The U.S. Department of Transportation Releases National Freight Strategic Plan

 

The U.S. Department of Transportation Releases National Freight Strategic PlanUSDOT lays out a vision on how to improve the safety, security, and resilience of the national freight system.

Every day, America’s transportation network moves over 51 million tons of freight and energy products valued at nearly $52 billion via highways, railways, ports and inland waterways, pipelines, and airports. The demand that has resulted from the increased use of e-commerce and global supply chains is presenting a series of challenges to our already taxed transportation system. 

Challenges affecting our freight system include increased safety risks, increased congestion, and declining infrastructure conditions. According to the USDOT, these challenges could have a negative impact on America’s ability to stay competitive across major industries like agriculture, manufacturing, energy production and E-commerce along with a lack of preparation for incorporating innovative technologies.   

Earlier in the month, the United States Department of Transportation addressed these problems when it released its National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP). The plan lays out the USDOT’s vision for long-term investments in infrastructure, the workforce, and other essential parts of the freight system. “The safe and efficient movement of goods through our freight system is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT),” it states in the NFSP Executive Summary. “This National Freight Strategic Plan defines the U.S. DOT’s vision and goals for the national multimodal freight system, assesses the conditions and performance of the freight system and barriers to freight system performance, and defines strategies to achieve its vision and goals.”

The strategic goals stated in the plan are to:  

*Improve the safety, security, and resilience of the national freight system.

*Modernize freight infrastructure and operations to grow the economy, increase competitiveness, and improve quality of life.

*Prepare for the future by supporting the development of data, technologies, and workforce capabilities that improve freight system performance.

The USDOT says that the plan details how we can modernize freight infrastructure and operations, however, critics of the plan say that it’s lacking details on how these initiatives will be funded and the data necessary to do so. “Economists recognize that all plans need to be re-evaluated because of changed circumstances,” says Railroad economist and planner and Railway Age Contributing Editor Jim Blaze. “That is not evident in this 2020 document.” Click here to read more of Jim’s NFSP analysis.  

Read the USDOT National Freight Strategic Plan (Full Report) and let us know your thoughts on the plan and the challenges ahead. To learn more about the NFSP, visit transportation.gov/freight/NFS. USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao’s remarks about the plan can be viewed HERE.

Sources: 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Makes Historic Announcement on America’s Freight System (Press Release)

USDOT Releases National Freight Strategic Plan

USDOT National Freight Strategic Plan (Executive Summary)

 

The Challenges of Funding our Growing Transportation Needs

Highways and Bridges

Grow America

Transportation is critical to economic growth, however, economic growth is critical to fund the ever changing needs of our transportation system. One cannot exist without the other. The imminent threat of Highway Trust Fund insolvency combined with this paradox is the root of intense debate and discussion in Washington, DC and among key players in the transportation industry.

According to US Department of Transportation, sixty five percent of America’s major roads are rated “less than good” condition, while one in four bridges require significant repair or cannot handle today’s traffic and 45 percent of Americans do not have access to transit.

One of the proposed solutions to this challenge is The GROW AMERICA Act, a six-year bill that would increase investment for our nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems by 45%. The proposal is funded by supplementing current revenues from the Highway Trust Fund in combination with a 14 percent transition tax on an estimated $2 trillion of untaxed foreign earnings that U.S. Companies have accumulated overseas.

Critical investments are needed to help communities keep pace with our expanding economy, our growing population, and the traveling needs of the public. This animated video explains the key features of the GROW AMERICA Act and why we need to move forward on a long-term surface transportation bill.

How would you address the funding challenges in our transportation infrastructure?

For more information on this proposed bill and other transportation topics, please visit www.transportation.gov.

photo credit: 2008 06 09 – 3057 – Baltimore – I-895 at Moravia Rd via photopin (license)