H.R. 4348: Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II

H.R. 4348

Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II

Sponsor
Rep. John Mica

Date
April 18, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4348 under a rule. H.R. 4348 was introduced by Rep. John Mica (R-FL) on April 16, 2012, and was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well as the Committees on Ways and Means, Natural Resources, Science, Space, and Technology, and Energy and Commerce. The rule for consideration of H.R. 4348 provides one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The rule also makes in order three amendments, including an amendment to include the environmental streamlining provisions from Title III of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7). A full summary of amendments made in order under the bill is forthcoming.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4348 would extend the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs for the duration of FY 2012. Under current law, surface transportation spending authority is set to expire on June 30, 2012. The bill would provide authority to operate federal highway programs and the federal gas tax through September 30, 2012. The current highway program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), expired at the end of FY 2009 and has since been authorized by a series of short-term extensions. The most recent extension (H.R. 4281) was approved in the House by a vote of 226-158 on March 29, 2012.

 

In addition, the bill would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline within 30 days of receiving an application. If FERC has not acted on an application for a permit within 30 days after receiving such application, the permit would be deemed to have been issued. The bill also includes language contained in the RESTORE Act (H.R. 3096), which would establish the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund and dedicate 80 percent of penalties paid by the responsible parties in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem and economy.

 

Surface Transportation Reauthorization

 

H.R. 4348 would extend the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs through September 30, 2012 (the entirety of FY 2012). Current authority to appropriate funds from the HTF under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was most recently extended in March 2012 by H.R. 4281, and is set to expire on June 30, 2012. H.R. 4281 provided nine months of surface transportation funding at FY 2011 levels. H.R. 4348 would set the total obligation limitation and program funding levels consistent with the FY 2012 appropriated levels.

 

Federal-Aid Highway Programs: H.R. 4348 would authorize an obligation limit for highway program spending from the HTF from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012, at the same amount as FY 2012 appropriated levels. In addition, the bill would extend the authority to collect highway related taxes, including the federal gasoline tax, through September 30, 2012. Currently the 18.4 cent federal gasoline tax is distributed with one-tenth of one cent going to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund and the rest to the Highway Trust Fund's two accounts: 2.85 cents per gallon to fund the mass transit account and 15.44 cents per gallon to fund the highway account.

 

Extension of Highway Safety ProgramsH.R. 4348 would provide spending authority for highway safety programs carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the entirety of FY 2012, from October 2011 through September 2012, including:

 

  • $235 million for Chapter 4 Highway Safety Programs;
  • $105 million for Highway Safety Research and Development;
  • $25 million for Occupant Protection Incentive Grants;
  • $48 million for Safety Belt Performance Grants; 
  • $139 million for the Alcohol-Impaired Driving Counter-Measures Incentive Grant Program;
  • $4 million for the National Driver Register;
  • $7 million for Motorcycle Safety;
  • $7 million for Child Safety and Booster Seat Safety Incentive Grants; and
  • $25 million for Administrative Expenses.

 

H.R. 4348 would also authorize $451 million for FY 2012 for programs carried out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including $212 million for Motor Carrier Safety Grants and $239 million for Administrative Expenses.

 

Public Transportation Programs: H.R. 4348 sets the obligation limit for mass transit program spending authority from the HTF at $10.4 billion from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012.

 

Keystone XL Pipeline

 

H.R. 4348 would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline within 30 days of receiving an application. If FERC has not acted on an application for a permit within 30 days after receiving such application, the permit would be deemed to have been issued. The bill would also require FERC, within 30 days of the bills enactment, to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the state of Nebraska for an environmental review of any modification to the proposed pipeline route in Nebraska. While any Nebraska modification to the pipeline route is ongoing, the permit holder would be authorized to begin construction of any portion of the pipeline that is not within the state of Nebraska.

 

Restore Act

 

H.R. 4348 would establish the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund and dedicate 80 percent of penalties paid by the responsible parties in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem and economy.  Under current law, the Clean Water Act gives the federal government the authority to fine responsible parties after an oil spill, but these penalties are not required to be returned to the specific geographic location where the injury occurred. The RESTORE Act would establish the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund and direct 80 percent of all civil penalties paid in connection with the Deepwater Horizon to Gulf restoration efforts.

 

Cost

A CBO cost estimate of H.R. 4348 was not available as of press time.