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49 734 cc Calendar No. 468 105 th Congress Report SENATE 2d Session 105 249 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 1999 July 15, 1998.--Ordered to be printed Mr. Shelby, from the Committee on Appropriations, submitted the following REPORT [To accompany S. 2307] The Committee on Appropriations reports the bill (S. 2307) making appropriations for the Department of Transportation and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1999, and for other purposes, reports favorably thereon and recommends that the bill do pass. * * * * * BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION STATISTICS (limitation on obligations) Appropriations, 1998 ($25,000,000) Budget estimate, 1999 (31,000,000) Committee recommendation (31,000,000) The Bureau of Transportation Statistics [BTS] was established in section 6006 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act [ISTEA], to compile, analyze, and make accessible information on the Nation's transportation systems, collect information on intermodal transportation, and enhance the quality and effectiveness of the statistical programs of the Department of Transportation. For fiscal year 1999, the Committee recommends a funding level of $31,000,000. BTS offices include the Director, Statistical Programs and Services, Transportation Studies, and the Office of Aviation Information [OAI]. In addition, effective January 1, 1996, the responsibility to collect motor carrier financial data was transferred to the BTS after the sunset of the Interstate Commerce Commission. The Office of Aviation Information collects and compiles financial and traffic (passenger and cargo) data. This information provides the Government with uniform and comprehensive economic and market data on individual airline operations. This program includes a small field office located in Anchorage, AK, which provides consumers and the Government with airline data related to essential air service and the intra-Alaskan mail rate program. The statistical aviation data compiled by OAI includes: airline passenger traffic statistics, ontime performance data by carrier, financial performance and certification data, fuel purchase and consumption, and other business and consumer directed statistics. These statistics are vitally important to the Federal Government and the aviation industry. In some cases, it is statutorily required that these statistics be used by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation in allocation of trust funds, aviation bilateral negotiations, and other Federal transportation policy decisionmaking. Railroad rationalization and diversion analysis .--The Committee directs that of the funds provided, $375,000 be for a railroad rationalization and diversion analysis. The Committee notes that railline abandonments and diversion of traffic from railroads to trucks are having a significant impact on rural grain-producing regions. Major grain producing States in the Midwest have experienced significant reductions in railroad service from 1965 to 1995. This research project would develop nationwide capabilities to analyze the impacts of grain-traffic diversion from railroads to highways, and provide important planning information for State and local governments. In addition, the recent shortages of rail cars for grain transportation have created diversion of grain shipments from rail trucks. The main objectives of this project should be to: (1) document the extent of railroad traffic diversion and its likely consequences on highway budgets; (2) forecast the scope of potential future traffic diversions as a result of changes in railroad rate structures, shortages of grain cars or poor management of rail car spotting, and additional line abandonments; (3) estimate the likely impacts of future traffic diversions on State and local highway needs; and (4) formulate potential asset management strategies and policy alternatives. The Committee encourages the Bureau to work with North Dakota State University to carry out this project. * * * * *