New legislation focuses on upping multimodal freight investment

Logistics Management |

By Jeff Berman | October 25, 2018

Legislation introduced earlier this month by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), whom also serves as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, takes a hard look at giving non-highway freight-based transportation infrastructure initiatives a more prominent seat at the table.

Carper’s bill focuses on improving the country’s freight systems through making key investments in ports, railways, and intermodal hubs, with a major emphasis on augmenting the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program, which is a key freight-related component of the Fixing Americas Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). The Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program is also known as the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program, with the program’s chief objective to make needed investments is critical freight and highway needs.

Carper’s bill received a strong endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC).

CAGTC pointed out that the multimodal freight network directly supports 44 million U.S. jobs and the indirect benefits extend to every corner of the national economy. But it noted that comes with a caveat, as non-highway projects can compete for just 11% of total INFRA program funding

Elaine Nessle, CAGTC executive director, explained that increasing the program’s flexibility by making investments in the best freight projects -- regardless of mode -- will allow projects with the largest benefit to the goods movement network to be successful, adding that beyond increasing the flexibility of the INFRA program, overall funding levels must be increased to address growing demands on goods movement infrastructure.

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