Legislative Summary: Transportation


Canadian Vessels — Alaska 
S. 707 — Public Law 87-77, approved June 30, 1961 
This bill permits Canadian vessels to provide passenger service between ports in southeastern Alaska, and passenger and freight service between Hyder, Alaska, and other points in southeastern Alaska and in the United States outside Alaska, either directly or via a foreign port, until such time as the Secretary of Commerce determines that U.S.flag service is available to provide the necessary transportation. 

Federal Aid Highway Act, 1961  
H.R. 6713 — Public Law 87-61, approved June 29, 1961 
The Senate adopted the conference report on the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1961, which is primarily a revised authorization and refinancing plan for the completion of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. The 13 year program, authorized in 1956, was originally estimated to cost the Federal Government, in matching funds, approximately $25 billion. This figure, in the 1961 estimate, has been increased to $37 billion, which is a $11.56 billion increase. The total cost will be $41 billion, of which $37 billion is the Federal Government's share for the Interstate System.

Upon completion, the Interstate System will be comprised of 41,000 miles of roads. To date, 10,408 miles have been completed, and some form of work is underway on a total of 25,383 miles, or about 62 percent of the total system.

This measure permits a State or political subdivision to use or permit the use of the airspace above and below the highway, not only for parking, but for other purposes as well, provided such use will not impair the full use and safety of the highway or otherwise interfere with the free flow of traffic on the Interstate System.

It also continues for another 2 years (July 1, 1963) the authority for "incentive" bonus to States which enter into agreements to control billboards on the Interstate System (one-half of 1 percent).

A new feature is to authorize the use of defense access road funds to repair highways damaged by military equipment in constructing defense installations. This provision applies to damage caused by construction work begun before June 1, 1961, and still in progress on that date, and to damage caused by construction commenced or for which a contract is awarded on or after June 1, 1961.

The 1960 act authorized $925 million for each of fiscal years 1962 and 1963 for primary, secondary, and urban (ABC) roads. This phase was not changed in this bill. To help finance the highway program, we have— 

Continued gasoline and diesel fuel taxes at 4 cents a gallon through October 1, 1972. Increased taxes (through October 1, 1972) on

Trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds from $1.50 to $3 per 1,000;
Inner tubes from 9 cents to 10 cents a pound; 
Highway tires from 8 cents to 10 cents a pound; 
Tread rubber from 3 cents to 5 cents a pound. 

Authorized truckowners to pay the Federal user tax in four quarterly installments, and made numerous technical and other changes.

Requested the Treasury Department to make a scientific study to obtain data on the percentage of gasoline purchased by retail dealers which is lost by shrinkage or evaporation and to make a report before January 1, 1962.

Provided for a 1 year deferral of the diversion of the remaining one-half—  5 percentage points—  of the Federal excise tax on trucks, buses, and trailers from the general funds of the Treasury to the highway trust fund. 

Mass Transit Program 
S. 1922 — Public Law 87-70, approved June 30, 1961 
Authorized a new $75 million program to help overcome commuting problems in cities—  $25 million is authorized for demonstration grants (covering up to twothirds of project cost) for projects to explore ways of overcoming mass transit problems; $50 million is authorized for low-interest rate loans to public bodies for acquiring, constructing, and improving transportation facilities and equipment. 


Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962 
H.R. 12135 — Public Law 87-866, approved October 23, 1962 
Authorized a total of $2.3 billion for fiscal years 1963-65 to continue the Federal-aid highway program for the regular system; for additional amounts for roads on Federal lands; for completion of the Rama Road in Nicaragua and the Inter-American Highway in Central America and Panama; and for relocation payments for families and businesses displaced by acquisition or clearance of rights-of-way for Federal-aid highways.

It also authorizes relocation payments for families and businesses displaced by acquisition or clearance of rights-of-way for any Federal-aid highway.

Authorizes a new category of public lands development roads and trails for important roads on the public domain.

Permits use of secondary highway funds for roads on that system located in urban areas.

Promotes cooperative transportation planning in certain urban areas by Federal, State, and local authorities.

Permits use of additional Federal-aid funds for highway planning and research. 


Comparison with existing authorizations  [millions of dollars]

Type of roads    

Existing law 

H.R. 12135, as enacted  


 Fiscal year 1962

Fiscal year 1963 

 Fiscal year 1963

Fiscal year 1964

Fiscal year 1965

Federal-aid systems






    Forest highways






    Forest development roads and trails






    Public lands development roads and trails






    Park roads and trails












    Indian reservation roads






    Public lands and highways






    Rama Road






    Inter-American Highway















Alaska Railroad 
S. 622 — Passed Senate June 24; House calendar 
This bill gives congressional sanction to the methods of operating the Alaska Railroad which have been in effect by administrative discretion since shortly after the railroad was established in 1914. It allows the railroad to continue operations characteristic of private enterprise by vesting in the President the authority to set wages, establish rules and performance rating, and bargain collectively with chosen representatives of the employees without regard to the Civil Service Act or the Veterans' Preference Act.

The Veterans' Preference Act will continue to be observed in all cases in the initial employment of personnel by the railroad. 

Coast Guard Authorization 
H.R. 79 — Public Law 88-45, approved June 21, 1963 
This bill provides that, after appropriations for fiscal year 1964 are completed, funds may not be appropriated for the use of the Coast Guard for construction of shore or offshore establishments, or for procurement of vessels or aircraft, unless the appropriation has been authorized by legislation enacted after December 31, 1963.

The bill also gives the Secretary of the Treasury authority to use funds appropriated to the Coast Guard for construction purposes to replace facilities that have been damaged or destroyed. In addition such funds can be used to construct needed public works costing not more than $200,000 for any one project. 

Collisions at Sea —  Prevention 
H.R. 6012 — Public Law 88-131, approved September 24, 1963 
Authorizes the President to accept, on behalf of the United States, regulations formulated at the Fourth International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, held in London, May 17 to June 17, 1960, and to proclaim an effective date for the regulations consistent with that established by the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization.

Requires the regulations to be published in the Federal Register, and after the date specified in the President's proclamation, that they have effect and be followed by all public and private vessels of the United States and by all aircraft of U.S. registry to the extent made applicable.

The regulations will not apply to the harbors, rivers, and other inland waters of the United States nor to the Great Lakes and their connecting and tributary waters as far east as the lower exit of the St. Lambert lock at Montreal; nor to the Red River of the north and the rivers emptying into the Gulf of Mexico and their tributaries; nor to aircraft in any territorial waters of the United States.

Provides that requirements of regulations relating to number, position, range of visibility, or arc of visibility of lights to be displayed by vessels will not apply to vessels of the Navy or the Coast Guard, whenever the Secretary of the Navy or of the Treasury certify that it is impossible for a particular vessel to comply with the regulations. In such a case, the vessel is required to conform as closely to the applicable regulations as is feasible. 

Dual Rate Contracts 
S. 1035 — Public Law 88-5 approved April 3, 1963  
Extends to April 3, 1964, the provision of law which requires the Federal Maritime Commission to approve, disapprove, cancel, or modify existing dual rate contracts in use in U.S. waterborne foreign commerce.

Public Law 346 enacted in 1961 authorized foreign commerce carriers to enter into "effective and fair" dual rate contracts but set up specific standards which these contracts must meet.

This bill merely extends the Commission's time to make certain these contracts do or do not comply with the 

Emergency Transportation 
H.R. 2906 — Public Law 88-208, approved December 17, 1963 
Exempts from ICC regulations emergency towing or transportation in interstate commerce of any wrecked or disabled motor vehicle.

The purpose is to enable garaged, service stations, and similar establishments to tow motor vehicles away from a wreck or from a highway without obtaining operating authority from the Commission if some accidental disability has prevented the vehicle from being moved under its own power. 

Federal-Aid Highway Act Amendments of 1963  
H.R. 7195 — Public Law 88-157, approved October 24, 1963 
Apportions through 1971 funds for completion of Interstate and Defense Highway System; fixes January 1965 as cost estimate deadline; raises Federal payments for construction engineering; and continues the billboard control program for 2 years.

The above is accomplished by amending various sections of title 23 of the United States Code relating to the Federal-aid highway systems. These amendments are:

A minor change in the apportionment formula of urban funds in the States of Connecticut and Vermont.

A change in dates for submission of new cost estimates for completing the Interstate System to the Congress by the Secretary of Commerce, and to provide a change in the formula of apportionment of interstate funds authorized for fiscal years 1967 through 1971, so that the apportionment will be based on estimates of the Federal share, rather than the total cost, of completing the designated Interstate System.

Eliminates the 1975 interstate design date in the Highway Act of 1956 and substitutes the requirement that each project be constructed according to design standards that will enable it to accommodate the types and volumes of traffic anticipated 20 years from the period of construction.

Extends of July 1, 1965, the cutoff date prior to which a State may enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Commerce on the control of outdoor advertising.

Provides for research and development in connection with planning, design, construction, and maintenance of highways and highway systems.

Provides for an increase, at the discretion of the Secretary of Commerce, in the limitation on payments for construction engineering from 10 to 15 percent of the total estimated cost of a project financed with Federal-aid primary, secondary, or urban funds. 

Fishing Vessel Construction  
S. 1006 — Passed Senate October 2; pending in House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee 
This bill extends to June 30, 1968, the construction differential subsidy program for fishing vessels which expired on June 12, 1963.

It increases the subsidy from 33 1/3 to 55 percent for vessel construction in domestic shipyards.

Authorizes an annual appropriation of not more than $10 million to carry out its purposes. 

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway 
S. 530 — Passed Senate June 25; House Calendar  
Authorized a complete investigation to determine if there is means and economic justification for providing year-round navigation on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway by eliminating ice conditions.

The final report and recommendations for legislation are to be submitted within 2 years after funds are made available for the study. 

Inland Waterways Corporation Act — Repealed 
S. 1031 — Public Law 88-67, approved July 19, 1963 
Repealed the Inland Waterways Corporation Act and provided for liquidation of the affairs of the Corporation.

The Inland Waterways Corporation Act of June 3, 1924, was enacted in order to foster the development and use of domestic waterways through Government operation of transportation facilities. That act provided for the continued existence of the Corporation under the direction of the Secretary of Commerce until certain specific criteria were fulfilled. These criteria having been generally met, the Secretary of Commerce, under authority of the act, sold the transportation facilities and operating rights of the Inland Waterways Corporation to the Federal Waterways Corporation under contract of July 24, 1953. The Federal Waterways Corporation later changed its name to the Federal Barge Lines, Inc.

Under the terms of the sales contract, the Federal Barge Lines was required to provide common carrier services similar to those rendered by the Corporation.

This bill relieves the Federal Barge Lines from the service requirements of the contract of sale, thus placing it in the same position as to service requirements as other competing bargelines. 

Marine Terminal Leases 
S. 2317 — Passed Senate December 13, 1963; pending in House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee 
Amends the Shipping Act of 1916 to exempt from civil penalties of up to $1,000, leases, licenses, assignments, or other agreements of similar character for the use of marine terminal property or facilities entered into prior to enactment of this bill. However, agreements for the use of terminal facilities that continue in effect beyond the date of enactment will be required to be filed within 90 days with the Federal Maritime Commission in order to be within the amnesty provided by this bill. 

Merchant Marine Nurses 
H.R. 5781 — Public Law 88-128, approved September 23, 1963 
Provides that professional nurses serving aboard vessels of the U.S. merchant marines will be registered as staff officers instead of being classed with the staff officer group of surgeons and pursers.

In addition the bill provides that applicants for registry for surgeon or professional nurse must possess a valid license as physician and surgeon or registered nurse issued under authority of a State or territory of the United States, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia. 

Mount Hope Bay 
S. 1936 — Public Law 88-144, approved October 16, 1963 
Authorizes the State of Rhode Island or the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to maintain repair and operate the Mount Hope Bridge. This bridge was completed in October of 1929 at a cost of $3.9 million and has been in operation as a toll facility since that time.

This bill amends the Mount Hope Bridge Act by deleting the requirement that if the bridge is taken over by any municipality or other political subdivision and if tolls are charged, the rates of tolls must be adjusted to provide a sinking fund sufficient to amortize the amount paid for the bridge and its approaches within 25 years from the date of acquisition. Thus this bill provides that if and when title to the bridge becomes vested in the State of Rhode Island or the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, the maintenance, repair, and operation of the bridge will be governed by the laws of the State of Rhode Island subject to the terms and conditions of the act of March 23, 1906. This action will permit the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to continue the existing tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge at the present moderate rate. 

National Emergency Transfers 
S. 583 — Passed Senate May 28; pending in House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee 
Makes the present provisions for transferring in a national emergency the personnel and equipment of the Coast and Geodetic Survey to the Army and Navy equally applicable to the Air Force. 

National Highways — Cost Estimates 
S. 1416 — Passed Senate June 24; pending in House Public Works Committee 
Changes the date from January 1966 to January 1965 on which estimated costs for completing the Interstate System must be transmitted to Congress to be used as a basis for apportioning funds for fiscal years 196769, and provides for apportioning funds for fiscal years 1970 and 1971.

Present law requires submission of cost estimates to Congress within 10 days after January 2, 1966, and annually thereafter. Yet, section 104(e) of the same law requires the Secretary of Commerce to certify to each of the State highway departments the sums apportioned for the fiscal years 1967, 1968, and 1969, on or before January 1, 1966, 1967, and 1968, respectively. Thus, the Secretary of Commerce cannot comply with the law as presently stated.

This bill changes the date of submitting the estimated costs from within 10 days after January 2, 1966, to within 10 days after January 2, 1965, and also provides for apportioning funds for fiscal years 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1970 on the basis of the estimate submitted in January 1965, rather than on the basis of annual estimates submitted thereafter.

The bill further provides for a final cost estimate to be submitted in January 1969, to serve as the basis for apportionment of funds for fiscal year 1971, which would constitute the final apportionment of interstate funds authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1961.

Finally, it provides for apportionment of interstate funds for fiscal years 1967 through 1971 based on estimates of the Federal share instead of the total cost, including the State's share, to complete the designated system. 

River and Harbor Act — Amendment 
S. 1523 — Public Law 88-172, approved November 17, 1963  
Abolished the Beach Erosion Board established under the River and Harbor Act of 1930, and established a Coastal Engineering Research Center to conduct research relating to coastal engineering and near shore oceanography.

The purpose of the bill is to consolidate review of all Corps of Engineers water resources projects in one board and to provide that coastal engineering research be placed in the same organizational pattern as other civil functions research. It abolishes the Beach Erosion Board and provides for establishment in its stead, under the Chief of Engineers, of a Coastal Engineering Research Center. It transfers to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors all those functions of the Beach Erosion Board pertaining to review of reports of investigations made concerning erosion of the shores of coastal and lake waters and the protection of such shores. All other functions of the Beach Erosion Board would be vested in the proposed Research Center. 

Seat Belts  
H.R. 134 — Public Law 88-201, approved December 13, 1963 
Provides for the establishment of minimum Federal safety standards for automobile seat belts sold or shipped in interstate commerce.

Requires the Secretary of Commerce to prescribe and publish minimum safety standards for seat belts manufactured for sale or offered for sale in interstate commerce. Makes unlawful the sale of offering for sale, interstate commerce, of the introduction, delivery for introduction or transportation, in interstate commerce, of any seat belt manufactured after the effective date of this provision which does not meet the standards prescribed by the Secretary. Violations, if done knowingly and willfully, will be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for 1 year, or both. 

Shipowners — U.S. Contracts 
S. 1172 — Public Law 88-225, approved December 23, 1963  
This bill provides that refunds of construction-differential subsidies of vessels made after December 31, 1959, will be computed on the undepreciated amount of subsidy divided by the years of life of the vessel. 

State Highway Association  
House Concurrent Resolution 179 — Passed Senate August 28, 1963; passed House July 15, 1963  
Expresses congressional appreciation for the service given by the American Association of State Highway Officials for 50 years' service in developing and operating a nationwide highway transportation system.

It also provides that two Members of the Senate, to be appointed by the President of the Senate, and two Members of the House, to be appointed by the Speaker, be designated as a special committee of the Congress to deliver a copy of the resolution to the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Association of State Highway Officials to be held in Atlanta, Ga., the city of its origin, in December of 1964. 

Transportation of Lumber to Puerto Rico 
S. 2100 — Passed Senate December 6; pending in House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee 
Continues for 2 years, to October 24, 1965, the current temporary authority of the Secretary of Commerce to suspend provisions of section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act, relating to transportation of lumber to Puerto Rico from any ports or terminal areas in the United States whenever he determines there is no domestic vessel reasonably available to serve such ports or terminal areas. 

Urban Mass Transit Act 
S. 6 — Passed Senate April 4; H.R. 3881 House Calendar  
Authorized a continuing, matching grant mass transit program, administered by the Housing and Home Finance Agency with an initial 3 year authorization of $375 million to State and local governments ($75 million for fiscal year 1964 and $150 million each for fiscal years 1965 and 1966).

Major provisions: 
Provides that aid, under the $375 million 3 year mass transit program, can be used for construction , acquisition, and improvements of mass transit services; for facilities and equipment (including land but not public highways) if the recipient developed a program for a coordinated mass transit system as part of a comprehensively planned development of the urban area. Defines urban area as any area that includes a municipality or other built-up place which is appropriate, in the judgment of the HHFA Administrator, for a public transit system to serve commuters.

Authorizes a $375 million guaranteed bond program. However, to be eligible for guarantee under this act, revenue bonds must:

Expressly state that the issuer has waived the tax-exempt status of such bonds from the provisions of Federal income tax law;

Be issued to secure funds for a mass transit program approved by the Administrator and, at least 25 percent of the cost of the program shall be by bonds or securities not guaranteed under this act;

Bear interest at an average interest rate approved by the Administrator and must mature within 50 years;

Be determined by the Administrator to be of sound value or so secured as reasonably to assure the punctual payment of principal and interest on the date or dates such payments are due and payable; and

Be issued under a trust indenture duly entered into between the State, local public body, or agency and a corporate trustee approved by the Administrator.

Requires that applicants for a grant, loan, or bond guarantee must be other than a private company, but permits transportation facilities to be operated either by a State or local government agency or by a private firm under public authority. Requires the applicant to retain satisfactory continuing control over the use of the facilities and equipment through operation, lease, or otherwise.

Bars Federal aid until a State, local public body, or agency have afforded the company feasible relief compatible with their own fiscal responsibilities, such as tax relief.

Bars use of Federal aid to purchase a private transit company unless it was bankrupt or is supplementary to service provided by an existing publicly owned or operated system.

Limits the Federal share of each project grant to two-thirds of the net project cost and requires that the remainder be provided by the State, local public body, or agency from other than Federal funds.

Authorizes HHFA Administrator to refuse assistance to an area under any law under his jurisdiction if a transit company receiving assistance changed its fares and made the project economically unsound—  i.e., aid is barred until the company revises its fares to the Administrator's satisfaction.

Authorizes an emergency grant program to July 1, 1966, from the $375 million, on a 50-50 matching basis where an urgent need is demonstrated to preserve or provide mass transit facilities. Under this emergency program, complete plans are not required for assistance to be granted, but if they are complete within 3 years Federal aid can be increased to the full two-thirds share.

Allocates up to $30 million over a 3 year period for research, development, and demonstration programs (from the initial $375 million authorization). Continued the existing $25 million demonstration grant program under the 1961 Housing Act.

Extends for an indefinite period the existing $50 million mass transit loan program (present program to expire June 30, 1963). Loans would be authorized for projects where private loans cannot be obtained on reasonable terms if such loans would make effective mass transportation possible without grant assistance.

Authorizes relocation expense payments up to $200 to families, and up to $3,000 for business and nonprofit organizations displaced by mass transit projects as a prerequisite for financial assistance.

As a condition of aid, the act requires fair and equitable arrangements must be made to protect the interests of affected transit workers. Such protective arrangements to include, without being limited to: (1) preservation of rights, privileges, and benefits for employees and beneficiaries; (2) continuation of collective bargaining where it now exists; (3) protection of individual employees against a worsening of their positions at least equivalent to those in transportation industries subject to Federal regulations; (4) job assurances to employees of acquired mass transit systems; and (5) paid training or retraining programs

Requires the Administrator, in approving grants and loans, to take into consideration whether facilities and equipment will be designed or equipped to prevent and control air pollution in accordance with criteria established by the Secretary of HEW. 

Vessel Construction Contracts  
H.R. 82 — Passed Senate amended December 4, 1963 
Amends section 502(f) of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 to provide that whenever a vessel construction contract under the subsidy program is allocated by the Secretary of Commerce to a non-low- bid shipyard for the purpose of maintaining a strategic shipyard facility, the Government will reimburse the vessel owner for the extra expenses for inspection and supervision of the vessel during construction and for the delivery voyage.

In the event a savings is made by a vessel owner as the result of allocation of his vessel construction contract, the bill requires him to pay to the Secretary of Commerce an amount equal to the savings.

This act will apply to any contract entered into under the provisions of section 502(f) and the Secretary must, with the consent of the other parties, appropriately modify any contract entered into prior to the date of enactment.

Future costs which may be incurred by the Government as a result of this bill are dependent on the extent to which the Government uses its discretionary power to allocate the construction of ships for national defense reasons. However the bill bars payment of interest on any authorized refund. 

War Risk Insurance 
S. 927 — Passed Senate December 5; pending in House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee 
Permits U.S. citizen-owners of vessels built in U.S. shipyards with construction subsidies to obtain war risk insurancecoverage by eliminating provision of existing law requiring vessel valuation reductions in the cases of vessels constructed under Government subsidies.