On Tuesday, November 30, 2004, the President signed into law H.R. 5163, the “Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act,” which reorganizes the Department of Transportation’s pipeline safety, hazardous materials transportation safety, and research activities.
Titled the Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act, the measure reorganizes the existing Research and Special Programs Administration into two new entities: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Research and Innovative Transportation Administration (RITA).
PHMSA’s mission will be to focus on pipeline safety and hazardous materials safety oversight and regulation. The new PHMSA administrator will be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The existing Office of Pipeline Safety will be part of the new organization.
RITA will focus on improving the coordination and efficiency of the research activities previously undertaken by the Research and Special Programs Administration, plus any other research projects assigned by the Secretary of Transportation.