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108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 3024

To establish the National Center for Transportation Solutions, and for 
                            other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           November 20, 2004

   Mr. Dodd introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
   referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To establish the National Center for Transportation Solutions, and for 
                            other purposes.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``National Center 
for Transportation Solutions Act of 2004''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Establishment of National Center for Transportation Solutions.
Sec. 4. Duties of the Center.
Sec. 5. National Center for Transportation Solutions Board.
Sec. 6. Director of National Transportation Research.
Sec. 7. Organization of Center.
Sec. 8. Powers of Center.
Sec. 9. Center personnel matters.
Sec. 10. Regional centers for transportation solutions.
Sec. 11. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Research and development are critical to developing and 
        maintaining a transportation system that meets the goals of 
        safety, mobility, economic vitality, efficiency, equity, and 
        environmental protection.
            (2) Federal investment in transportation research and 
        development represents approximately 1 percent of overall 
        Government spending on transportation programs.
            (3) While Congress increased funding for overall 
        transportation programs by about 40 percent in the 
        Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Public Law 105-
        178), funding for transportation research and development 
        remained relatively flat.
            (4) Inadequate resources are devoted to research aimed at 
        long-term transportation goals.
            (5) The competitive, peer-reviewed award of research 
        funding is best suited to address long-term, strategic research 
        needs.
            (6) The diversity of transportation research programs that 
        address the needs of different customers poses challenges to 
        effective regional-based and university-based transportation 
        research centers, and short-term applied research and 
        development and long-term fundamental research and development.
            (7) The wide-ranging subject matter of transportation 
        research makes effective priority setting difficult.
            (8) In order to ensure that the United States 
        transportation system meets the goals of safety, mobility, 
        economic vitality, equity, and environmental protection, it is 
        in the interest of the United States to--
                    (A) increase Federal investment in long-range 
                transportation planning;
                    (B) initiate and support competitive, peer-reviewed 
                research into systemic transportation issues;
                    (C) better coordinate the research and development 
                programs of the Department of Transportation;
                    (D) foster the interchange of transportation 
                research and development data among interested parties; 
                and
                    (E) establish nationwide priorities in Federal 
                transportation research and development.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSPORTATION SOLUTIONS.

    There is hereby established as an independent agency in the 
executive branch of government the National Center for Transportation 
Solutions (hereafter in this Act referred to as the ``Center''). The 
Center shall consist of the National Center for Transportation 
Solutions Board established under section 5 and the Director of 
National Transportation Research appointed under section 6. Except as 
otherwise provided in this Act, the National Center for Transportation 
Solutions Board shall exercise the authorities of the Center.

SEC. 4. DUTIES OF THE CENTER.

    (a) Research and Development.--
            (1) Long-term policy.--The Center shall develop and 
        encourage the execution of a long-term national policy for the 
        promotion of research and development related to multimodal 
        transportation.
            (2) Projects.--The Center shall initiate and support 
        research and development projects related to multimodal 
        transportation that--
                    (A) are of long-term significance;
                    (B) have clear public benefits and in which private 
                investment is not optimal due to the failure of, or 
                distortions in, the market; or
                    (C) are not otherwise conducted in the public or 
                private sectors.
    (b) Grants.--The Center is authorized to award competitive, merit-
based grants to academic, public, and private research institutions to 
support long-term, strategic transportation objectives.
    (c) Coordination of Research and Development.--The Center shall 
facilitate the interchange of transportation research data among 
interested parties in the United States, including by--
            (1) serving as a clearinghouse of information for 
        individuals engaged in transportation research and development 
        in the United States;
            (2) consulting with officials from the Department of 
        Transportation in the development of recommendations related to 
        transportation research; and
            (3) coordinating scientific research programs with public 
        and private research groups.
    (d) Evaluation of Research and Development Programs.--The Center 
shall evaluate programs related to transportation research and 
development that are conducted by the United States Government.
    (e) Annual Report.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than January 15, 2006, and 
        annually thereafter, the Director of National Transportation 
        Research shall submit to Congress a report on activities 
        undertaken by the Center during the fiscal year ending in the 
        previous calendar year.
            (2) Recommendations.--Each report submitted under paragraph 
        (1) shall include recommendations on research and development 
        related to multimodal transportation, including any minority 
        views and recommendations of members of the National Center for 
        Transportation Solutions Board.

SEC. 5. NATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSPORTATION SOLUTIONS BOARD.

    (a) Establishment.--There is hereby established the National Center 
for Transportation Solutions Board (hereafter in this Act referred to 
as the ``Board'').
    (b) Membership.--
            (1) Composition.--The Board shall be composed of the 
        Director of National Transportation Research, who shall serve 
        ex officio, and 16 voting members, of whom--
                    (A) four shall be appointed by the Secretary of 
                Transportation;
                    (B) four shall be appointed by the Director of the 
                National Academies; and
                    (C) eight shall be appointed by the President, in 
                consultation with the majority leader of the Senate, 
                the minority leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the 
                House of Representatives, and the minority leader of 
                the House of Representatives, by and with the advice 
                and consent of the Senate.
            (2) Qualifications.--The members of the Board shall--
                    (A) represent various professions and occupations 
                in the public and private sectors;
                    (B) to the extent practicable, represent a broad 
                range of regions of the United States; and
                    (C) possess skills and experience appropriate to 
                the functions and responsibilities of the Center.
    (c) Appointment; Vacancies.--
            (1) Initial appointments.--The initial members of the Board 
        shall be appointed not less than 90 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act.
            (2) Terms.--
                    (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (B), members shall serve for terms of 6 years. No 
                member may serve for more than two consecutive terms.
                    (B) Staggered terms.--The terms of the members 
                shall be staggered, with the initial members appointed 
                for the following initial terms:
                            (i) Six members shall serve for a term of 
                        six years.
                            (ii) Five members shall serve for a term of 
                        four years.
                            (iii) Five members shall serve for a term 
                        of two years.
                    (C) Non-election year expiration.--The term of a 
                member under this subsection shall not expire during a 
                calendar year in which an election occurs to select the 
                President or any members of the Senate or the House of 
                Representatives (not including special elections). The 
                initial terms described under subparagraph (B) may, at 
                the discretion of the Director, be extended for not to 
                exceed one year for purposes of complying with the 
                requirements of this subparagraph.
            (3) Vacancies.--Any vacancy in the Board shall not affect 
        its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the 
        original appointment.
    (d) Meetings.--
            (1) Initial meeting.--Not later than 30 days after the date 
        on which all members of the Board have been appointed, the 
        Board shall hold its first meeting.
            (2) Meetings.--The Board shall meet at the call of the 
        Chair.
            (3) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the Board shall 
        constitute a quorum, but a lesser number of members may hold 
        hearings.
    (e) Chairman and Vice Chairman.--
            (1) Selection.--The Board shall select a Chairman and Vice 
        Chairman from among its members.
            (2) Terms.--The Chairman and Vice Chairman shall serve for 
        2-year terms. An individual may not serve for more than two 
        consecutive terms as Chairman.

SEC. 6. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH.

    (a) Director.--There shall be a Director of National Transportation 
Research who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the 
consent of the Senate (hereafter in this Act referred to as the 
``Director''). The Board shall have an opportunity to make 
recommendations to the President with respect to the appointment of the 
Director.
    (b) Duties.--The Director--
            (1) shall serve as the chief executive office of the 
        Center;
            (2) is authorized to carry out the authorities and powers 
        of the Center; and
            (3) shall serve as a nonvoting, ex officio member of the 
        Board.
    (c) Term.--The Director shall serve for a term of six years unless 
earlier removed by the President.
    (d) Salary.--The rate of pay for the Director may not exceed the 
rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 
of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 7. ORGANIZATION OF CENTER.

    (a) Divisions.--Subject to the discretion of the Board, the Center 
shall be organized into the following divisions:
            (1) The Division of Transportation Safety.
            (2) The Division of Environmental, Energy, and Land Use 
        Planning.
            (3) The Division of Infrastructure.
            (4) The Division of Intermodal Connections.
            (5) The Division of Transportation Economics and Financial 
        Policy.
            (6) Such other divisions as the Board determines 
        appropriate.
    (b) Division Committees.--
            (1) In general.--Each division under subsection (a) shall 
        have a committee that shall make recommendations to, consult 
        with, and advise the Board and the Director with respect to the 
        issues covered by such division.
            (2) Composition.--Each division committee shall be composed 
        of not less than five members who may be, but need not be, 
        members of the Board.
            (3) Terms.--Members of the division committees shall serve 
        for terms of two years.
            (4) Chairmen.--Each division committee shall annually elect 
        a Chairman from among its members.
            (5) Procedures.--Each division committee shall prescribe 
        its own rules of procedure, subject to such restrictions as may 
        be prescribed by the Board.

SEC. 8. POWERS OF CENTER.

    (a) Hearings.--The Board and each division committee may hold such 
hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, 
and receive such evidence as the Board or such division committee 
considers advisable to carry out this Act.
    (b) Information From Federal Agencies.--The Board and each division 
committee may secure directly from any Federal department or agency 
such information as the Board or such division committee considers 
necessary to carry out this Act. Upon request of the Chairman of the 
Board or the Chairman of a division committee, the head of such 
department or agency shall furnish such information to the Board or the 
division committee, as the case may be.
    (c) Contracts.--The Board is authorized to enter into contracts and 
cooperative agreements to carry out the purposes of this Act, including 
sole source agreements with the National Academy of Sciences and other 
entities to provide studies to assist the Board in developing policies 
and strategies.
    (d) Postal Services.--The Board and the division committees may use 
the United States mails in the same manner and under the same 
conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
    (e) Gifts.--The Board and the division committees may accept, use, 
and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.
    (f) Publication of Research.--The Center may publish the results of 

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