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Tom M.
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  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Improvement Act Amendment

    by Representative Tom McClintock

    Posted on 2016-02-24

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    McCLINTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3620) to amend the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Improvement Act to provide access to certain vehicles serving residents of municipalities adjacent to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and for other purposes.



    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 3620 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. VEHICULAR ACCESS AND FEES.

    Section 4 of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Improvement Act (Public Law 109-156) is amended to read as follows: ``SEC. 4. USE OF CERTAIN ROADS WITHIN THE RECREATION AREA.

    ``(a) In General.--Except as otherwise provided in this section, Highway 209, a federally owned road within the boundaries of the Recreation Area, shall be closed to all commercial vehicles.

    ``(b) Exception for Local Business Use.--Until September 30, 2020, subsection (a) shall not apply with respect to the use of commercial vehicles that have four or fewer axles and are-- ``(1) owned and operated by a business physically located in-- ``(A) the Recreation Area; or ``(B) one or more adjacent municipalities; or ``(2) necessary to provide services to businesses or persons located in-- ``(A) the Recreation Area; or ``(B) one of more adjacent municipalities.

    ``(c) Fee.--The Secretary shall establish a fee and permit program for the use by commercial vehicles of Highway 209 under subsection (b). The program shall include an annual fee not to exceed $200 per vehicle. All fees received under the program shall be set aside in a special account and be available, without further appropriation, to the Secretary for the administration and enforcement of the program, including registering vehicles, issuing permits and vehicle identification stickers, and personnel costs.

    ``(d) Exceptions.--The following vehicles may use Highway 209 and shall not be subject to a fee or permit requirement under subsection (c): ``(1) Local school buses.

    ``(2) Fire, ambulance, and other safety and emergency vehicles.

    ``(3) Commercial vehicles using Federal Road Route 209, from-- ``(A) Milford to the Delaware River Bridge leading to U.S. Route 206 in New Jersey; and ``(B) mile 0 of Federal Road Route 209 to Pennsylvania State Route 2001.''.

    SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    Section 2 of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Improvement Act (Public Law 109-156) is amended-- (1) by redesignating paragraphs (1) through (5) as paragraphs (2) through (6), respectively; and (2) by inserting before paragraph (2) (as so redesignated by paragraph (1) of this section) the following: ``(1) Adjacent municipalities.--The term `adjacent municipalities' means Delaware Township, Dingman Township, Lehman Township, Matamoras Borough, Middle Smithfield Township, Milford Borough, Milford Township, Smithfield Township and Westfall Township, in Pennsylvania.''.

    SEC. 3. CONFORMING AMENDMENT.

    Section 702 of the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-333) is repealed.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from California (Mr. McClintock) and the gentlewoman from Massachusetts (Ms. Tsongas) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.

    General Leave Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California? There was no objection.

    Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    H.R. 3620, introduced by Congressman Tom Marino, amends the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Improvement Act to allow a road in the recreation area to continue to be used by commercial vehicles that serve the local communities adjoining this federally designated land. It is entirely in keeping with one of our principal objectives for Federal land use policy: to restore the Federal Government as a good neighbor to the communities impacted by the Federal lands.

    Before the Federal Government took control of 70,000 acres of land adjacent to the Delaware River in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, highway 209 served as a major trucking route for commerce. Legislation that created the recreation area and implemented it sought to prohibit commercial vehicles from using this public highway, promising to establish alternate routes. Yet, despite three extensions of the deadline, local residents and businesses in the communities of Delaware Township, Dingman Township, Lehman Township, Metamoras Borough, Middle Smithfield Township, Milford Borough, Milford Township, Smithfield Township, and Westfall Township in Pennsylvania are directly threatened by the impending limitation.

    H.R. 3620 would protect the people of these communities from this unnecessary disruption and inconvenience by [[Page H887]] allowing commercial vehicles serving these communities to continue to use this long-established highway. Specifically, it directs the Department of the Interior to establish a fee and permit program for commercial vehicles serving these communities.

    This bill enjoys broad support in the affected communities, and Congressman Marino should be commended for his efforts to resolve this vexing issue for his constituents.

    I urge the passage of the bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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