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Congressional Research Service ReportsRedistributed as a Service of the NLE*

RL32454 - Environmental Provisions in Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation Proposed During the 108th Congress (pdf)

8-Dec-2005; Linda G. Luther; 19 p.

Update: April 13, 2005

Previous releases: /NLE/CRSreports/04oct/RL32454.pdf /NLE/CRSreports/04Sep/RL32454.pdf

Abstract: During the 108th Congress, both the House and Senate passed legislation to reauthorize federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs (H.R. 3550 and S. 1072). During the reauthorization process, certain environmental issues garnered significant attention from both Members of Congress and interested stakeholders (e.g., state transportation agencies, transportation construction organizations, and environmental groups). This attention was due to both the impact that surface transportation projects can have on the environment (and, possibly, the costs associated with addressing those impacts) and the impact that compliance with environmental requirements can have on project delivery.

Conferees failed to reach an agreement on final reauthorization legislation before adjournment of the 108th Congress. It is anticipated that the environmental issues of concern to the 108th Congress will again be addressed by the 109th Congress when new reauthorization legislation is reintroduced in early 2005. Generally, environmental provisions in previously passed legislation proposed to do one of the following: authorize funding to eliminate, control, mitigate, or minimize regulated environmental impacts associated with surface transportation programs or projects; or specify procedures required to be undertaken to comply with certain environmental requirements. In particular, both bills included provisions that would have changed the procedures the Department of Transportation (DOT) would be required to follow to comply with the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. € 7401 et seq.) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. € 4321 et seq.). Both the House and Senate bills included provisions that would have either specified procedures or authorized funding to facilitate compliance with one or both of these laws.

Legislation authorizing surface transportation programs for FY1998-FY2003, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21, P.L. 105-178), expired on September 30, 2003. In accordance with a series of extension bills, all existing surface transportation programs continue to operate according to provisions of TEA- 21 while Congress considers reauthorization proposals. The most recent extension (H.R. 5183) extended funding for surface transportation programs through May 31, 2005. This report will not be updated.  [read report]

* These CRS reports were produced by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress providing nonpartisan research reports to members of the House and Senate. The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has made these reports available to the public at large, but the Congressional Research Service is not affiliated with the NCSE or the National Library for the Environment (NLE). This web site is not endorsed by or associated with the Congressional Research Service. The material contained in the CRS reports does not necessarily express the views of NCSE, its supporters, or sponsors. The information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. NCSE disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall NCSE be liable for any damages.