Trekking Around: A Freight Policy Roundtable

On June 17, Greater Phoenix Chamber members had the opportunity to discuss U.S. and Arizona freight policy with Federal Highway Administration’s Deputy Administrator Gregory G. Nadeau.

Over the course of several months, the Department of Transportation has partnered with local hosts, like the Chamber, to hold regional freight policy specific roundtables with state and local transportation representatives, the business community and other stakeholders.

In front of a robust and diverse attendance, Nadeau kicked off the Chamber’s roundtable discussion with brief remarks regarding the vitality of the country’s freight transportation network.

Nadeau said transportation needs should be viewed from a system standpoint—as a part of a single interlocking system of transportation that considers cargo capacity, congestions, efficiencies, safety and infrastructure impacts.

While the country’s transportation network encompasses a variety of modes and purposes, freight transportation accounts for a large portion of movement across the country.

  • Railroads move 40 percent of the nation’s total intercity freight.
    • 70 percent of the motor vehicles shipped from manufacturing sites
    • 65 percent of the nation’s coal used to generate 56 percent of our electricity
    • 40 percent of the nation’s grain and farm products
  • Trucks are still the single most-used mode to move freight for distances less than 500 miles
  • Air freight carries 31 percent of our exports by value
  • Estimates shows that in 2012, nearly 19.7 billion tons of goods worth about $17.4 trillion were moved on the transportation network
  • Exports and imports accounted for 11 percent of the tons and 19 percent of the value in 2007 and are forecast to make up an even greater share of freight, reaching 19 percent of the tons and 31 percent of the value by 2040.

Recognizing the importance of freight movement to our economy, Congress has required in MAP-21 that the Department of Transportation complete a National Freight Strategic Plan. This strategic plan will include an assessment of the performance of highway freight network, an identification of major trade gateways and national freight corridors, an assessment of barriers to improved freight transportation performance, and best practices for improving freight transportation performance and mitigating the impacts of freight transportation on communities.

In order to help localities, the Department of Transportation has proposed the GROW AMERICA Act, which provides $10 billion over four years for targeted investments in the nation’s transportation system that will improve the movement of freight.

The GROW AMERICA ACT will give shippers, transportation providers and freight workers a real seat at the table for making investment decisions. The $10 billion grant program will be awarded for projects indentified by states, communities and ports and working in collaboration with shippers, truckers, maritime providers, railroads, and other transportation stakeholder to identify infrastructure projects that serve a public and immediate need to improve the safe and efficient movement of freight.

The roundtable provided those in attendance the opportunity to share ideas, insights and experiences to improve freight transportation at the local and national levels. The discussion was positive, productive focusing on the importance of efficient, safe and economical freight movement that would develop communities and promote growth.

Learn more about freight transportation in Arizona: Freight Transportation in Arizona.

For more information about freight policy in the U.S. visit Every Day Counts, an initiative designed to address shortening project delivery time and accelerate rapid deployment of innovative technology using a state based model.

 

 

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