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49 U.S. Code § 20108 - Research, development, testing, and training

(a) General.—
The Secretary of Transportation shall carry out, as necessary, research, development, testing, evaluation, and training for every area of railroad safety.
(b) Contracts.—
To carry out this part, the Secretary may make contracts for, and carry out, research, development, testing, evaluation, and training (particularly for those areas of railroad safety found to need prompt attention).
(c) Amounts From Non-Government Sources for Training Safety Employees.—
The Secretary may request, receive, and expend amounts received from non-United States Government sources for expenses incurred in training safety employees of private industry, State and local authorities, or other public authorities, except State rail safety inspectors participating in training under section 20105 of this title.
(d) Facilities.—
The Secretary may erect, alter, and repair buildings and make other public improvements to carry out necessary railroad research, safety, and training activities at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado.
(e) Offsetting Collections.—
The Secretary may collect fees or rents from facility users to offset appropriated amounts for the cost of providing facilities or research, development, testing, training, or other services, including long-term sustainment of the on-site physical plant.
(f) Revolving Fund.—
Amounts appropriated to carry out subsection (d) and all fees and rents collected pursuant to subsection (e) shall be credited to a revolving fund and remain available until expended. The Secretary may use such fees and rents for operation, maintenance, repair, or improvement of the Transportation Technology Center.
(g) Leases and Contracts.—
Notwithstanding section 1302 of title 40, the Secretary may lease to others or enter into contracts for terms of up to 20 years, for such consideration and subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary determines to be in the best interests of the Government of the United States, for the operation, maintenance, repair, and improvement of the Transportation Technology Center.
(h) Property and Casualty Loss Insurance.—
The Secretary may allow its lessees and contractors to purchase property and casualty loss insurance for its assets and activities at the Transportation Technology Center to mitigate the lessee’s or contractor’s risk associated with operating a facility.
(i) Energy Projects.—
Notwithstanding section 1341 of title 31, the Secretary may enter into contracts or agreements, or commit to obligations in connection with third-party contracts or agreements, including contingent liability for the purchase of electric power in connection with such contracts or agreements, for terms not to exceed 20 years, to enable the use of the land at the Transportation Technology Center for projects to produce energy from renewable sources.
(j) Rail Research and Development Center of Excellence.—
(1) Center of excellence.—
The Secretary shall award grants to establish and maintain a center of excellence to advance research and development that improves the safety, efficiency, and reliability of passenger and freight rail transportation.
(2) Eligibility.—
An institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)) or a consortium of nonprofit institutions of higher education shall be eligible to receive a grant from the center established pursuant to paragraph (1).
(3) Selection criteria.—In awarding a grant under this subsection, the Secretary shall—
give preference to applicants with strong past performance related to rail research, education, and workforce development activities;
consider the extent to which the applicant would involve public and private sector passenger and freight railroad operators; and
consider the regional and national impacts of the applicant’s proposal.
(4) Use of funds.—
Grant funds awarded pursuant to this subsection shall be used for basic and applied research, evaluation, education, workforce development, and training efforts related to safety, project delivery, efficiency, reliability, resiliency, and sustainability of urban commuter, intercity high-speed, and freight rail transportation, to include advances in rolling stock, advanced positive train control, human factors, rail infrastructure, shared corridors, grade crossing safety, inspection technology, remote sensing, rail systems maintenance, network resiliency, operational reliability, energy efficiency, and other advanced technologies.
(5) Federal share.—
The Federal share of a grant awarded under this subsection shall be 50 percent of the cost of establishing and operating the center of excellence and related research activities carried out by the grant recipient.
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 867; Pub. L. 117–58, div. B, title II, §§ 22412, 22413, Nov. 15, 2021, 135 Stat. 743, 744.)

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


45:431(a) (1st sentence cl. (2)).

Oct. 16, 1970, Pub. L. 91–458, §§ 202(a) (1st sentence cl. (2)), 208(a) (1st sentence words before 3d comma and between 9th–14th commas), 84 Stat. 971, 974.


45:437(a) (1st sentence words before 3d comma and between 9th–14th commas).

45:437(d)(1) (1st sentence).

Oct. 16, 1970, Pub. L. 91–458, 84 Stat. 971, § 208(d)(1) (1st sentence); added Oct. 10, 1980, Pub. L. 96–423, § 6(b), 94 Stat. 1813.


45:444(a) (last sentence).

Oct. 16, 1970, Pub. L. 91–458, 84 Stat. 971, § 214(a) (last sentence); added Oct. 10, 1980, Pub. L. 96–423, § 2, 94 Stat. 1811; Aug. 13, 1981, Pub. L. 97–35, § 1195, 95 Stat. 702; Jan. 14, 1983, Pub. L. 97–468, § 703, 96 Stat. 2580; restated June 22, 1988, Pub. L. 100–342, § 2, 102 Stat. 624; Nov. 5, 1990, Pub. L. 101–508, § 10501(b), 104 Stat. 1388–400; restated Sept. 3, 1992, Pub. L. 102–365, § 12, 106 Stat. 980.

In subsection (b), the words “To carry out this part, the Secretary may” are substituted for “In carrying out his functions under this subchapter, the Secretary is authorized to perform such acts including, but not limited to . . . as he deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this subchapter” and “In carrying out the functions formerly vested in the Interstate Commerce Commission and transferred to the Secretary by section 1655(e)(1), (e)(2), and (e)(6)(A) of title 49, Appendix, the Secretary is authorized to perform any act authorized in subsection (a) of this section that he considers necessary to carry out such transferred functions, including, but not limited to” to eliminate unnecessary words.

Editorial Notes

2021—Subsecs. (d) to (i). Pub. L. 117–58, § 22412, added subsecs. (d) to (i).

Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 117–58, § 22413, added subsec. (j).