Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 2254 (is) To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, to reauthorize and make improvements to that Act, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] ...

S. 2254 (is) To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, to reauthorize and make improvements to that Act, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] ...


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                                                       Calendar No. 718
106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2253

    To authorize the establishment of a joint United States-Canada 
 commission to study the feasibility of connecting the rail system in 
  Alaska to the North American continental rail system; and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             March 20, 2000

 Mr. Murkowski introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
             referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

                             July 26, 2000

                Reported by Mr. Helms, with an amendment
 [Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed 
                               in italic]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
    To authorize the establishment of a joint United States-Canada 
 commission to study the feasibility of connecting the rail system in 
  Alaska to the North American continental rail system; and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

<DELETED>SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    This Act may be cited as the ``Rails to Resources Act of 
2000''.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 2. FINDINGS.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    Congress finds that--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) rail transportation is an essential component 
        of the North American intermodal transportation 
        system;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) the development of economically strong and 
        socially stable communities in the western United States and 
        Canada was encouraged significantly by government policies 
        promoting the development of integrated transcontinental, 
        interstate and interprovincial rail systems in the states, 
        territories and provinces of the two countries;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) United States and Canadian federal support for 
        the completion of new elements of the transcontinental, 
        interstate and interprovincial rail systems was halted before 
        rail connections were established to the state of Alaska and 
        the Yukon Territory;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (4) both public and private lands in Alaska, the 
        Yukon Territory and northern British Columbia, including lands 
        held by aboriginal peoples, contain extensive deposits of oil, 
        gas, coal and other minerals as well as valuable forest 
        products which presently are inaccessible, but which could 
        provide significant economic benefit to local communities and 
        to both nations if an economically efficient transportation 
        system was available;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (5) per ton of freight moved, rail transportation 
        systems emit lower levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides 
        and volatile organic compounds than other modes of freight 
        transportation;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (6) rail transportation systems are capable of 
        moving cargo with up to nine times the energy efficiency of 
        highway transportation;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (7) rail transportation in otherwise isolated 
        areas facilitates controlled access and reduced overall impact 
        to environmentally sensitive areas;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (8) the extension of the continental rail system 
        through northern British Columbia and the Yukon Territory to 
        the current terminus of the Alaska Railroad would significantly 
        benefit the U.S. and Canadian visitor industries by 
        facilitating the comfortable movement of passengers over long 
        distances while minimizing effects on the surrounding 
        areas;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (9) extension of the Alaska Railroad system to the 
        Canadian border is consistent with the intent of Congress as 
        expressed in the Alaska Railroad Organic Act of 1914, which 
        called for a system of up to 1,000 miles in length; 
        and</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (10) ongoing research and development efforts in 
        the rail industry continue to increase the efficiency of rail 
        transportation, ensure safety, and decrease the impact of rail 
        service on the environment.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 3. AGREEMENT FOR A UNITED STATES-CANADA BILATERAL 
              COMMISSION.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    The President is authorized and urged to enter into an 
agreement with the government of Canada to establish a joint commission 
to study the technological and economic feasibility of linking the rail 
system in Alaska to the nearest appropriate point on the North American 
continental rail system.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 4. COMPOSITION OF COMMISSION.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) Membership.--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) Total membership.--The Agreement should 
        provide for the Commission to be composed of 18 members, of 
        which 9 members are appointed by the President and 9 members 
        are appointed by the government of Canada.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) General qualifications.--The Agreement should 
        provide for the membership of the Commission, to the maximum 
        extent practicable, to be representative of--</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (A) the interests of the local communities 
                (including the governments of the communities), 
                aboriginal peoples, and businesses that would be 
                affected by the connection of the rail system in Alaska 
                to the North American continental rail system; 
                and</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (B) a broad range of expertise in areas of 
                knowledge that are relevant to the significant issues 
                to be considered by the Commission, including 
                economics, engineering, management of resources (such 
                as minerals and timber), social sciences, fish and game 
                management, environmental sciences, and 
                transportation.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) United States Membership.--Under the Agreement, the 
President shall appoint the United States members of the Commission as 
follows:</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) Two members from among persons who are 
        qualified to represent the interests of communities and local 
        governments of Alaska.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) One member representing the State of Alaska, 
        to be nominated by the Governor of Alaska.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) One member from among persons who are 
        qualified to represent the interests of Native Alaskans 
        residing in the area of Alaska that would be affected by the 
        extension of rail service.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (4) Four members from among persons involved in 
        commercial activities in Alaska who are qualified to represent 
        commercial interests in Alaska, of which one shall be a 
        representative of the Alaska Railroad Corporation.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (5) Two members from among scholars employed in 
        institutions of higher education in Alaska, at least one of 
        whom must be an engineer with expertise in subarctic 
        transportation.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (c) Canadian Membership.--The Agreement should provide for 
the Canadian membership of the Commission to be representative of broad 
categories of interests of Canada as the government of Canada 
determines appropriate, consistent with subsection (a)(2).</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 5. GOVERNANCE AND STAFFING OF COMMISSION</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) Chairman.--The Agreement should provide for the 
Chairman of the Commission to be elected from among the members of the 
Commission by a majority vote of the members.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Compensation and Expenses of United States Members.--
</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) Compensation.--Each member of the Commission 
        appointed by the President who is not an officer or employee of 
        the Federal Government shall be compensated at a rate equal to 
        the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed 
        for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of 
        title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel 
        time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of 
        the duties of the Commission. Each such member who is an 
        officer or employee of the United States shall serve without 
        compensation in addition to that received for services as an 
        officer or employee of the United States.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) Travel expenses.--The members of the 
        Commission appointed by the President shall be allowed travel 
        expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates 
        authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of 
        chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from 
        their homes or regular places of business in the performance of 
        services for the Commission.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (c) Staff.--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) In general.--The Agreement should provide for 
        the appointment of a staff and an executive director to be the 
        head of the staff.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) Compensation.--Funds made available for the 
        Commission by the United States may be used to pay the 
        compensation of the executive director and other personnel at 
        rates fixed by the Commission that are not in excess of the 
        rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under 
        section 5316 of title 5, United States Code.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (d) Office.--The Agreement should provide for the office 
of the Commission to be located in a mutually agreed location within 
the impacted areas of Alaska, the Yukon Territory, and northern British 
Columbia.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (e) Meetings.--The Agreement should provide for the 
Commission to meet at least biannually to review progress and to 
provide guidance to staff and others, and to hold, in locations within 
the affected areas of Alaska, the Yukon Territory and northern British 
Columbia, such additional informational or public meetings as the 
Commission deems necessary to the conduct of its business.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (f) Procurement of Services.--The Agreement should 
authorize and encourage the Commission to procure by contract, to the 
maximum extent practicable, the services (including any temporary and 
intermittent services) that the Commission determines necessary for 
carrying out the duties of the Commission. In the case of any contract 
for the services of an individual, funds made available for the 
Commission by the United States may not be used to pay for the services 
of the individual at a rate that exceeds the daily equivalent of the 
annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive 
Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 6. DUTIES.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) Study.--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) In general.--The Agreement should provide for 
        the Commission to study and assess, on the basis of all 
        available relevant information, the technological and economic 
        feasibility of linking the rail system in Alaska to the North 
        American continental rail system through the continuation of 
        the rail system in Alaska from its northeastern terminus to a 
        connection with the continental rail system in 
        Canada.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) Specific issues.--The Agreement should provide 
        for the study and assessment to include the consideration of 
        the following issues:</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (A) Railroad engineering.</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (B) Land ownership.</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (C) Geology.</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (D) Proximity to mineral, timber and other 
                resources.</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (E) Market outlook.</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (F) Environmental 
                considerations.</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (G) Social effects, including changes in 
                the use or availability of natural resources.</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (H) Potential financing 
                mechanisms.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) Route.--The Agreement should provide for the 
        Commission, upon finding that it is technologically and 
        economically feasible to link the rail system in Alaska as 
        described in paragraph (1), to determine one or more 
        recommended routes for the rail segment that establishes the 
        linkage, taking into consideration cost, distance, access to 
        potential freight markets, environmental matters, and such 
        other factors as the Commission determines relevant.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (4) Combined corridor evaluation.--The Agreement 
        should also provide for the Commission to consider whether it 
        would be useful and technologically and economically feasible 
        to combine the power transmission infrastructure and petroleum 
        product pipelines of other utilities into one corridor with a 
        rail extension of the rail system of Alaska.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Report.--The Agreement should require the Commission 
to submit to Congress and the Secretary of Transportation and to the 
Minister of Transport of the government of Canada, not later than 5 
years after the Commission commencement date, a report on the results 
of the study, including the following:</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) Feasibility.--The Commission's findings 
        regarding the technological and economical feasibility of 
        linking the rail system in Alaska as described in subsection 
        (a)(1).</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) Route.--If such an action is determined 
        technologically and economically feasible, the Commission's 
        recommendations regarding the preferred route and any 
        alternative routes for the rail segment establishing the 
        linkage.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 7. COMMENCEMENT AND TERMINATION OF COMMISSION.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) Commencement.--The Agreement should provide for the 
Commission to begin to function on the date on which all members are 
appointed to the Commission as provided for in the Agreement.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Termination.--The Commission shall terminate 90 days 
after the date on which the Commission submits its report under section 
6.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 8. FUNDING.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) Rails to Resources Fund.--The Agreement should provide 
for the following:</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) Establishment.--The establishment of an 
        interest-bearing account to be known as the ``Rails to 
        Resources Fund''.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) Contributions.--The contribution by the United 
        States and the government of Canada to the Fund of amounts that 
are sufficient for the Commission to carry out its duties.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) Availability.--The availability of amounts in 
        the Fund to pay the costs of Commission activities.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (4) Dissolution.--Dissolution of the Fund upon the 
        termination of the Commission and distribution of the amounts 
        in the Fund between the United States and the government of 
        Canada.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Authorization of Appropriations.--Funds are hereby 
authorized to be appropriated to any Fund established as described in 
subsection (a)(1) in the total amount of $6,000,000, to remain 

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