Transportation Leaders lobby Congress for Freight Policy and Dedicated Transportation Trust Fund
At a hearing in WashingtonD.C. this week, a panel of transportation leaders testified before Congress about the importance of a national transportation policy and trust fund.
Representing the port industry was Port of Tacoma Interim Executive Director John Wolfe. He told Congress how rail connections and freight mobility improvements are essential to keeping ports competitive, and the U. S. economy strong. "Trade activity helps our nation's ports create and sustain high-paying jobs,” said Wolfe. "Freight mobility concerns are clearly national in scope, and they deserve the close attention of the federal government."
The need for a dedicated national freight policy was made to the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Department of Transportation. This week’s hearing was part of the committee’s consideration of the president’s 2011 budget proposal.
Wolfe called for a holistic approach to freight transportation, and a “freight trust fund” that would disburse money for projects that facilitated freight movement, and be awarded through competitive grants.
He said the U.S. and state departments of transportation should work with freight stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for freight movement, with funds dedicated to freight mobility projects, and establish a multi-modal freight office within the U.S. Department of Transportation.
At the same hearing, Wayne Johnson, director of logistics for American Gypsum in Dallas, Texas, called for dedicated funds for intermodal connectors to ports and rail intermodal facilities, innovative financing options for improving freight capacity, and streamlining of environmental permits for freight projects. Johnson spoke for the National Industrial Transportation League.
The panel also included representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Industrial Transportation League, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and Maryland's Secretary of Transportation.