CAGTC testifies to national need for dedicated freight funding program
The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors commended House leadership for introducing a blueprint framework that includes a number of the critical programmatic components necessary to address goods movement infrastructure needs in the next surface transportation authorization. Among the elements applauded by the Coalition are Projects of National Significance (PNS) and a new freight improvement program that would provide dedicated funding for highway goods movement projects. Nationwide freight planning is also mandated.
‘We congratulate Chairman Oberstar and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for developing a legislative blueprint that takes establishes freight planning and funding as the first important step toward increased investment in a national goods movement infrastructure network,’ said Leslie Blakey, executive director of the Coalition. ‘We’ll work with Congress as the specific programmatic and funding elements of freight-related programs are fully addressed.’
To successfully address our nation’s freight needs in the upcoming bill, The Coalition believes these components are essential:
- A holistic, multimodal approach for our national goods movement system that includes highway, rail, port and intermodal projects;
- A new, discretionary federal-aid program that would select projects through a merit-based competitive process and award funds based on long-term, full funding grant agreements; and
- Provide funds specifically for goods movement projects through new and broad ‘based fees which are protected from diversion by a new, separate and firewalled account or fund.
Earlier in his testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Coalition member and executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation Larry ‘Butch’ Brown reiterated the Coalition’s call for Congress to create a new discretionary federal program and Freight Trust Fund (FTF) and partnership with the private sector. Brown stated, ‘We must focus on the system as a whole, rather than viewing the nation’s transportation infrastructure as several different systems that occasionally interact. We must think in terms of the entire network, interconnected and interdependent.’
CAGTC’s call for a national freight program with dedicated funding is echoed by a number of other organizations, including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Freight Stakeholders Coalition, National Association of Regional councils (NARC), the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). (CAGTC)