S 346

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 346

To provide authority and sanction for the granting and issuance of programs for residential and commuter toll, user fee and fare discounts by States, municipalities, other localities, and all related agencies and departments, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 14, 2011

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


A BILL

To provide authority and sanction for the granting and issuance of programs for residential and commuter toll, user fee and fare discounts by States, municipalities, other localities, and all related agencies and departments, 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.

    This Act may be cited as the `Residential and Commuter Toll Fairness Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

    (a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

      (1) Residents of various localities and political subdivisions throughout the United States are subject to tolls, user fees, and fares to access certain roads, highways, bridges, railroads, busses, ferries, and other transportation systems.

      (2) Revenue generated from transportation tolls, user fees, and fares is used to support various infrastructure maintenance and capital improvement projects that directly benefit commuters and indirectly benefit the regional and national economy.

      (3) Residents of certain municipalities, counties, and other localities endure significant or disproportionate toll, user fee, or fare burdens compared to others who have a greater number of transportation options because such residents--

        (A) live in geographic areas that are not conveniently located to the access points for roads, highways, bridges, rail, busses, ferries, and other transportation systems;

        (B) live on islands, peninsulas, or in other places that are only accessible through a means that requires them to pay a toll, user fee, or fare; or

        (C) are required to pay much more for transportation access than residents of surrounding jurisdictions, or in other jurisdictions across the country, for similar transportation options.

      (4) To address this inequality, and to reduce the financial hardship often imposed on such residents, several State and municipal governments and multi-State transportation authorities have established programs that authorize discounted transportation tolls, user fees, and fares for such residents.

      (5) Transportation toll, user fee, and fare discount programs based on residential status--

        (A) address actual unequal and undue financial burdens placed on residents who live in areas that are only accessible through a means that requires them to pay a toll, user fee, or fare;

        (B) do not disadvantage or discriminate against those individuals ineligible for residential toll, user fee, or fare discount programs;

        (C) are not designed to favor the interests or promote the domestic industry or economic development of the State implementing such programs;

        (D) do not interfere or impose undue burdens on commerce with foreign nations or interfere or impose any undue burdens on commerce among the several States, or commerce within particular States;

        (E) do not interfere or impose undue burdens on the ability of individuals to travel among, or within, the several States;

        (F) do not constitute inequitable treatment or deny any person within the jurisdiction of the United States the equal protection of the laws; and

        (G) do not abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.

    (b) Purposes- The purposes of this Act are--

      (1) to clarify the existing authority of States, counties, municipalities, and multi-jurisdictional transportation authorities to establish programs that offer discounted transportation tolls, user fees, and fares for residents in specific geographic areas; and

      (2) to authorize the establishment of such programs, as necessary.

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION OF LOCAL RESIDENTIAL OR COMMUTER TOLL, USER FEE OR FARE DISCOUNT PROGRAMS.

    (a) Authority To Provide Residential or Commuter Toll, User Fee, or Fare Discount Programs- States, counties, municipalities, and multi-jurisdictional transportation authorities that operate or manage roads, highways, bridges, railroads, busses, ferries, or other transportation systems are authorized to establish programs that offer discounted transportation tolls, user fees, or other fares for residents of specific geographic areas in order to reduce or alleviate toll burdens imposed upon such residents.

    (b) Rulemaking With Respect to the State, Local, or Agency Provision of Toll, User Fee or Fare Discount Programs to Local Residents or Commuters- States, counties, municipalities, and multi-jurisdictional transportation authorities that operate or manage roads, highways, bridges, railroads, busses, ferries, or other transportation systems are authorized to enact such rules or regulations that may be necessary to establish the programs authorized under subsection (a).

    (c) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this Act may be construed to limit or otherwise interfere with the authority, as of the date of the enactment of this Act, of States, counties, municipalities, and multi-jurisdictional transportation authorities that operate or manage roads, highways, bridges, railroads, busses, ferries, or other transportation systems.

END