namely the dredging of harbor channels to their authorized depths and widths. Economic and equity issues related to HMT expenditures and collections are the main focus of this report. Before analyzing these issues, the report reviews the legislative history of the tax and legal challenges to it, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of alternative funding mechanisms, and describes the commercial context of current dredging activity. The last section identifies legislation related to harbor maintenance funding.
Date: January 10, 2011
Creator: Frittelli, John
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation

Description: This report begins with a discussion of the problems associated with the trust fund financing system (which supports both federal highway and public transportation programs) and then explores possible options for financing surface transportation infrastructure.
Date: September 23, 2013
Creator: Kirk, Robert S. & Mallett, William J.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues in Congress

Description: Alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles are seen by proponents as integral to improving urban air quality, decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. However, major barriers—especially economics—currently prevent the widespread use of these fuels and technologies. The 112th Congress has debated alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles directly and as it has addressed other key topics. On June 16, 2011 the Senate approved S.Amdt. 476 which would have eliminated the excise tax credit for blending ethanol in gasoline before its December 31, 2011 expiration date. Although the underlying legislation failed a cloture vote in the Senate, the amendment was approved 73-27. The prospects for further action increasing or extending biofuels and alternative fuels tax incentives may be limited in light of that vote.
Date: January 19, 2012
Creator: Yacobucci, Brent D.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Transportation Conformity Under the Clean Air Act

Description: This report explains the Clean Air Act requirement that federal departments and agencies demonstrate that their activities--including projects that they fund--"conform" to state plans for achieving air quality standards. The report explains the statutory requirements, reviews the recent history of their implementation, and examines how conformity requirements might affect areas designated "nonattainment" for a revised ozone air quality standard.
Date: May 21, 2015
Creator: McCarthy, James E.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: Report that provides background information for Congress concerning the U.S. Navy's ship force-structure goals and shipbuilding plans. It includes information about costs and issues, such as the planned size of the Navy, the rate of ship procurement, and the affordability of the plans.
Date: January 21, 2011
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Piracy: A Legal Definition

Description: Pirate attacks in the waters off the Horn of Africa, including those on U.S.-flagged vessels, have brought continued U.S. and international attention to the long-standing problem of piracy in the region. A recent development in one of the piracy trials in Norfolk, VA, has highlighted a potential limitation in the definition of piracy under the United States Code. This report first examines the historical development of the offense of piracy, as defined by Congress and codified in the United States Code. The focus then turns to how contemporary international agreements define piracy. Finally, the report highlights a recent federal district court ruling that the offense of piracy under 18 U.S.C. § 1651 requires a robbery at sea.
Date: October 19, 2010
Creator: Mason, R. Chuck
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Essential Air Service (EAS)

Description: This report discusses Congress' establishment of the Essential Air Service (EAS), a program to ensure that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 would continue to receive scheduled passenger service, with subsidies if necessary. Deregulation gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which domestic markets to serve and what airfares to charge, which raised the concern that communities with relatively low passenger levels would lose service as carriers shifted their operations to serve larger and often more profitable markets.
Date: September 3, 2015
Creator: Tang, Rachel Y.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department