CAGTC Applauds USDOT’s National Freight Strategic Plan

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Draft Released for Public Comment Identifies Future Freight System Demands and Strategies for Success across a Multimodal Freight Network

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has proposed the nation’s first National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP), a comprehensive document, released in draft for public comment, that describes the freight network and anticipated future demands on it, along with barriers to improvement and best practices to enhance the system. Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the plan alongside Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), commonly referred to as “Senator Freight,” at a Seattle, Wash. logistics facility on Sunday, October 18.

The 143-page document identifies six key trends and challenges, including expected growth in freight traffic; governance-related barriers to planning and implementing freight projects; safety and security problems related to the movement of freight; increased global economic competition; application and deployment of new technologies; and underinvestment in our nation’s freight system – concerns the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) has diligently called out for more than 15 years. The draft NFSP also outlines a number of strategies to address the three types of bottlenecks: infrastructure, institutional, and financial.

“U.S. DOT’s holistic approach to addressing the needs of our nation’s multimodal freight system is commendable and the roadmap for improvement identified in the draft National Freight Strategic Plan complements the GROW America Act’s robust investment plan,” said CAGTC Executive Director Elaine Nessle. “Our freight network’s challenges are many and varied, and I applaud U.S. DOT for anticipating future freight system requirements so that our nation is prepared to meet the growing needs and turn potential gridlock into economic opportunity.”

Anticipating domestic freight movements across all modes will grow by roughly 42 percent by the year 2040, the draft NFSP calls for robust investment across all modes and suggests an emphasis on improving intermodal connectivity to reduce infrastructure bottlenecks. The draft NFSP calls for the identification of key trade gateways and corridors through a multimodal freight network; establishment of such a network is one of several common threads between the U.S. DOT’s GROW America Act, the Senate-passed DRIVE Act, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s proposal, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015.

“The call to make freight infrastructure investments is a unifying message. The House of Representatives, Senate and Administration are all proposing creation of a robustly-funded multimodal freight program, the centerpiece of which is a competitive grant program,” said CAGTC President Leslie Blakey. “The draft NFSP adds context to this discussion, explaining where our nation’s economic opportunities exist. I commend U.S. DOT for organizing a comprehensive plan that guides strategic decision making, ensuring public investment will produce a high return.”

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About the Coalition
The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) is a diverse coalition of more than 60 public and private organizations dedicated to increasing federal investment in America’s intermodal freight infrastructure. In contrast to single mode interests, CAGTC’s main mission is to promote a seamless goods movement transportation system across all modes to enhance capacity and economic growth. For more information on the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, please visit http://www.tradecorridors.org.

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Jeff Agnew
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Anna Denecke