What Are The Politicians Doing? 
Legislation in DC

The following information is some of the "transportation legislation" activities in DC. Links to the bills have been provided. I have also included a sample letter for citizens to use to contact their elected politicians (AKA Representatives and Senators).

Citizens must get involved and demand changes. The politicians have already wasted too much time and too many tax dollars on rail systems that don't relieve traffic congestion. IT IS TIME TO SEND ALL POLITICIANS A MESSAGE. THE ROAD TO PUBLIC OFFICE IS CHANGING. IT IS TIME THE POLITICIANS STOPPED RAILROADING CITIZENS.

HR 4545 - Amtrak Reauthorization Act of 2002 (Introduced in House)
A Bill to authorize appropriations for the benefit of Amtrak for fiscal year 2003, and for other purposes. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:h.r.04545

HR 2329 - High Speed Rail Investment Act of 2001 (Introduced in House)
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit to holders of qualified bonds issued by Amtrak, to amend title 49, United States Code, to provide for approval by the Secretary of Transportation of projects to be funded by those bonds, and for other purposes. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:h.r.02329:

HR 2205 - Amtrak Good Neighbor Act of 2001 (Introduced in House)
To amend title 49, United States Code, to promote the cooperation of Amtrak with local governments in the implementation of activities to enhance railroad property and structures. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:h.r.02205:

HR 2654 - Transit Rail Accommodation Improvement and Needs Act for the 21st Century (Introduced in House).
A bill to designate the Surface Transportation Board as a forum to improve passenger rail and other fixed guideway passenger transportation by allowing improved access to freight track and rights-of-way for fixed guideway transportation in consideration for just and reasonable compensation to freight railroads. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:h.r.02654:

HR 2299 - Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriation Act 2002 (Referred to Senate Committee after being Received from House)
Next Generation High-Speed Rail - For necessary expenses for the Next Generation High-Speed Rail program as authorized under 49 U.S.C. 26101 and 26102, $25,100,000, to remain available until expended.
Capital Grants to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation - For necessary expenses of capital improvements of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation as authorized by 49 U.S.C. 24104(a), $521,476,000, to remain available until expended.
`Federal Transit Administration, Capital investment grants' in Public Law 105-277; to be available as follows:
$10,296,000 for Alaska or Hawaii ferry projects;
$25,000,000 for the Atlanta, Georgia, North line extension project;
$10,867,000 for the Baltimore, Maryland, central light rail transit double track project;
$11,203,169 for the Boston, Massachusetts, South Boston Piers transitway project;
$5,000,000 for the Charlotte, North Carolina, south corridor transitway project;
$35,000,000 for the Chicago, Illinois, Douglas branch reconstruction project;
$23,000,000 for the Chicago, Illinois, Metra North central corridor commuter rail project;
$19,118,735 for the Chicago, Illinois, Metra South West corridor commuter rail project;
$20,000,000 for the Chicago, Illinois, Metra Union Pacific West line extension project;
$2,000,000 for the Chicago, Illinois, Ravenswood reconstruction project;
$5,000,000 for the Cleveland, Ohio, Euclid corridor transportation project;
$70,000,000 for the Dallas, Texas, North central light rail transit extension project;
$60,000,000 for the Denver, Colorado, Southeast corridor light rail transit project;
$192,492 for the Denver, Colorado, Southwest light rail transit project;
$25,000,000 for the Dulles corridor, Virginia, bus rapid transit project;
$30,000,000 for the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Tri-Rail commuter rail upgrades project;
$3,000,000 for the Johnson County, Kansas-Kansas City, Missouri, I-35 commuter rail project;
$60,000,000 for the Largo, Maryland, metrorail extension project;
$1,800,000 for the Little Rock, Arkansas, river rail project;
$10,000,000 for the Long Island Rail Road, New York, East Side access project;
$49,686,469 for the Los Angeles North Hollywood, California, extension project;
$5,500,000 for the Los Angeles, California, East Side corridor light rail transit project;
$3,000,000 for the Lowell, Massachusetts-Nashua, New Hampshire commuter rail extension project;
$12,000,000 for the Maryland (MARC) commuter rail improvements project;
$19,170,000 for the Memphis, Tennessee, Medical center rail extension project;
$5,000,000 for the Miami, Florida, South Miami-Dade busway extension project;
$10,000,000 for the Minneapolis-Rice, Minnesota, Northstar corridor commuter rail project;
$50,000,000 for the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, Hiawatha corridor project;
$4,000,000 for the Nashville, Tennessee, East corridor commuter rail project;
$20,000,000 for the Newark-Elizabeth, New Jersey, rail link project;
$4,000,000 for the New Britain-Hartford, Connecticut, busway project;
$141,000,000 for the New Jersey Hudson Bergen light rail transit project;
$13,800,000 for the New Orleans, Louisiana, Canal Street car line project;
$3,100,000 for the New Orleans, Louisiana, Desire corridor streetcar project;
$13,000,000 for the Oceanside-Escondido, California, light rail extension project;
$16,000,000 for the Phoenix, Arizona, Central Phoenix/East valley corridor project;
$6,000,000 for the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, North Shore connector light rail transit project;
$20,000,000 for the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, stage II light rail , transit reconstruction project;
$70,000,000 for the Portland, Oregon, Interstate MAX light rail transit extension project;
$5,600,000 for the Puget Sound, Washington, RTA Sounder commuter rail project;
$14,000,000 for the Raleigh, North Carolina, Triangle transit project;
$328,810 for the Sacramento, California, light rail transit extension project;
$15,000,000 for the Salt Lake City, Utah, CBD to University light rail transit project;
$718,006 for the Salt Lake City, Utah, South light rail transit project;
$65,000,000 for the San Diego Mission Valley East, California, light rail transit extension project;
$2,000,000 for the San Diego, California, Mid Coast corridor project;
$80,605,331 for the San Francisco, California, BART extension to the airport project;
$113,336 for the San Jose Tasman West, California, transit light rail project;
$40,000,000 for the San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tren Urbano project;
$31,088,422 for the St. Louis, Missouri, MetroLink St. Clair extension project;
$8,000,000 for the Stamford, Connecticut, urban transitway project; and
$1,000,000 for the Washington County, Oregon, Wilsonville to Beaverton commuter rail project.

HR 3591 - Systematic Passenger Infrastructure and Network Overhaul through Financial Freedom Act (Introduced in House)
To provide for the competitive operation of the Northeast rail corridor and Autotrain using State and private sector initiatives.
TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP- Effective on the date of the enactment of this Act--
(1) title to all property of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation necessary for the operation of the main line of the Northeast Corridor between the District of Columbia and Boston, Massachusetts, and the Autotrain shall transfer to the Secretary of Transportation; and (2) the note and mortgage described in section 24907 of title 49, United States Code, is canceled, in consideration for the transfer described in paragraph (1). http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.3591:

HR 1967 - Gas Price Spike Act of 2001 (Introduced in House)
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a windfall profit tax on oil and natural gas (and products thereof) and to allow an income tax credit for purchases of fuel-efficient passenger vehicles, and to allow grants for mass transit.

In the case of an individual, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this chapter for the taxable year an amount equal to the cost of any qualified passenger vehicle purchased by the taxpayer during the taxable year.

The Secretary of Transportation may make grants to the operator of a mass transit system to assist the operator in reducing fares paid by passengers using the system. (b) USE OF GRANTS- Grants received under the program shall be used solely for implementing a fare reduction described in subsection (a) that is applied equally to all passengers using the mass transit system.

HR 3166 - Rebuild America Financing Infrastructure Renewal and Security for Transportation Act of 2001 (Introduced in House).

The purposes of this Act are as follows:

(1) To invest in the Nation's infrastructure to enhance the security of rail , environmental, highway, transit, aviation, maritime, water resources, and public buildings infrastructure.
(2) To create jobs and economic activity to put people back to work and stimulate the Nation's economy.
(3) To create long-term capital assets for the Nation that will help the United States address its enormous infrastructure needs and improve its economic productivity.
(4) To demonstrate the commitment of the Federal Government to economic recovery, thereby increasing the confidence of consumers and businesses.

(10)Transportation-related goods and services contribute more than $980,000,000,000 annually to the United States economy.
(17) The Nation also continues to face enormous non-security transportation and environmental infrastructure needs.
(18) In 68 urban areas, highway congestion alone costs travelers 4,500,000,000 hours of delay, 6,800,000,000 gallons of wasted fuel, and $78,000,000,000 in cost productivity and wasted fuel (more than three times the $22,000,000,000 cost in 1982).
(19) Similarly, States estimate that 40 percent of assessed waters, or 20,000 discrete areas of the Nation's lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal waters, do not meet State water quality standards.
(20) States, cities, transit authorities, airport authorities, and other entities have ready-to-go infrastructure projects, which will create long-term capital assets for the United States and which can help stimulate the Nation's economy.
(21) Each $1,000,000,000 invested in infrastructure construction creates approximately 42,000 jobs and $2,100,000,000 in economic activity.

(1) IN GENERAL- There is a qualified Amtrak bond limitation for each fiscal year. Such limitation is--
(A) $1,500,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2002 through 2011, and
(B) zero after fiscal year 2011.

(A) NORTHEAST RAIL CORRIDOR- Not more than $3,000,000,000 of the limitation under paragraph (1) may be designated for qualified projects on the northeast rail corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston, Massachusetts.
(B) INDIVIDUAL STATES- Not more than $3,000,000,000 of the limitation under paragraph (1) may be designated for any individual State. The dollar limitation under this subparagraph is in addition to the dollar limitation for the qualified projects described in subparagraph (A).
(3) LIMIT ON BONDS FOR OTHER PROJECTS- Not more than $100,000,000 of the limitation under paragraph (1) for any fiscal year may be designated for all qualified projects described in subsection (j)(1)(C).

HRES 369 - Recognizing the goals and objectives of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Caucus. (Introduced in House)
Recognizing the goals and objectives of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Caucus.
Whereas intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies benefit the people of the United States;
Whereas ITS technologies are being deployed in the United States to reduce traffic congestion, improve driver safety, reduce the number and severity of vehicular accidents, improve the safety and dependability of transportation systems, enhance the competitiveness of the automotive industry, provide multimodal traveler information, facilitate the movement of freight, increase border and port security, improve operating efficiencies for commercial vehicles and transit, promote international trade, safeguard the environment, facilitate emergency response and evacuation, and ensure the security of critical infrastructure in the United States;
Whereas in testifying before the Senate, Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta stated that one of the core principles and values for the Department of Transportation in the surface transportation reauthorization process is to `foster `intelligent everything' in the development and deployment of technology, such as pavement monitoring, message systems, remote sensing, and toll collection';

S 1150 - Interstate Highway System Toll Free Holiday Act (Introduced in Senate)
A bill To waive tolls on the Interstate System during peak holiday travel periods.
(a) DEFINITIONS- In this section, the terms `Interstate System', `public authority', `Secretary', `State', and `State transportation department' have the meanings given the terms in section 101(a) of title 23, United States Code.
(1) IN GENERAL- No tolls shall be collected, and no vehicle shall be required to stop at a toll booth, for any toll highway, bridge, or tunnel on the Interstate System during any peak holiday travel period determined under paragraph (2).
(2) PEAK HOLIDAY TRAVEL PERIODS- For the purposes of paragraph (1), the State transportation department or the public authority having jurisdiction over the toll highway, bridge, or tunnel shall determine the number and duration of peak holiday travel periods, which shall include, at a minimum, the 24-hour period of each legal public holiday specified in section 6103(a) of title 5, United States Code.
(1) IN GENERAL- For each fiscal year, upon request by a State or public authority and approval by the Secretary, the Secretary shall reimburse the State or public authority for the amount of toll revenue not collected by reason of subsection (b).
(2) REQUESTS FOR REIMBURSEMENT- On or before September 30 of a fiscal year, each State or public authority that desires a refund described in paragraph (1) shall submit to the Secretary a request for reimbursement, based on actual traffic data, for the amount of toll revenue not collected by reason of subsection (b) during the fiscal year.
(3) USE OF REIMBURSED FUNDS- A request for reimbursement under paragraph (2) shall include a certification by the State or public authority that the amount of the reimbursement will be used only for debt service or for operation and maintenance of the toll facility, including reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation.

HR 4925 - To amend title 23, United States Code, to provide an exemption from Interstate System weight limitations for milk hauling vehicles in the State of Connecticut. (Introduced in House) http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.4925:
Section 127(a) of title 23, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: `The State of Connecticut may allow, by special permit, on Interstate System highways in the State the operation of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 99,000 pounds for the hauling of milk in liquid form.'.

S 485 - Interstate Tolls Relief Act of 2001 (Introduced in Senate)
To amend Federal law regarding the tolling of the Interstate Highway System.
Section 1216(b) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (112 Stat. 212-214; 23 U.S.C. 19 nt) is repealed.
Section 129(a)(1)(C) of title 23, United States Code, is amended by striking `toll-free bridge or tunnel' and inserting `toll-free major bridge or toll-free tunnel'.
Section 129(a)(3) of title 23, United States Code, is amended by--
(1) striking `first' in the first sentence and inserting `only'; and
(2) striking `If the State certifies annually that the tolled facility is being adequately maintained, the State may use any toll revenues in excess of amounts required under the preceding sentence for any purpose for which Federal funds may be obligated by a State under this title.'.

H.R.3366 - Metropolitan Washington Regional Transportation Act (Introduced in House) http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c107:7:./temp/~c107hpL70H:e874:
Congress finds that--
(1) congestion is a serious problem in the metropolitan Washington region, as evidenced by recent studies that have found that congestion costs each man, woman, and child in the region close to $800 per year in lost time, wasted fuel, and environmental damage;
(2) in the past, regional leaders have successfully worked together to address important transportation needs, through such institutions as the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments;
(3) even greater regional cooperation is needed to prevent congestion in the metropolitan Washington region from worsening, in light of predictions that there will be a 31 percent increase in population, a 41 percent increase in employment, and a 46 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled in the region over the next 25 years;
(4) while transportation needs will grow significantly over the next 25 years, spending is expected to fall short of transportation needs over the same period by more than $43.5 billion, even with expected increases in Federal and State spending;
(5) none of the existing metropolitan-wide transportation agencies within the metropolitan Washington region has the necessary powers, authorities, and resources to meet the current and future transportation needs of the region;
(D) to permit single-occupancy vehicles to travel on high-occupancy lanes in the region, if--
(i) the affected signatory or signatories consent to charge tolls to single-occupancy vehicles given access to high-occupancy lanes;
(ii) the toll can be implemented in a way that does not reduce the level of service; and
(iii) the affected signatory or signatories consent to use the toll revenues for regional transportation projects;

S 1015 - Railroad Crossing Delay Reduction Act (Introduced in Senate)
A bill to require the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations to address safety concerns and to minimize delays for motorists at railroad grade crossings.

Bottom line - THE POLITICANS ARE NOT REPRESENTING US AND CITIZENS MUST DEMAND CHANGES. This is very apparent when you consider the actions and legislation of those elected to public office.

Next time your local politicians starts whining for money to fix the roads, please give them a lesson in true representation, accountability and fiscal responsibility. The above information demonstrates reckless spending at the expense of our transportation system. They have the money to fix the roads and highways. Now all they need the courage and ethics to do the right thing and start representing their constituents. If elected officials don't start representing the people instead of the SIGs, we will see more dogs on the ballot and they will start winning!

Please take the time to get involved in our process. We are all part of this system and we must assume responsibility our role in it. It is imperative that you communicate with all of your elected politicians and government agencies. They must be put on notice that citizens are demanding true representation and accountability on the part of their government. The road to public office must change. Politicians and SIGs must stop railroading our transportation system.

Please use the attached letter as a guide or add your information and send this letter to all of your elected politicians and transportation agencies. They want public involvement and it is time we gave it to them. For more information on getting involved, please write Ax the Toll Road Tax, PO Box 720685, Orlando, FL 32872.

Sample Letter

To: Representative/Senators Name
Office and District

From: Citizen and Voter Name


Re: Meeting Our Transportation Needs - It is Time for a Change

As a citizen of the United States and as a registered voter of your district, I am obligated to inform you of my complete dissatisfaction and outrage with our current transportation policy.

I as a concerned citizen have taken the time to learn more about our transportation policies and current legislation. This includes ISTEA , TEA-21, HR 4545, HR 2299, HR 3166, HR 2329, HR 2205, HR 2654, etc. I have also taken the time to learn more about alternative modes of transportation (mass transit). Based on this research, it is very apparent, that our current policy does not and will not support our transportation needs.

For the record - I oppose any additional taxpayer funding for Amtrak, light-rail, high-speed rail systems. It is a proven fact that rail systems are not cost effective and they do not address the traffic congestion on the highways. Rail should be completely privatized. My gas taxes should be used to exclusively to expand highways/roadways and to improve traffic flow.

The following statement was copied from the "2002 Urban Mobility Study" by the Texas Transportation Institute (see TTI web site: http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/study/front_and_back/big_picture.stm ): "Over the last 19 years, traffic volumes have increased faster than road capacity and the alternative modes have not provided the needed relief either because they are not extensive enough, or they are not used for enough trips."

The last part of this statement identifies the key problems with rail systems. The fact is alternative modes of transportation (rail) are not extensive enough and people simply don't like to use them. Americans love their cars and the love the freedom to commute as they please. It is time to stop wasting our gas taxes on rail and fix the highway gridlock!! It is not rocket science!!

Bottom line….It is very apparent that our current transportation policy and programs have not been developed to meet the needs of our state and our country. It is time for all elected officials to start listening to and representing their constituents. It is time to eliminate Special Interest Groups (SIGs) from public policy. SIGs should not control our government and our transportation policy. As a citizen and a voter, I want to know what YOU are going to do about our costly and totally ineffective transportation policy. I want to know what YOU are doing to represent your constituents. I want to know the names of the SIGs that are influencing our transportation policy. As a citizen, I have a right to know.

Thank you.

Citizen for transportation reform and true representation for the people.

Please write to the Federal Railroad Administration, Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and your elected officials and let them know we need better roads and highways. We definitely do not need more Amtrak boondoggles that will cost us for the rest of our taxpaying lives.

Locate your U.S. and State Senators and Representatives at http://www.congress.org

Contacting the U.S. Senate http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm

U.S. House of Representative http://www.house.gov/
Member Information http://clerk.house.gov/members/index.php
Write Your Representative Service http://www.house.gov/writerep/

Federal Railroad Administration Headquarters Address
1120 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20590
Hours of Operation 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 
For Regional Offices go to http://www.fra.dot.gov/safety/regional/index.htm

U.S. Department of Transportation http://www.dot.gov/contact.html
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
Information: 202-366-4000

Send Comments or questions, as well as email for the Secretary and other Department of Transportation officials, to dot.comments@ost.dot.gov

See also: