In this issue:
The Trade Corridor Bulletin
Volume 16 – No. 2 | December 2021
IIJA Slated to Make Historic Freight Investment
By: CAGTC Staff
After months of negotiations between Congress and the White House, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law on November 15. The $1.2 trillion package contains a five-year surface transportation authorization as well as funding for new programs, totaling $567.4 billion for transportation infrastructure. This represents $273.9 billion in spending above the FAST Act baseline levels. In addition to transportation infrastructure funding, the bill invests in water, electric grid, energy, and broadband infrastructure.
The IIJA increases funding for key programs with multimodal freight eligibility and also creates a high-level, freight-focused office at the United States Department of Transportation. The Office of Multimodal Freight and Infrastructure Policy will be established in the Secretary’s office to oversee national and state freight policy and administer multimodal funding programs, including INFRA, RAISE and the new National Infrastructure Project Assistance program.
The INFRA program, originally created under the FAST Act, will receive $8 billion over five years, a 78 percent increase over FAST Act funding. The IIJA also triples the amount of INFRA funding that can be used on multimodal and intermodal infrastructure. Formerly known as TIGER and then BUILD, the RAISE grant program will receive $7.5 billion over five years. Notably, the RAISE program was previously subject to annual appropriations. The IIJA also provides $7.15 billion in freight formula funding and again triples the level of investment available to multimodal and intermodal freight investment from just 10 percent under the FAST Act to 30 percent. The law creates the National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program focused on transportation megaprojects – defined as those costing at least $500 million – and provides $5 billion over five years.
Freight and passenger rail will receive $66 billion through various programs, including $5 billion for the CRISI grant program and $3 billion for grade crossing safety improvements. Ports and waterways are slated to received $17 billion through various programs, including $2.25 billion for Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) grants and $400 million for a new program to reduce truck emissions at ports.
On the same day he signed the IIJA, President Biden issued an Executive Order establishing a task force to oversee implementation of the law. The Infrastructure Implementation Task Force is comprised of White House representatives and the Secretaries of USDOT, the United States Departments of Labor and Commerce, and the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The EO also outlined the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities for implementing the law, including: investing public dollars efficiently; creating good-paying jobs; investing equitably; building resilient infrastructure; and effectively coordinating with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg Announces Nearly $1 Billion in Grant Awards for America's Infrastructure
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced on November 19 that the Biden Administration will invest nearly $1 billion in American infrastructure through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants program. The funding has been awarded to 90 projects in 47 states and the District of Columbia and Guam.
“We’re proud to support these great projects that will improve infrastructure, strengthen supply chains, make us safer, advance equity, and combat climate change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “As in past years, we received far more applications than we could fund: this cycle saw about a ten-to-one ratio of requests to available dollars. But going forward, with the passage of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will be able to support far more infrastructure projects to support jobs and everyday life in communities across the country."
The program selection criteria encompassed safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation, and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders. Within these criteria, the grants reflect the Department’s priorities for creating good-paying jobs, improving safety, applying transformative technology, and explicitly addressing climate change and advancing racial equity.
Read the full release here.
FMC Effort Will Examine How Data Can Improve Ocean Cargo Velocity
Identifying data constraints that impede the flow of ocean cargo and add to supply chain inefficiencies will be the focus of a new Federal Maritime Commission effort to be spearheaded by Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel. This effort will be critical to pinpointing how data can contribute to the long-term reliability of the domestic cargo delivery system.
This initiative will propose recommendations for common data standards used by the international shipping supply chain, as well as access policies and protocols that would streamline information sharing across the ocean supply chain. This multi-phase effort is being launched at the direction of FMC Chairman Daniel B. Maffei with initial findings to be presented at a Maritime Data Summit in Spring 2022.
“Events of the past year have proven the need for the United States to achieve more capacity from our cargo delivery system. Information sharing and additional transparency in how containers move is one way we can move more containers more efficiently. I appreciate Commissioner Bentzel’s willingness to take on this project and I am confident his work will lead to beneficial and implementable recommendations,” said Chairman Maffei.
Over the course of the project Commissioner Bentzel will conduct research, interviews, round tables, and hold public meetings to inform the “status quo” in maritime data. He will explore what common ocean shipping data is created with each hand-off of a container through the supply chain, how that data is stored and shared, and identify what are the critical data elements used by each supply chain party. Ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, truckers, railroads, and other government agencies are among those who will be invited to provide insight about data definitions, classification, and recommendations for improving interoperability of data records involving container shipping. Input from the Commission’s National Shipper Advisory Committee may also be solicited as part of the project. Initial deliverables will include a data inventory and recommendations for common standards.
Read the full release here.
Port Authority Announces Long-Term Environmental Benefits From New York/New Jersey Harbor Deepening Project
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced today that the $2.1 billion New York/New Jersey Harbor Deepening Project (HDP), carried out between 2004 and 2016, is continuing to reap long-term environmental benefits for the region, from the extensive restoration of marshland to the development of a cleaner-running fleet of harbor tugboats and ferries.
More than 40 acres of marsh in New York and New Jersey have been restored as a result of the HDP and 38 miles of navigation channels in New York Harbor were dredged to 50 feet deep, which has improved the ability of the Port of the New York and New Jersey to handle some of the world’s largest container ships by increasing ship access, in conjunction with the raising of the Bayonne Bridge in 2017 to a navigational height of 215 feet.
The harbor deepening project also has included the retrofitting of tugboat and ferry engines to make them more environmentally friendly. As a result, it has eliminated more than 3,000 tons of surplus nitrogen oxide (NOx) due to the engine upgrades on harbor tugs and ferries, a positive environmental impact that continues to this day.
The Port Authority provided a total of $20 million in addition to the more than $2 billion in federal funding for the numerous projects supporting the larger dredging project, which was led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition to the more than 40 acres of marsh restored, beaches were replenished, fishing reefs were created, and dredged material was beneficially reused across New York and New Jersey region to remediate existing landfills and brownfields.
Read the full release here.
Fuel Switch Cuts Greenhouse Gases at Port of Long Beach
SSA Marine, which operates three container terminals at the Port of Long Beach, has become the first terminal operator at the port to transition its fossil-fueled cargo-handling equipment fleet to renewable diesel fuel. The move is expected to achieve a 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across SSA’s Long Beach terminals.
The change involves more than 230 pieces of equipment across the company’s Long Beach terminals. SSA voluntarily converted its fueling to support the goals of the Clean Air Action Plan, which calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
“Cutting these emissions would not be possible without the leadership shown by partners like SSA Marine,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “SSA’s vision and hard work in making their operations cleaner shows the goods movement industry the way to a greener future.”
Read the full release here.
The U.S. Freight Network's Critical Role in the Supply Chain
An efficient and reliable supply chain has always been critically important for the delivery of
goods and the continued momentum of America’s economy. That importance became even more
evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. As supply chain disruptions continue to hamper the nation’s
economy and the timely delivery of goods, this TRIP report examines the latest information on the
condition and reliability of the nation’s supply chain and the critical role of the U.S. freight
transportation network in keeping the economy moving - literally and figuratively - and ensuring that
commerce and deliveries are uninterrupted.
Read more here.
Owner-Operators / Independent Contractors in the Supply Chain
American Transportation Research Institute
For decades, the trucking industry has relied on owner-operators (OO) and independent contractors (IC) to transport goods across the U.S. The utilization of OO/IC offers a solution to the fluctuating demand for freight transportation and provides an opportunity for drivers to have autonomy over the services they offer. In recent years, new legislation pertaining to employment status classification has been introduced in various states which threatens the eligibility of drivers to work as OO/IC. Based on these legislative actions, it is important to understand the role of OO/IC in the supply chain.
In response to the prospect of new laws that govern the classification of OO/IC and their employment status, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) Research Advisory Committee (RAC) prioritized a study that examines the role of OO/IC in the supply chain and identifies potential impacts should these laws be enacted and expanded.
This ATRI research seeks to better understand the existing role of OO/IC in the supply chain and the impact that labor classification laws could ostensibly have on drivers. To achieve this objective, this research identifies the underlying motivations and concerns relating to driver classifications, in addition to providing background on the legal landscape that is redefining the eligibility standards for OO/IC. A key research task was a truck driver survey that identified motivating factors that lead drivers to become OO/ICs and how they perceive reclassification efforts. This, in turn, allowed the research to quantify the potential impacts that might result from reclassification efforts.
Read the full report here.