S.797 - Railroad Infrastructure Financing Improvement Act

[congressional bills 114th congress]
[from the u.s. government printing office]
[s. 797 introduced in senate (is)]

114th congress
  1st session
                                 s. 797

to amend the railroad revitalization and regulatory reform act of 1976, 
                        and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   in the senate of the united states

                             march 19, 2015

  mr. booker introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
   referred to the committee on commerce, science, and transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 a bill


 
to amend the railroad revitalization and regulatory reform act of 1976, 
                        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; references.

    (a) short title.--this act may be cited as the ``railroad 
infrastructure financing improvement act''.
    (b) references to the railroad revitalization and regulatory reform 
act of 1976.--except as otherwise expressly provided, wherever in this 
act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or 
repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be 
considered to be made to a section or other provision of the railroad 
revitalization and regulatory reform act of 1976 (45 u.s.c. 801 et 
seq.).

sec. 2. definitions.

    section 501 (45 u.s.c. 821) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraph (8) as paragraph (10);
            (2) by redesignating paragraphs (6) and (7) as paragraphs 
        (7) and (8), respectively;
            (3) by inserting after paragraph (5) the following:
            ``(6) the term `investment-grade rating' means a rating of 
        bbb minus, baa 3, bbb minus, bbb(low), or higher assigned by a 
        rating agency.'';
            (4) by inserting after paragraph (8), as redesignated, the 
        following:
            ``(9) the term `master credit agreement' means an agreement 
        to make 1 or more direct loans or loan guarantees at future 
        dates for a program of related projects secured by a common 
        security pledge on terms acceptable to the secretary.''; and
            (5) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(11) the term `project obligation' means as note, bond, 
        debenture, or other debt obligation issued by a borrower in 
        connection with the financing of a project, other than a direct 
        loan or loan guarantee under this title.
            ``(12) the term `railroad' has the meaning given the term 
        `railroad carrier' in section 20102 of title 49, united states 
        code.
            ``(13) the term `rating agency' means a credit rating 
        agency registered with the securities and exchange commission 
        as a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (as 
        defined in section 3(a) of the securities exchange act of 1934 
        (15 u.s.c. 78c(a))).
            ``(14) the term `substantial completion' means--
                    ``(a) the opening of a project to passenger or 
                freight traffic; or
                    ``(b) a comparable event, as determined by the 
                secretary and specified in the direct loan.''.

sec. 3. eligible applicants.

    section 502(a) (45 u.s.c. 822(a)) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (5), by striking ``one railroad; and'' and 
        inserting ``1 of the entities described in paragraph (1), (2), 
        (3), (4), or (6);'';
            (2) by amending paragraph (6) to read as follows:
            ``(6) solely for the purpose of constructing a rail 
        connection between a plant or facility and a rail carrier, 
        limited option freight shippers that own or operate a plant or 
        other facility; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(7) any obligor, as designated by an entity otherwise 
        eligible to receive a direct loan or loan guarantee under this 
        section, including a special purpose entity receiving user fees 
        or other payments or revenues from dedicated sources for debt 
        service and maintenance of the equipment or facilities to be 
        acquired or improved; and
            ``(8) solely for a project described in subsection 
        (b)(1)(d), a public-private partnership, private entity, or 
        consortium that specializes in real estate development.''.

sec. 4. eligible purposes.

    section 502(b)(1) (45 u.s.c. 822(b)(1)) is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (a), by inserting ``, and including 
        costs related to these activities and excluding operating 
        expenses'' after ``shops'';
            (2) in subparagraph (b), by striking ``subparagraph (a); 
        or'' and inserting ``subparagraph (a) or (c);'';
            (3) in subparagraph (c), by striking the period at the end 
        and inserting ``; or''; and
            (4) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(d) finance economic development, including 
                commercial and residential development, and related 
                infrastructure and activities, that--
                            ``(i) incorporates private investment;
                            ``(ii) is physically or functionally 
                        related to a passenger rail station or 
                        multimodal station; and
                            ``(iii) is likely to increase ridership at 
                        that station.''.

sec. 5. program administration.

    (a) application processing procedures.--section 502(i) (45 u.s.c. 
822(i)) is amended to read as follows:
    ``(i) application processing procedures.--
            ``(1) application status notices.--not later than 30 days 
        after the date that the secretary receives an application under 
        this section, the secretary shall provide the applicant written 
        notice as to whether the application is complete or incomplete.
            ``(2) incomplete applications.--if the secretary determines 
        that an application is incomplete, the secretary shall--
                    ``(a) provide the applicant with a description of 
                all of the specific information or material that is 
                needed to complete the application; and
                    ``(b) allow the applicant to resubmit the 
                information and material described under subparagraph 
                (a) to complete the application without prejudice.
            ``(3) application approvals and disapprovals.--not later 
        than 60 days after the date the secretary notifies an applicant 
        that an application is complete under paragraph (1), the 
        secretary shall provide the applicant written notice as to 
        whether the secretary has approved or disapproved the 
        application.
            ``(4) expedited processing.--the secretary shall implement 
        procedures and measures to economize the time and cost involved 
        in obtaining an approval or a disapproval of credit assistance 
        under this title.''.
    (b) administration of direct loans and loan guarantees.--section 
503 (45 u.s.c. 823) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a), by striking the period at the end 
        and inserting ``, including a program guide and standard term 
        sheet, application deadlines, and specific timetables.'';
            (2) by redesignating subsections (c) through (l) as 
        subsections (d) through (m), respectively;
            (3) by striking ``(b) assignment of loan guarantees.--'' 
        and inserting ``(c) assignment of loan guarantees.--'';
            (4) in subsection (d), as redesignated--
                    (a) in paragraph (1), by striking ``; and'' and 
                inserting a semicolon;
                    (b) in paragraph (2), by striking the period at the 
                end and inserting ``; and''; and
                    (c) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(3) the modification cost has been covered under section 
        502(f).''; and
            (5) by amending subsection (l), as redesignated, to read as 
        follows:
    ``(l) charges.--
            ``(1) purposes.--the secretary may collect from each 
        applicant a reasonable charge for--
                    ``(a) the cost of evaluating the application, 
                amendments, modifications, and waivers, including 
                appraisal of the value of the equipment or facilities 
                for which the direct loan or loan guarantee is sought, 
                and for making necessary determinations and findings;
                    ``(b) the cost of award management and project 
                management oversight;
                    ``(c) the cost of services from expert firms, 
                including counsel, in the field of railroad, municipal, 
                and project finance, to assist in the underwriting, 
                auditing, servicing, and exercise of rights with 
                respect to direct loans and loan guarantees; and
                    ``(d) the cost of all other expenses incurred as a 
                result of a breach of any term or condition or any 
                event of default on a direct loan or loan guarantee.
            ``(2) standards.--the secretary shall prescribe standards 
        for applying a charge under this subsection to ensure that it 
        does not prevent an applicant from having adequate access to 
        direct loans and loan guarantees under this title.
            ``(3) safety and operations account.--amounts collected 
        under this subsection shall be credited directly to the safety 
        and operations account of the federal railroad administration, 
        and shall remain available until expended to pay for the costs 
        described in this subsection.''.

sec. 6. loan terms and repayment.

    (a) prerequisites for assistance.--section 502(g)(1) (45 u.s.c. 
822(g)(1)) is amended by striking ``35 years from the date of its 
execution'' and inserting ``the lesser of 50 years or 90 percent of the 
estimated useful life of the rail equipment or facilities to be 
acquired, rehabilitated, improved, developed, or established''.
    (b) repayment schedules.--section 502(j) (45 u.s.c. 822(j)) is 
amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``the sixth anniversary 
        date of the original loan disbursement'' and inserting ``5 
        years after the date of substantial completion''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(3) deferred payments.--
                    ``(a) in general.--if at any time after the date of 
                substantial completion the project is unable to 
                generate sufficient revenues to pay the scheduled loan 
                repayments of principal and interest on the direct 
                loan, the secretary, subject to subparagraph (b), may 
                allow the obligor to add unpaid principal and interest 
                to the outstanding balance of the direct loan.
                    ``(b) interest.--a payment deferred under 
                subparagraph (a) shall--
                            ``(i) continue to accrue interest under 
                        paragraph (2) until the loan is fully repaid; 
                        and
                            ``(ii) be scheduled to be amortized over 
                        the remaining term of the loan.
            ``(4) prepayments.--
                    ``(a) use of excess revenues.--any excess revenues 
                that remain after satisfying scheduled debt service 
                requirements on the project obligations and direct loan 
                and all deposit requirements under the terms of any 
                trust agreement, bond resolution, or similar agreement 
                securing project obligations may be applied annually to 
                prepay the direct loan without penalty.
                    ``(b) use of proceeds of refinancing.--the direct 
                loan may be prepaid at any time without penalty from 
                the proceeds of refinancing from non-federal funding 
                sources.''.

sec. 7. credit risk premiums.

    section 502(f) (45 u.s.c. 822(f)) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1), by amending the first sentence to 
        read as follows: ``in lieu of or in combination with 
        appropriations of budget authority to cover the costs of direct 
        loans and loan guarantees as required under section 504(b)(1) 
        of the federal credit reform act of 1990 (2 u.s.c. 661c(b)(1)), 
        including the cost of a modification thereof, the secretary may 
        accept on behalf of an applicant for assistance under this 
        section a commitment from a non-federal source, including a 
        state or local government or agency thereof, to fund in whole 
        or in part credit risk premiums and modification costs with 
        respect to the loan that is the subject of the application or 
        modification.'';
            (2) in paragraph (2)--
                    (a) in subparagraph (d), by adding ``and'' after 
                the semicolon;
                    (b) by striking subparagraph (e); and
                    (c) by redesignating subparagraph (f) as 
                subparagraph (e);
            (3) by striking paragraph (4);
            (4) by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (4);
            (5) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:
            ``(3) creditworthiness.--an applicant may propose and the 
        secretary may accept as a basis for determining the amount of 
        the credit risk premium under paragraph (2) any of the 
        following in lieu of the value of any tangible asset as 
        collateral under paragraph (2)(a):
                    ``(a) a rate covenant, if applicable.
                    ``(b) adequate coverage requirements to ensure 
                repayment, on a non-recourse basis, from cash flows 
                generated by the project or any other dedicated revenue 
                source, including--
                            ``(i) tolls;
                            ``(ii) user fees; or
                            ``(iii) payments owing to the obligor under 
                        a public-private partnership.
                    ``(c) an investment-grade rating on debt senior to 
                the direct loan or loan guarantee.
                    ``(d) a rating on the direct loan or loan 
                guarantee, as applicable.'';
            (6) in paragraph (4), as redesignated, by striking 
        ``amounts'' and inserting ``amounts (and in the case of a 
        modification, before the modification is executed), to the 
        extent appropriations are not available to the secretary to 
        meet the costs of direct loans and loan guarantees, including 
        costs of modifications thereof''; and
            (7) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(5) use of other federal funds.--notwithstanding any 
        other provision of law, an applicant may use other federal 
        funds to pay part or all of a credit risk premium under this 
        subsection.''.

sec. 8. master credit agreements.

    section 502 (45 u.s.c. 822) is amended by adding at the end the 
following:
    ``(k) master credit agreements.--
            ``(1) in general.--subject to section 502(d) and paragraph 
        (2) of this subsection, the secretary may enter into a master 
        credit agreement if--
                    ``(a) the common security pledge receives an 
                investment-grade rating from a rating agency prior to 
                the secretary entering into the master credit 
                agreement; and
                    ``(b) all of the conditions for the provision of 
                direct loans or loan guarantees, as applicable, under 
                this title are satisfied.
            ``(2) conditions.--each master credit agreement shall--
                    ``(a) establish the maximum amount and general 
                terms and conditions of each applicable direct loan or 
                loan guarantee;
                    ``(b) identify 1 or more dedicated non-federal 
                revenue sources that will secure the repayment of each 
                applicable direct loan or loan guarantee;
                    ``(c) provide for the obligation of funds for the 
                direct loans or loan guarantees after all requirements 
                have been met for the projects subject to the master 
                credit agreement; and
                    ``(d) unless otherwise extended by the secretary, 
                require that each applicable direct loan and loan 
                guarantee results in a financial close and obligation 
                of assistance, or release of the master credit 
                agreement, not later than 3 years after the date of 
                entry by the secretary into the agreement.
    ``(l) non-federal share.--the proceeds of a direct loan under this 
title may be used for any non-federal share of project costs required 
under chapter 244 of title 49, united states code, if the loan is 
repayable from non-federal funds.''.

sec. 9. miscellaneous provisions.

    (a) priority projects.--section 502(c)(5) (45 u.s.c. 822(c)(5)) is 
amended by inserting ``or chapter 227 of title 49'' after ``section 135 
of title 23''.
    (b) conditions of assistance.--section 502(h) (45 u.s.c. 822(h)) is 
amended--
            (1) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``, if applicable'' 
        after ``project''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(4) for a project described in subsection (b)(1)(d), the 
        secretary shall require the applicant to pay, in addition to 
        the interest required under subsection (e), a fee or payment in 
        an amount determined appropriate by the secretary to provide an 
        equitable share of revenue to support capital or operating 
        costs of routes serving the passenger rail station or 
        multimodal station where the development is located.''.

sec. 10. authorization of appropriations.

    there is authorized to be appropriated for each of fiscal years 
2015 through 2020 $100,000,000, to remain available until expended, for 
the cost of direct loans and loan guarantees under sections 502 through 
504 of the railroad revitalization and regulatory reform act of 1976 
(45 u.s.c. 801 et seq.).

sec. 11. savings provision.

    this act, and the amendments made by this act, shall not affect any 
direct loan (or direct loan obligation) or an outstanding loan 
guarantee (or loan guarantee commitment) that was in effect prior to 
the date of enactment of this act. any such transaction entered into 
before the date of enactment of this act shall be administered until 
completion under its terms as if this act were not enacted.
                                 
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