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H.R. 5691 - Peaceful Learning Act of 2018

Introduced: 2018-05-07
Bill Status: Referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
 
Summary Not Available

Full Text


115th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 5691


    To direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish a program to provide grants to carry out projects to reduce railway noise levels that adversely impact schools located in urbanized areas, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 7, 2018

    Mr. Crowley introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


A BILL

    To direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish a program to provide grants to carry out projects to reduce railway noise levels that adversely impact schools located in urbanized areas, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Peaceful Learning Act of 2018”.

SEC. 2. Definitions.

(a) In general.—Except as otherwise specifically provided, in this Act the definitions in section 5302 of title 49, United States Code, shall apply.

(b) Additional definitions.—In this Act, the following additional definitions apply:

(1) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY.—The term “local educational agency” has the meaning given that term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).

(2) RAIL OPERATOR.—The term “rail operator” means an owner or operator of a fixed rail public transportation facility.

(3) RAILWAY NOISE.—The term “railway noise” means noise caused by a fixed rail public transportation facility.

(4) SCHOOL.—The term “school” means an elementary school or a secondary school (as those terms are defined in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801)).

SEC. 3. Railway noise study.

(a) In General.—The Secretary of Transportation shall enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on railway noise in the United States.

(b) Contents of Study.—In conducting the study, the National Academy of Sciences shall examine—

(1) the threshold of railway noise at which health begins to be affected;

(2) the effectiveness of noise abatement programs for railway noise on the property of a school;

(3) the impacts of railway noise on schools; and

(4) the noise assessment practices of the Department of Transportation and whether such practices fairly and accurately reflect the burden of noise on communities.

(c) Report.—Not later than 12 months after the date of the agreement entered into under subsection (a), the National Academy of Sciences shall transmit to the Secretary a report on the results of the study. Upon receipt of the report, the Secretary shall transmit a copy of the report to the appropriate committees of Congress.

SEC. 4. Noise measurement and exposure systems.

Not later than 12 months after the date of submission of the report under section 3, in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Government, State, and interstate agencies that the Secretary of Transportation considers appropriate, the Secretary shall by regulation—

(1) establish a single system of measuring railway noise that—

(A) has a highly reliable relationship between projected railway noise exposure and surveyed reactions of individuals to noise; and

(B) is applied uniformly in measuring railway noise near urbanized areas;

(2) establish a single system for determining the exposure of individuals to railway noise in urbanized areas, including noise intensity, duration, frequency, and time of occurrence; and

(3) based on the findings of the report required under section 3, determine minimum standards for railway noise levels on the property of a school located in an urbanized area.

SEC. 5. Noise exposure maps.

(a) Submission and Preparation.—Not later than 12 months after the date of issuance of regulations under section 4, each rail operator shall submit to the Secretary of Transportation a noise exposure map showing any areas of nonconforming railway noise levels (based on the standards developed under section 4) that—

(1) adversely impact a school located in an urbanized area; and

(2) are caused by operations of the rail operator.

(b) Revised Maps.—If a change in the rail operations of rail operator described in subsection (a) establishes a substantial new nonconforming noise level on the property of a school located in an urbanized area, or significantly reduces nonconforming noise levels on the property of such a school, that is not reflected in the noise exposure map, the rail operator shall submit a revised noise exposure map to the Secretary showing the new nonconforming noise levels or noise level reduction.

SEC. 6. Noise compatibility programs.

(a) Program submission.—A rail operator that submitted a noise exposure map under section 5 may submit a noise compatibility program to the Secretary of Transportation after—

(1) consulting with public agencies and planning authorities in the area covered by the map; and

(2) notice and an opportunity for a public hearing.

(b) Contents of program.—A program submitted under subsection (a) shall state the measures the rail operator has taken or proposes to take to reduce existing nonconforming noise levels on the property of a school and prevent creating additional nonconforming noise levels in the area covered by the map. The measures may include constructing barriers or acoustical shielding and soundproofing of schools subject to a nonconforming noise level.

(c) Approvals.—The Secretary shall approve or disapprove a program submitted under subsection (a) of this section not later than 180 days after receiving it. The Secretary shall approve the program if the program—

(1) is reasonably consistent with achieving the goal of reducing nonconforming noise levels on the property of a school and preventing the introduction of additional nonconforming noise levels on the property of a school; and

(2) provides for necessary revisions because of a revised map submitted under section 5.

(d) Grants.—The Secretary may incur obligations to make grants from amounts available under section 8 to carry out a project under a part of a noise compatibility program approved under subsection (c). A grant may be made to a rail operator submitting the program to carry out the program directly or in cooperation with—

(1) a local educational agency of a school that is subject to nonconforming noise levels; or

(2) a unit of local government in the area surrounding the school that has nonconforming noise levels.

(e) Federal share.—The Federal share of a project for which a grant is made under subsection (d) is 80 percent of the cost of the project.

SEC. 7. Nonadmissibility of noise exposure map and related information as evidence.

No part of a noise exposure map or related information described in section 5 that is submitted to, or prepared by, the Secretary of Transportation and no part of a list of land uses the Secretary identifies as normally compatible with various exposures of individuals to noise may be admitted into evidence or used for any other purpose in a civil action asking for relief for noise resulting from the operation of a fixed rail public transportation facility.

SEC. 8. Authorization of appropriations.

There are authorized to be appropriated from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund under section 5338 of title 49, United States Code, such funds as may be necessary to carry out this Act.


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