Mr. PETRI. Mr. Speaker, today, along with Representative Lipinski, I am introducing legislation to stimulate the financing of passenger rail development from revenues generated from transportation oriented development.
The National High Performance Passenger Rail Transportation Oriented Development Act aims to capture some of the increasing value of commercial development around station areas, which in turn would help finance rail corridor infrastructure and operational expenses. Besides providing a funding stream for intercity and passenger operations, the initiative places emphasis on intermodal connectors to create vibrant communities along the corridor. The legislation aims to begin a major public private partnership initiative that will revitalize America's rail infrastructure to create a true third passenger transportation option to highways and aviation while at the same time creating intermodal access communities.
Under the proposal, the U.S. Department of Transportation will retain a Planning Developer who will establish guidelines for transportation oriented development programs, including special assessment districts or similar mechanisms to capture revenues from increasing commercial value. Rail corridor development funds will be established at the regional level to capture increasing real estate values. A stream of those revenues will be directed to support rail passenger operations.
The proposal permits qualified projects to apply for federal incentives to finance construction and produce jobs. These incentives will include direct access to existing Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration programs, including a high priority for federal transportation grant applications. The initiative will be staffed by existing employees and remain revenue neutral in that all program activities, including the work of the Planning Developer, will be repaid once the high performance rail service and commercial development is implemented and generating revenues.
I hope that this bill will open a discussion on the possibilities and potential promise of passenger rail development in the U.S.