The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (Coalition) applauds the Panel and their bi-partisan recommendations, which include a call to identify a revenue source for freight infrastructure funding, designation of a multimodal freight network, and the sustained continuation of a freight-focused Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS) competitive grant program — all policies the Coalition has long promoted.
“Today’s thoughtful and on-point recommendations represent six months of exhaustive research and tours of freight related infrastructure that took place across the country. I commend the leadership of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall for recognizing this issue of vital economic and jobs importance and creating the Panel to spearhead the development of solutions,” said Sharon Neely, Coalition Chairman and Chief Deputy Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments. “Panel Chairman Duncan and Ranking Member Nadler, along with their fellow Panel members and staff, have done a tremendous job consulting with the nation’s foremost freight experts and synthesizing recommendations that, if executed properly, will drive our nation’s global trade competitiveness for decades to come.”
Specifically, the Panel recommends that Congress:
• “Authorize dedicated, sustainable funding for multimodal freight PNRS”:
Authorize dedicated, sustainable funding for multimodal freight PNRS through a competitive grant process and establish clear benchmarks for project selection;
• “Establish a national, multimodal freight policy and network”: As called for in Panel Member Rep. Sires’ (D-NJ) MOVE Freight Act of 2013 (H.R. 974), freight policy and planning should incorporate the many modes of transportation that move goods;
• “Ensure robust public investment in all modes”: Freight does not move on highways alone – where public benefit is derived, public investment must be made. Further, private investment should be encouraged when possible and appropriate;
• “Explore additional funding mechanisms”: Sustainable freight revenue sources should be identified and evaluated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Congress prior to the next surface transportation authorization.
“I applaud the politically and geographically diverse Members of the Panel, who showed that investing in our nation’s multimodal freight infrastructure is critical to the economic future for all parts of our nation,” said Mort Downey, Founding Chairman of the Coalition. “The Panel’s findings reflect positions our Coalition has championed for many years and we look forward to working with the Panel to ensure their recommendations enjoy the same broad, bi-partisan support among all of Congress.” The Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation convened on April 24, 2013 and members served for a period of six months before issuing the recommendations.
The Panel’s six Republicans and five Democrats were tasked with examining the current state of freight transportation and how improving the system would affect the U.S. economy. Several Coalition member organizations met with and testified before the Panel, including Southern California Association of Governments, Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority, San Bernardino Associated Governments, Maryland Department of Transportation, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, Virginia Port Authority, Florida Department of Transportation and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.