of 17 diverse groups including shippers, transportation providers and government agencies is calling for an addition to the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009
now up for debate in Congress. The proposed change is to create a
cohesive national freight strategy to be implemented over the next six
At a news conference this week, the Freight Stakeholders’ Coalition
stressed that a high priority must be given to significant investments
in the nation’s freight transportation system. The representatives in
attendance represented trucking companies, railroads, ports, shippers,
and state department of transportation agencies.
The group claims that without significant improvements to freight
infrastructure, all modes of shipping freight will deteriorate and the
U.S. will pay the price in both domestic prosperity and international
“There is an awful lot at stake here and we’ve got to continue our
efforts to elevate freight [needs] to a higher level in the debate over
the reauthorization bill,” said Joni Casey, president &d CEO of the
Intermodal Association of North America
(IANA). “That’s why it’s so important for Congress to act now on the
[reauthorization] bill and not revert to stop-gap funding.”
“Freight is an issue that should be at the top of the nation’s
priority list – but it is not,” stressed Janet Kavinoky, director of
transportation infrastructure for U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“No matter the differences among industries as to what needs the most
funding, we all recognize 18 months is too long to wait to pass a
reauthorization bill. What do we need more time for? There’s enough
information out there about what we need to do to fill this room 10
An 18-month extension of federal highway programs by the Obama administration, says Kavinoky, shows that freight issues are a high priority for the President.
“The only thing we need time for is to make transportation and
freight policy a priority,” she said. “…We’ve spent the last four years
hammering out transportation and freight issues for this highway bill –
now it is time for us to multi-task.”
“States would love to get a bill done; we’re in favor of substantive
transportation change, but want to do it thoughtfully while creating a
stable source of funding for it,” said Allen D. Biehler, P.E.
Photo courtesy of richardsinyem under the Creative Commons License.