Washington, DC (PRWEB) December 01, 2015
The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) applauds House and Senate Surface Transportation Conferees for filing a Conference Report with robust freight funding and sound federal policy. The five-year Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act funds a freight-specific competitive grant program, the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program, at $4.5 billion over five years, and a freight formula program, the National Highway Freight Program, at $6.3 billion over five years. The bill also creates much-needed federal multimodal freight policy.
“We are thrilled to see Conferees recognize so many of the Coalition’s long-standing priorities,” said Leslie Blakey, CAGTC President. “Over the past fifteen years, we have advocated for a minimum annual investment of $2 billion in the freight network. This afternoon, despite the arguments of powerful opponents, Conferees answered our call, and in doing so demonstrated a commitment to American manufacturing, agriculture, and retail. Investment of this magnitude will increase the efficiency and reliability of our commerce network, and we urge quick passage by Congress of this landmark legislation.”
The FAST Act’s Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program distributes funds to projects that improve or enhance highway freight infrastructure through a competitive grant approach. The program provides up to $500 million in funding for projects that make improvements to freight movements on the highway, but that are located on other modes. A wide variety of state and local government entities are eligible to apply for funding through this program. The FAST Act also provides $6.3 billion, over five years, to a formula program. States are eligible to use funds to enhance freight mobility on the national highway freight network.
“The federal resources provided by the FAST Act will enable us to compete in an increasingly global economy, and I thank the Conferees for recognizing that freight infrastructure is an economic driver,” said CAGTC Chairman Sharon Neely. “Up until now, freight projects, which are frequently large-in-scale and cross multiple jurisdictions, have had difficulty securing funds through traditional means. The funding provided by the FAST Act will go a long way towards aiding meritorious projects that, once completed, often have an outsized effect on the local, regional, and national economy.”
In addition to providing unprecedented levels of investment in our national freight network, the FAST Conference Report creates a federal, multimodal freight policy that provides a comprehensive view of our multimodal transportation network and is designed to guide decision making. As CAGTC has stated for many years, goods do not move on highways alone. Conferees have acknowledged that truth and asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a multimodal freight network, identifying the portions of the commerce network most critical to moving goods.
Numerous lawmakers have been instrumental in securing federal support for the commerce network. Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), were among the Conferees that lead the charge for robust federal freight funding and sound, multimodal freight policy. Other vital support came from Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ed Markey (D-MA), who earlier this year introduced the National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act, which included a similar multimodal investment strategy as found in the FAST Act. Additional lawmakers who have been instrumental in supporting American commerce include House Freight Caucus Co-Chairs Dave Reichart (R-WA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) as well as Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).
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.