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RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE ACT
(as amended through 1976)
AN ACT To provide financial assistance for and establishment of a national rail
passenger system, to provide for the modernization of railroad passenger equipment, to authorize the prescribing of minimum standards for railroad passenger service, to amend section 13a of the Interstate Commerce Act, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Rail Passenger Service Act”.
TITLE I-FINDINGS, PURPOSES, AND DEFINITIONS SEC. 101. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSE.
The Congress finds that modern, efficient, intercity railroad passenger service is a necessary part of a balanced transportation system; that the public convenience and necessity require the continuance and improvement of such service to provide fast and comfortable transportation between crowded urban areas and in other areas of the country; that rail passenger service can help to end the congestion on our highways and the overcrowding of airways and airports; that the traveler in America should to the maximum extent feasible have freedom to choose the mode of travel most convenient to his needs; that to achieve these goals requires the designation of a basic national rail passenger system and the establishment of a Rail Passenger Corporation for the purpose of providing modern, efficient, intercity rail passenger service; that Federal financial assistance as well as investment capital from the private sector of the economy is needed for this purpose; and that interim emergency Federal financial assistance to certain railroads may be necessary to permit the orderly transfer of railroad passenger service to a Railroad Passenger Corporation. SEC. 102. DEFINITIONS.
For the purposes of this Act,
(1) “Railroad” means a common carrier by railroad, as defined in section 1(3) of part I of the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended (49 U.S.C. 1(3)) other than the Corporation created by title III of this Act.
(2) "Secretary” means the Secretary of Transportation or his delegate unless the context indicates otherwise.
(3) "Commission” means the Interstate Commerce Commission.
(4) "Basic system” means the system of intercity rail passenger service designated by the Secretary under title II and section 403(a) of this Act.
(5) "Intercity rail passenger service” means all rail passenger service other than commuter and other short-haul service in metropolitan and suburban areas, usually characterized by reduced fare, multiple-ride and commutation tickets, and by morning and evening peak period operations.
(6) "Avoidable loss” means the avoidable costs of providing passenger service, less revenues attributable thereto, as determined by the Interstate Commerce Commission pursuant to the provisions of section 553 of title 5, United States Code.
(7) "Corporation" means the National Railroad Passenger Corporation created under title III of this Act.
(8) “Regional transportation agency' means an authority, corporation, or other entity established for the purpose of providing passenger service within a region.
(9) "Auto-ferry service” means intercity rail passenger service characterized by transportation of automobiles and their occupants.
TITLE II—BASIC NATIONAL RAIL PASSENGER SYSTEM
SEC. 201. DESIGNATION OF SYSTEM.
In carrying out the congressional findings and declaration of purpose set forth in title I of this Act, the Secretary, acting in cooperation with other interested Federal agencies and departments, is authorized and directed to submit to the Commission and to the Congress within 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act his preliminary report and recommendations for the basic system. Such recommendations shall specify those points between which intercity passenger trains shall be operated, identify all routes over which service may be provided, and the trains presently operated over such routes, together with basic service characteristics of operations to be provided within the basic system, taking into account schedules, number of trains, connections, through car service, and sleeping, parlor, dining, and lounge facilities. In recommending the basic system the Secretary shall take into account the need for expeditious intercity rail passenger service within and between all regions of the continental United States, and the Secretary shall consider the need for such service within the States of Alaska and Hawaii and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In formulating such recommendations the Secretary shall consider opportunities for provision of faster service, more convenient service, service to more centers of population, and service at lower cost, by the joint operation, for passenger service, of facilities of two or more railroad companies; the importance of a given service to overall viability of the basic system; adequacy of other transportation facilities serving the same points; unique characteristics and advantages of rail service as compared to other modes of transportation; the relationship of public benefits of given services to the costs of providing such services; and potential profitability of the service. The exclusion of a particular route, train, or service from the basic system shall not be deemed to create a presumption that the route, train, or service is not required by public convenience and necessity in any proceeding under section 13a of the Interstate Commerce Act (49 U.S.C. 13a). SEC. 202. REVIEW OF THE BASIC SYSTEM.
The Commission, the State Commissions, the representatives of the railroads, and labor organizations duly authorized under the Railway Labor Act to represent railroad employees shall, within 30 days after receipt of the preliminary report of the Secretary designating the basic system, review such report consistent with the purposes of this Act and provide the Secretary with their comments and recommendations in writing. The Secretary shall give due consideration to such comments and recommendations. The Secretary shall, within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, submit his final report designating the basic system to the Congress. Such final report shall include a summary of their recommendations together with his reasons for failing to adopt any such recommendation. The basic system as designated by the Secretary shall become effective for the purposes of this Act upon the date that the final report of the Secretary is submitted to Congress and shall not be reviewable in any court.
TITLE III—CREATION OF A RAIL PASSENGER
SEC. 301. CREATION OF THE CORPORATION.
There is authorized to be created a National Railroad Passenger Corporation. The Corporation shall be a for profit corporation, the purpose of which shall be to provide intercity rail passenger service, employing innovative operating and marketing concepts so as to fully develop the potential of modern rail service in meeting the Nation's intercity passenger transportation requirements. The Corporation will not be an agency or establishment of the U.S. Government. It shall be subject to the provisions of this Act and, to the extent consistent with this Act, to the District of Columbia Business Corporation Act. The right to repeal, alter, or amend this Act at any time is expressly reserved. SEC. 302. PROCESS OF ORGANIZATION.
The President of the United States shall appoint not fewer than three incorporators, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall also serve as the board of directors for one hundred and eighty days following the date of enactment of this Act. The incorporators shall take whatever actions are necessary to establish the Corporation, including the filing of articles of incorporation, as approved by the President. SEC. 303. DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS.
(a)(1) The Corporation shall have a board of directors consisting of seventeen individuals who are citizens of the United States selected as follows:
(A) The Secretary of Transportation, ex officio, and the President of the Corporation, ex officio.
(B) Eight members appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve for terms of four years or until their successors have been appointed and qualified, of whom not more than five shall be appointed from the same political party.
(C) Three members elected annually by the common stockholders of the Corporation.
(D) Four members elected annually by the preferred stockholders of the Corporation, which members shall be elected as soon as practicable after the first issuance of preferred stock by the Corporation. (2) Any vacancy in the membership of the board shall be filled in the same manner as in the case of the original selection; except that any member appointed by the President under paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection to fill a vacancy shall be appointed only for the unexpired term of the member he is appointed to succeed.
(3) The board shall elect one of its members annually to serve as Chairman.
(4) Not less than three members appointed by the President shall be designated by him, at the time of their appointment, to serve as consumer representatives, of whom not more than two shall be members of the same political party.
(5) Each member not employed by the Federal Government shall receive compensation at the rate of $300 per diem when engaged in the actual performance of duties. In addition, each member shall be reimbursed for necessary travel, secretarial or professional staff support which is reasonably required and subsistence expenses incurred in attending meetings of the board.
(6) No member elected by railroads shall vote on any action of the board relating to any contract or operating relationship between the Corporation and a railroad, but he may be present at meetings of the board at which such matters are voted upon, and he may be included for purposes of determining a quorum and may participate in discussions at any such meeting. (7) No member appointed by the President may
(A) have any direct or indirect financial or employment relationship with any railroad, nor
(B) have any significant direct or indirect financial relationship, or any direct or indirect employment relationship, with any person engaged in the transportation of passengers in competition with the Corporation, during the time that he serves on the board. (8) Pending the election of the four members by the preferred stockholders of the Corporation under paragraph (1) (D) of this subsection, seven members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting the business of the board.
(9) Any vacancy in the membership of the board of directors required to be filled by appointment by the President under paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection shall be filled by the President not more than one hundred and twenty days after such vacancy occurs.
(b) The board of directors is empowered to adopt and amend bylaws governing the operation of the Corporation. Such bylaws shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act or of the articles of incorporation.
(c) The articles of incorporation of the Corporation shall provide for cumulative voting for all stockholders and shall provide that, upon conversion of one-fourth of the outstanding shares of preferred stock, the common stockholders shall be entitled to elect four directors and the preferred stockholders shall be entitled to elect three directors; upon the conversion of one-half of the outstanding shares of preferred stock, the common stockholders shall be entitled to elect five directors and the preferred stockholders shall be entitled to elect two directors; upon the conversion of three-fourths of the outstanding shares of preferred stock, the common stockholders shall be entitled to elect six directors and the preferred stockholders shall be entitled to elect one director; and upon conversion of all outstanding shares of preferred stock, the common stockholders shall be entitled to elect seven directors. Any change of directors resulting from such stock conversion shall take effect at the next annual meeting of the Corporation following such stock conversion.
(d) The Corporation shall have a president and such other officers as may be named and appointed by the board. The rates of compensation of all officers shall be fixed by the board. No officer of the Corporation shall receive compensation at a rate in excess of that prescribed for level I of the Executive Schedule under section 5312 of title 5, United States Code; except that this limitation upon compensation shall not apply in the case of the president of the Corporation if the board determines with respect to such officer that a higher level of compensation is necessary and is not higher than $85,000 or the general level of compensation paid officers of railroads in positions of comparable responsibility, whichever is lesser. Officers shall serve at the pleasure of the board. No individual other than a citizen of the United States may be an officer of the Corporation. No officer of the Corporation may have any direct or indirect employment or financial relationship with any railroad during the time of his employment by the Corporation. SEC. 304. FINANCING OF THE CORPORATION.
(a) The Corporation is authorized to issue and have outstanding, in such amounts as it shall determine, two issues of capital stock, a common and a preferred, each of which shall carry voting rights and be eligible for dividends. Common stock may be initially issued only to a railroad. Preferred stock may be issued to and held only by any person other than (1) a railroad or (2) any person controlling one or more railroads, as defined in section 1(3)(b) of the Interstate Commerce Act. The articles of incorporation of the Corporation shall provide for the following respective rights of each issue of stock:
(A) COMMON STOCK.-Common stock shall have a par value of $10 per share and shall be designated fully paid and nonassessable. No dividends shall be paid on the common stock whenever dividends on the preferred stock are in arrears.
(B) (i) PREFERRED STOCK.—Preferred stock shall have a par value of $100 per share and shall be designated fully paid and nonassessable. Dividends shall be fixed at a rate not less than 6 per centum per annum, and shall be cumulative so that, if for any dividend period dividends at the rate fixed in the articles of incorporation shall not have been declared and paid or set aside for payment on the preferred shares, the deficiency shall be declared and paid or set apart for payment prior to the making of any dividend or other distribution on the common shares.
(ii) Preferred stock shall be entitled to a liquidation preference over common stock, which shall entitle preferred stockholders to a liquidating payment not less than par value plus all accrued unpaid dividends prior to any payment on liquidation to common stockholders.