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49 U.S. Code § 70205 - National multimodal cooperative freight research program

(a) Establishment.—
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary of Transportation (referred to in this section as the “Secretary”) shall establish and support a national cooperative freight transportation research program.
(b) Administration by National Academy of Sciences.—
(1) In general.—
The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to support and carry out administrative and management activities under the program established under subsection (a).
(2) Advisory committee.—To assist the National Academy of Sciences in carrying out this subsection, the National Academy shall establish an advisory committee, the members of which represent a cross-section of multimodal freight stakeholders, including—
the Department of Transportation and other relevant Federal departments and agencies;
State (including the District of Columbia) departments of transportation;
units of local government, including public port authorities;
nonprofit entities;
institutions of higher education;
labor organizations representing employees in freight industries; and
private sector entities representing various transportation modes.
(c) Activities.—
(1) National research agenda.—
(A) In general.—
The advisory committee established under subsection (b)(2), in consultation with interested parties, shall recommend a national research agenda for the program in accordance with subsection (d), which shall include a multiyear strategic plan.
(B) Action by interested parties.—For purposes of subparagraph (A), an interested party may—
submit to the advisory committee research proposals;
participate in merit reviews of research proposals and peer reviews of research products; and
receive research results.
(2) Research contracts and grants.—
(A) In general.—The National Academy of Sciences may award research contracts and grants under the program established under subsection (a) through—
open competition; and
merit review, conducted on a regular basis.
(B) Evaluation.—
(i) Peer review.—
A contract or grant for research under subparagraph (A) may allow peer review of the research results.
(ii) Programmatic evaluations.—
The National Academy of Sciences may conduct periodic programmatic evaluations on a regular basis of a contract or grant for research under subparagraph (A).
(C) Dissemination of findings.—The National Academy of Sciences shall disseminate the findings of any research conducted under this paragraph to relevant researchers, practitioners, and decisionmakers through—
conferences and seminars;
field demonstrations;
training programs;
testimony to government officials;
publicly accessible websites;
publications for the general public; and
other appropriate means.
(3) Report.—
Not later than 1 year after the date of establishment of the program under subsection (a), and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall make available on a public website a report that describes the ongoing research and findings under the program.
(d) Areas for Research.—The national research agenda under subsection (c)(1) shall consider research in the following areas:
(1) Improving the efficiency and resiliency of freight movement, including—
improving the connections between rural areas and domestic and foreign markets;
maximizing infrastructure utility, including improving urban curb-use efficiency;
quantifying the national impact of blocked railroad crossings;
improved techniques for estimating and quantifying public benefits derived from freight transportation projects; and
low-cost methods to reduce congestion at bottlenecks.
(2) Adapting to future trends in freight, including—
considering the impacts of e-commerce;
automation; and
zero-emissions transportation.
(3) Workforce considerations in freight, including—
diversifying the freight transportation industry workforce; and
creating and transitioning a workforce capable of designing, deploying, and operating emerging technologies.
(e) Federal Share.—
(1) In general.—
The Federal share of the cost of an activity carried out under this section shall be up to 100 percent.
(2) Use of non-federal funds.—
In addition to using funds made available to carry out this section, the National Academy of Sciences may seek and accept additional funding from public and private entities capable of accepting funding from the Department of Transportation, States, units of local government, nonprofit entities, and the private sector.
(f) Authorization of Appropriations.—
There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $3,750,000 for each fiscal year to carry out the program established under subsection (a), to remain available until expended.
(g) Sunset.—
The program established under subsection (a) shall terminate 5 years after the date of enactment of this section.
Editorial Notes
References in Text

The date of enactment of this section, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (g), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 117–58, which was approved Nov. 15, 2021.