In this issue:
The Trade Corridor Bulletin
Volume 17 – No. 6 | September 2023
Congress Returns from Recess to Looming Funding Deadlines
By: CAGTC Staff
Congress returned from August recess this month to a handful of items requiring legislative action before the 2023 fiscal year ends on September 30. Due to the pressing and divisive nature of government funding, Congress will devote most of its time between now and September 30 to appropriations and it also has some must-pass (or extend) reauthorization proposals, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization.
As September 30 draws nearer and stumbling blocks continue to mount, the possibility of a full year budget agreement is off the table and a continuing resolution seems to be the next best option. Continuing resolutions typically sustain the previous year’s funding levels and provide legislators with additional time to pass a full appropriations package. In the event of a continuing resolution, federal agencies are typically prohibited from initiating new programs and making final determinations about new grants before the enactment of full appropriations. However, key grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) would still receive advance appropriations for FY24 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). For FY24, the BIL provided the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program with $1.5 billion, the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program with $1 billion, and the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) with $450 million.
Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations
Both the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations approved their respective FY24 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bills. Topline funding levels remain a key difference between the House and Senate proposals with the House opting to fund the government at FY22 levels and the Senate sticking to the higher levels included in the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The Senate FY24 appropriations bill for THUD maintained funding for key USDOT grant programs, while the House bill made significant cuts. Under the Senate proposal, the RAISE, CRISI, and PIDP grants received funding in addition to money made available by the BIL. The House proposal only provided additional funding for CRISI.
The Senate made some progress by passing its THUD appropriations bill along with the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies bill and the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill. On September 12, the Senate voted 85-12 to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed with consideration of the package and is expected to begin offering amendments in the coming days. If the Senate passes this appropriations package before the September 30 deadline, a continuing resolution will still be needed to give both chambers time to agree on and pass the same versions of the bills.
Federal Aviation Administration
While the House passed a five-year, $108 billion FAA bill on July 20 by a 351-69 vote, the Senate has been much slower to advance its proposal. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has yet to mark up its FAA reauthorization due to disagreements over provisions related to pilot training requirements. Congress will likely pass an extension to maintain FAA operations until a full reauthorization bill is passed due to the varying progress between the chambers.
Also requiring congressional action related to the FAA is President Biden’s nomination of Michael G. Whitaker to serve as FAA Administrator. Michael Whitaker previously served as FAA Deputy Administrator from 2013 to 2016 and is currently the chief operating officer of Supernal, a Hyundai Motor Group company designing an electric advanced air mobility vehicle. While not scheduled yet, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is expected to hold a nomination hearing followed by a full Senate vote on Whitaker’s nomination in the coming months.
National Defense Authorization Act
Passage of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is also on Congress’ to-do list, which must be enacted by December 31. Both the House and Senate passed their respective versions of the NDAA in July. However, additional negotiations will be needed to resolve differences and pass a final product through both chambers. While the House proposal authorized $96.3 million for operations at the Maritime Administration, including $15 million for the Marine Highway Program and $230 million for PIDP grants, the Senate proposal did not dedicate funding for these programs.
CAGTC on the Road: California and Illinois
Come see CAGTC at the 2023 Mobility 21 Southern California Transportation Summit on September 29! Team CAGTC will be at booth #97 and looks forward to seeing you there! Next up, CAGTC staff will be in Chicago and Will County, IL October 16 – 19 to visit with our members and would love to connect with regional stakeholders!
We would like to see you in these regions or others not listed. Please let us know if you’d like CAGTC staff to visit and provide Federal updates on freight issues, tour facilities, or participate in meetings and conferences. Please reach out to Cecile Entleitner (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
Freight Stakeholders Coalition Calls on USDOT to Establish the Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy (Freight Office)
Together with 15 other trade associations, the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to formally establish the Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy (Freight Office) as required under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, P.L. 117-58).
Read the full letter and a statement by CAGTC Executive Director Elaine Nessle here.
AAPA Board Chair Paul Anderson Announces Cary Davis as Organization's Next President and CEO
The Board of Directors of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) is pleased to announce that Cary Davis will be the organization's next President and CEO, effective October 1, 2023.
“Cary speaks our business in a way policymakers and international maritime partners can grasp,” stated Paul Anderson, AAPA Board Chair and Port Tampa Bay CEO. “With incredible enthusiasm, he creates an understanding that seaports are at the heart of a modern, global economy, and most importantly, he knows how to tell a compelling, collaborative industry story. Cary is the right leader to keep AAPA growing and innovating together now and in the future.”
Following the announcement of Chris Connor's pending departure as President and CEO earlier this year, the vetting process considered multiple strong candidates over a period of five months, after which the specially convened selection committee unanimously recommended Cary to the board. The board unanimously adopted that recommendation.
“I am grateful for the Board's confidence in me and want to thank Chris Connor for all of his diligent work leading AAPA, along with the example he has set,” said Cary Davis, incoming AAPA President and CEO. “We are living in era of great disruption - economic, political, technological, and environmental - and our association serves as a beacon in the midst of the uncertainty. Advancing the cause of America's seaports, dynamic, and often underappreciated, economic assets, is the highest honor.”
Read the full release here.
FACT SHEET: White House Releases New Technical Assistance Resources to Help Communities Unlock Opportunities from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda
The White House released an updated technical assistance guide that focuses on federal and state technical assistance programs aimed at accessing and deploying Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act funding. The updated technical assistance guide builds on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Guidebook, Rural Playbook, and Tribal Playbook, and the Inflation Reduction Act’s Guidebook and Tribal Playbook. This new guide highlights programs that help communities navigate programs and resources that can help them deliver infrastructure, clean energy and climate resilience projects. The White House also maintains a webpage with resources on the Inflation Reduction Act’s “elective pay” (often called “direct pay”) provisions, through which tax-exempt and governmental entities can, for the first time, take advantage of tax credits for building clean energy projects.
While some of these programs offer hands-on and intensive planning and delivery support for communities, others are more self-directed resources and tools such as webinars and websites, or funding that can support project planning. The guide covers more than 150 technical assistance and capacity building programs encompassing well over $1 billion in Federal support. In addition to federal programs, the guide is also highlighting over a dozen new commitments from states to support local government applicants.
Read the full release here.
The Intermodal Association Of North America And The Bureau International Des Containers Expand Collaboration To North America Geofencing
The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) and the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) are extending their collaboration on container facility identification, which began in 2021, to include geofencing. IANA will take the leadership role in collecting and reviewing geofence coordinates for North America intermodal facilities for inclusion in the global BIC Facility Code database and in the IANA Intermodal Facilities Directory.
The BIC Facility Code database is a global database of over 17,000 container facilities and provides a facility name and address, latitude/longitude point and harmonized facility code. As part of the 2021 harmonization exercise, the locations in IANA’s North American Intermodal Facility database were assigned a global BIC Facility Code, and an API synchronization was put in place.
The database is being expanded to include geofences coordinates to help support the industry’s adoption of smart containers. The methodology and recommendations for the project were developed by a global working group assembled by the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and includes ocean carriers, IoT providers, and software platforms.
The objective is to provide a neutral open library of geofences linked to container handling facilities to ensure that all parties in the supply chain can reference the same geofence for a facility regardless of the provider or platform they may be using, thus improving reliability, interoperability as well as safety and security.
Read the full release here.
WSDOT’s Multimodal Mobility Dashboard Reveals Some Stratospheric Data
Travelers in Washington logged a lot of miles on state highways in 2022. A heck of a lot.
Vehicle miles traveled by drivers in 2022 may have increased a modest 1.2 percent from 2021, but there is nothing modest about the 34.2 billion miles traveled, more than enough for 182 trips to the sun and back.
Annual performance data like this and five-year trends for numerous travel modes on select state-owned roadways are available in WSDOT’s recently released 2023 Multimodal Mobility Dashboard. The dashboard provides quick access to information about the state's most-traveled corridors, examining how congestion and corresponding mitigation strategies like incident response and HOV lanes affect travel.
The dashboard analyzes travel by car, public transit, passenger rail, ferry, airplane, walking, and biking, as well as multimodal freight mobility. These strategies and modes work together to help improve the movement of people and goods on Washington state's multimodal transportation system.
Some of the highlights from the Multimodal Mobility Dashboard:
- Drivers traveled 34.2 billion vehicle miles on state highways in 2022, a 1.2-percent increase from the 33.8 billion traveled in 2021.
- Total air cargo tonnage in 2022 was 1.99 million tons, a 5.2-percent decrease from the 2.10 million tons in 2021.
- While transportation measures show some level of recovery compared to 2021, most have not returned to their pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Read the full release here.
The Road to Transportation Decarbonization: Readying the Grid for Electric Fleets
National Grid and Hitachi Energy issued a case study examining the impact of medium and heavy-duty vehicles increasingly relying on the electric grid. The study provides recommendations to help relevant stakeholders, such as policymakers, utility companies, and the transportation industry, decarbonize medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
Read the full report here.
New Interactive Dashboard Shows Cities Are Rebuilding America Using Federal Infrastructure Funds
The National League of Cities (NLC) launched an interactive dashboard tracking how thousands of cities, towns and villages are investing Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding into valuable projects for communities across the country. The dashboard tracks more than 1,600 projects across 1,100 local governments.
Overall, this map represents $13 billion dollars in direct infrastructure funding awarded to local governments for investments in resilience, safety and clean energy as well as roads, bridges, public transportation and other infrastructure that are used by more than 97 million people.
Users can explore the map filtering by location, spending category and other details to learn more information about a municipality’s plans for deploying bipartisan infrastructure law program funds.
Read the full release here.