CAGTC Keeps Pressure on Washington as Freight Takes Center Stage

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CAGTC Member ‘Fly In’ Urges National Importance of Robustly-funded Multimodal Freight Program

As freight takes center stage in recently-proposed surface transportation legislation, members of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors arrived on Capitol Hill in well-timed fashion to deliver their message to Congress: Freight Can’t Wait.

“Freight is the hallmark of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015,” said Elaine Nessle, Executive Director of CAGTC. “Accordingly, our Coalition members traveled to Washington to ensure legislators and policymakers recognize the importance of prioritizing investment in our goods movement system and that freight remains a centerpiece as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marks up its proposed bill.”

Demonstrating that freight infrastructure investment has bipartisan support, the Administration, Senate, and House of Representatives produced legislation this year proposing unprecedented levels of investment in the nation’s goods movement system. This summer, the Senate passed a proposal, the DRIVE Act, calling for over $14 billion of investment over six years. The Administration’s GROW America Act proposes $18 billion over six years. The latest proposal, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, calls for $4.6 billion over six years. Current federal law does not provide any dedicated funding for freight infrastructure.

CAGTC members offered their perspective on the local importance and impact of the proposed Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015; their remarks follow:

"The Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority applauds the strong bipartisan proposals to provide robust funding for nationally significant freight projects. We look forward to seeking the federal funding needed to complete the Alameda Corridor-East grade separation program if these programs are enacted," said Paul Hubler, Director of Government and Community Relations, Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority.

“The Port of Long Beach is pleased that the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act will provide dedicated multiyear funding for critical transportation investments, including freight infrastructure,” stated Rick Cameron, Managing Director, Port of Long Beach. “We commend the Committee for its focus on freight infrastructure in the bill with the establishment of a National Multimodal Freight Strategic Plan and the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program.”

“The ability to efficiently move products across our region is essential to the national economy, and we can’t do it alone. Congress needs to act with a sense of purpose and enact a long-term, sustainable transportation funding program that recognizes the importance of infrastructure as an economic catalyst,” said Pam O’Connor, City Council Member from Santa Monica and Regional Council Member of the Southern California Association of Governments.

“Port Tampa Bay is the largest, most diversified seaport in Florida, supporting 80,000 jobs and $15 billion in economic activity per year. More than 36 million tons of freight were moved in and out of the port last year. More than 73, 000 of the port’s jobs and $14.4 billion in economic activity are generated by freight, stated said Paul Anderson, President/ CEO of Port Tampa Bay. The port is poised for substantial growth related to population growth and global trade opportunities, but that growth is heavily dependent on excellent inland transportation and connectivity.”

Over the next two days, Coalition members will call on Congress to pass a transportation bill containing a robustly-funded freight program. Attendees will participate in nearly 30 meetings with members of Congress and also hear from Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Chairman, House Ways & Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee and USDOT’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy John Drake. Members will also receive a briefing from key majority and minority staff from the Senate’s Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee as well as the Senate’s Environmental & Public Works Committee. CAGTC members will conduct face-to-face meetings with several key members of Congress and the Senate, including Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee; Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Since its founding 15 years ago, CAGTC has urged Congress and the Administration to make national freight transportation policy multimodal, to better reflect the many variances in the supply chain. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently proposed the nation’s first National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP), which, among other things, calls for the identification of key trade gateways and corridors through establishment a multimodal freight network. Establishment of such a network would help guide both public and private sector decision making to maximize invests. A long-time CAGTC policy goal, proposal of such a holistic approach to freight planning 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.

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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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