Congressional Research Service Reports - 469 Matching Results

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Public Private Partnerships (P3s) in Transportation
This report discusses the benefits and limitations of public-private partnerships (P3s) that involve long-term private financing, the experience with these types of P3s in the United States, and current federal policy. The report outlines a number of issues and policy options that Congress might consider: project evaluation and transparency, asset recycling, incentive grants, infrastructure banks, tax credits for equity and debt, Interstate highway tolling, and changes to an existing federal loan program.
Trespassing: The Leading Cause of Rail-Related Fatalities
This report discusses rail-related fatalities and the problem of trespassing by pedestrians on the railroad tracks which is the leading cause of fatalities in rail incidents. Statistics on fatalities, known causes of trespassing, and initiatives to reduce trespassing incidents such as Operation Lifesaver are discussed.
Surface Transportation Devolution
This report discusses proposals regarding the devolution of surface transportation building and maintenance to states and the economic and safety related impacts such an act might have. Arguments for and against the idea and recent revisions to surface transportation legislation which already reduce federal regulation are also discussed.
Revitalizing Coastal Shipping for Domestic Commerce
This report examines recent trends in waterborne freight movement within the United States and offers policy options that might strengthen the competitive position of coastal and Great Lakes shipping in the face of robust demand for freight transportation.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations
This report discusses the fiscal year 2017 appropriations for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and related agencies. Comparisons between previous and current funding levels and cuts proposed by the Trump Administration are also discussed.
Transport Agencies Withdraw Proposed Sleep Apnea Rules
This report discusses the withdrawing of a proposed rule by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that would have required long-haul truck drivers and railroad engineers to be screened for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The risks of OSA, current regulations and safety requirements, and recent accidents involving drivers with OSA are also discussed.
Airport Privatization: Issues and Options for Congress
This report discusses airport privatization under the Airport Privatization Pilot Program (APPP) and the airports that have been involved in the program on some level. Examples of airport privatization in the United Kingdom and Canada are also discussed.
Presidential Permit Review for Cross-Border Pipelines and Electric Transmission
This report discusses the Presidential Permit review processes for cross-border energy infrastructure as implemented by these agencies: The Department of State for pipelines and similar facilities that transport liquids such as petroleum, petroleum products, and other hazardous liquids; The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for natural gas pipelines and associated facilities; and The Department of Energy (DOE) for electricity transmission lines and associated facilities. This report compares practices among these three agencies with respect to how they define a proposed project's scope (which dictates the array of associated impacts they will review), conduct environmental reviews, and make final decisions on permit applications. It also includes a discussion of recent efforts by Congress to change those permitting processes.
Amtrak: Overview
This report provides an overview of the Amtrak rail service, Topics discussed are funding sources and shortfalls, current and proposed infrastructure, current ridership, on-time arrival improvements needed, service areas, and private passenger rail initiatives in Texas, Florida, and California.
Tolling U.S. Highways and Bridges
This report explains current federal policies governing tolling and discusses issues related to increasing the use of tolls as a source of revenue for surface transportation projects.
Department of Transportation (DOT): Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations
This report outlines the Department of Transportation's (DOT) appropriations for fiscal year 2017 and highlights selected areas of funding such as intercity passenger rail, Highway trust funding solvency, TIGER grants, and Essential Air Service (EAS).
The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program
This report discuses the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan program administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT) which offers long-term low interest loans to railroad operators fro improving rail infrastructure. It was originality intended to assist small freight railroads but has been of increasing interest to passenger rail lines. Its structure, application process, approved projects, and challenges are discussed.
Airline Passenger Rights: The Federal Role in Aviation Consumer Protection
This report examines aviation consumer protections following the 1978 elimination of most governmental control regarding airline business practices. It explains the roles of Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in protecting airline consumers, and discusses some major passenger rights issues and related laws and regulations.
Issues in Autonomous Vehicle Deployment
This report discusses issues related to autonomous vehicle regulations on the federal and state level and proposals by Congress to establish new regulatory rules (H.R. 3388) that would create a federal standard for autonomous vehicles and require state law to be in agreement with the federal law.
The Coast Guard's Role in Safeguarding Maritime Transportation: Selected Issues
This report discusses the the U.S. Coast Guard responsibility for safeguarding vessel traffic on the nation's coastal and inland waterways.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. The Coast Guard's proposed FY2017 budget requests $150 million in acquisition funding for a new polar icebreaker that the Coast Guard wants to begin building in FY2020. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Administration's FY2017 acquisition funding request for a new polar icebreaker, and, more generally, whether to approve, reject, or modify the Coast Guard's overall plan for sustaining and modernizing the polar icebreaking fleet.
Transportation Spending Under an Earmark Ban
This report explains what earmarks are and discusses their use in surface transportation finance. It then discusses how federal transportation funding is distributed with a ban in place and how Members of Congress might influence the distribution.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which is the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers.
Dakota Access Pipeline: Siting Controversy
This report discusses the Dakota Access Pipeline including background on the project and information about siting approval, as well as opposition and litigation against the pipeline.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which is the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers.
Funding and Financing Highways and Public Transportation
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.
Fatal Balloon Accident Highlights Disagreement Between Safety Agencies
This report briefly discusses the the safety of hot-air balloons and examines the current regulatory climate. On July 30, 2016, a hot-air balloon tour flight crashed about 30 miles south of Austin, Texas, killing the pilot and all 15 passengers on board.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. The Coast Guard's proposed FY2017 budget requests $150 million in acquisition funding for a new polar icebreaker that the Coast Guard wants to begin building in FY2020. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Administration's FY2017 acquisition funding request for a new polar icebreaker, and, more generally, whether to approve, reject, or modify the Coast Guard's overall plan for sustaining and modernizing the polar icebreaking fleet.
Emergency Relief for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Transit Systems: In Brief
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 Washington State in 2013). It begins with a brief discussion of the legislative origins of federal assistance, and then addresses eligibility issues and program operation.
Transportation Security: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report examines aviation, transit and passenger rail security, as well as port and maritime security. The difficulty and cost of protecting the transportation sector from attack raises a core question for policymakers, i.e., how much effort and resources to put toward protecting potential targets versus pursuing and fighting terrorists.
Mileage-Based Road User Charges
This report examines mileage-based user charges as an possible source of highway funding. Federal highway and public transportation programs are funded mainly by taxes on motor fuel that flow into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The tax rates, set on a per-gallon basis, have not been raised since 1993, and motor fuel tax receipts have been insufficient to support the transportation programs authorized by Congress since FY2008.
Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs.
Earthquake Risk and U.S. Highway Infrastructure: Frequently Asked Questions
This report addresses a number of frequently asked questions about earthquake risk and highway system components, especially bridges. Earthquakes and related events, such as soil liquefaction, landslides, tsunamis, flooding, and fires, pose risks to highway infrastructure. Concerns about the U.S. highway system's seismic vulnerability stem from interest in protecting public safety, facilitating response and recovery efforts, and minimizing economic loss and social disruption.
Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). These 91 planned cutters are intended as replacements for 90 aging Coast Guard cutters and patrol craft. The Coast Guard's proposed FY2017 budget requests a total of $467 million in acquisition funding for the three programs.
DOT's Federal Pipeline Safety Program: Background and Key Issues for Congress
This report reviews the history of federal programs for pipeline safety, significant safety issues, and recent developments focusing on key issues for Congress.
Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas and Crude Oil: Federal and State Regulatory Authority
This report discusses the relationship between federal and state authority over siting and safety of crude oil and natural gas transmission and gathering pipelines and related facilities.
Cars, Trucks, and Climate: EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources
This report focuses on EPA's completed and potential actions to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from mobile sources, relying on the authorities in Title II of the Clean Air Act (CAA). We begin with a brief discussion of the petitions and court action that led to EPA's regulatory decisions.
Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. Congress's decisions on this issue could affect Coast Guard funding requirements, the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Amtrak Issues in the 108th Congress
This report discusses a number of issues connected with Amtrak that Congress may consider. Amtrak does not earn enough revenue, or receive enough assistance, to cover its operating costs and capital needs. As a result, Amtrak is regularly on the verge of insolvency.
Alaska Natural Gas Pipelines: Interaction of the Natural Gas and Steel Markets
In 1976, Congress approved legislation to establish the regulatory framework for building a pipeline to bring natural gas from the Alaska North Slope to the lower 48 states. This report focuses on two major issues or uncertainties that may serve as economic constraints on a capital investment undertaking of this major scale.
Transportation Spending Under an Earmark Ban
This report explains what earmarks are and discusses their use in surface transportation finance. It then discusses how federal transportation funding is distributed with a ban in place and how Members of Congress might influence the distribution.
Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy's current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs.
Navy Ship Propulsion Technologies: Options for Reducing Oil Use -- Background for Congress
This report provides background information on options for technologies that could reduce the Navy's dependence on oil for its ships, as well as four general strategies for reducing the Navy's dependence on oil for its ships: reducing energy use on Navy ships; alternative hydrocarbon fuels; nuclear propulsion; and sail and solar power.
Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Coast Guard's programs for procuring 8 National Security Cutters (NSCs), 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs), and 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). Congress's decisions on these three programs could substantially affect Coast Guard capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet.
Surface Transportation: Reauthorization of TEA-21
This report briefly examines the debate regarding spending levels to reauthorize federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs.
Detection of Explosives on Airline Passengers: Recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and Related Issues
This report discusses options for airline passenger explosives trace detection, ongoing federal R&D efforts and pilot equipment deployments, and policy issues related to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458). The legislation directs the Department of Homeland Security to place high priority on developing and deploying equipment for passenger explosives screening; requires TSA to submit a strategic plan for deploying such equipment; and authorizes additional research funding.
Volkswagen, Defeat Devices, and the Clean Air Act: Frequently Asked Questions
This report provides answers to a series of frequently asked questions focusing on a description of modern diesel technologies, their market and emissions profiles, and some potential reasons that could underlie the use of defeat devices. It summarizes the specific allegations filed against VW under the Clean Air Act, the current status of federal and state investigations, and the potential civil and criminal penalties. Further, the report introduces several outstanding issues currently under debate regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) resources and activities, and issues surrounding VW's defeat device.
Iran-U.S. Air Service Not Imminent
This report discusses the prospect of air travel between Iran and the U.S., which last operated during 1979, when the U.S. government imposed an embargo on flights following the Iran hostage crisis. Since then, travel and air cargo shipments between the two countries have been routed through third countries, and their extent has been limited by U.S. sanctions.
The Army's Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which is the Army's proposed replacement to the Vietnam-era M-113 personnel carriers.
Amtrak: Budget and Reauthorizaton
This issue brief discusses reform proposals from both the Administration and Amtrak in the 109th Congress. It addresses the appropriations requested by Amtrak, the reluctance of the Administration to provide aid, and its willingness to let Amtrak enter bankruptcy, resulting in restructuring and reform of inefficient operations.
Federal Freight Policy: In Brief
This report discusses the federal role in freight system planning. The U.S. freight system is a complex network including four principal modes of transportation: The National Truck Network, railroads, barge and ship lines, and air carriers.
Surface Transportation: Reauthorization of TEA-21
This report briefly examines the debate regarding spending levels to reauthorize federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs.
Unmanned Aircraft Operations in Domestic Airspace: U.S. Policy Perspectives and the Regulatory Landscape
This report discusses the uses and potential risks of Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which are often referred to as "drones." In the future, it is anticipated that some UAS will share airspace, and potentially share facilities like airports and helipads, with manned aircraft. Technological innovations, as well as standardized procedures operators must follow, will be needed for full integration.