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49 U.S. Code § 24910 - Rail cooperative research program

(a) In General.—The Secretary shall establish and carry out a rail cooperative research program. The program shall—
address, among other matters, intercity rail passenger and freight rail services, including existing rail passenger and freight technologies and speeds, incrementally enhanced rail systems and infrastructure, and new high-speed wheel-on-rail systems;
address ways to expand the transportation of international trade traffic by rail, enhance the efficiency of intermodal interchange at ports and other intermodal terminals, and increase capacity and availability of rail service for seasonal freight needs;
consider research on the interconnectedness of commuter rail, passenger rail, freight rail, and other rail networks; and
give consideration to regional concerns regarding rail passenger and freight transportation, including meeting research needs common to designated high-speed corridors, long-distance rail services, and regional intercity rail corridors, projects, and entities.
(b) Content.—The program to be carried out under this section shall include research designed—
to identify the unique aspects and attributes of rail passenger and freight service;
to develop more accurate models for evaluating the impact of rail passenger and freight service, including the effects on highway and airport and airway congestion, environmental quality, and energy consumption;
to develop a better understanding of modal choice as it affects rail passenger and freight transportation, including development of better models to predict utilization;
to recommend priorities for technology demonstration and development;
to meet additional priorities as determined by the advisory board established under subsection (c), including any recommendations made by the National Research Council;
to explore improvements in management, financing, and institutional structures;
to address rail capacity constraints that affect passenger and freight rail service through a wide variety of options, ranging from operating improvements to dedicated new infrastructure, taking into account the impact of such options on operations;
to improve maintenance, operations, customer service, or other aspects of intercity rail passenger and freight service;
to recommend objective methodologies for determining intercity passenger rail routes and services, including the establishment of new routes, the elimination of existing routes, and the contraction or expansion of services or frequencies over such routes;
to review the impact of equipment and operational safety standards on the further development of high-speed passenger rail operations connected to or integrated with non-high-speed freight or passenger rail operations;
to recommend any legislative or regulatory changes necessary to foster further development and implementation of high-speed passenger rail operations while ensuring the safety of such operations that are connected to or integrated with non-high-speed freight or passenger rail operations;
to review rail crossing safety improvements, including improvements using new safety technology;
to review and develop technology designed to reduce train horn noise and its effect on communities, including broadband horn technology; and
to improve overall safety of intercity passenger and freight rail operations.
(c) Advisory Board.—
(1) Establishment.—
In consultation with the heads of appropriate Federal departments and agencies, the Secretary shall establish an advisory board to recommend research, technology, and technology transfer activities related to rail passenger and freight transportation.
(2) Membership.—The advisory board shall include—
representatives of State transportation agencies;
transportation and environmental economists, scientists, and engineers; and
representatives of Amtrak, the Alaska Railroad, freight railroads, transit operating agencies, intercity rail passenger agencies, railway labor organizations, and environmental organizations.
(3) Sunset.—
The advisory board established under this subsection ceases to exist effective January 1, 2019.
(d) National Academy of Sciences.—
The Secretary may make grants to, and enter into cooperative agreements with, the National Academy of Sciences to carry out such activities relating to the research, technology, and technology transfer activities described in subsection (b) as the Secretary deems appropriate.
(e) Authorization of Appropriations.—
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Transportation $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2013 for carrying out this section.
Editorial Notes

2019—Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 115–420 added par. (3).

2015—Subsec. (b)(14). Pub. L. 114–94 added par. (14).

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 2015 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 114–94 effective Oct. 1, 2015, see section 1003 of Pub. L. 114–94, set out as a note under section 5313 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.