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What does the FREIGHT Act really mean for our freights and ports?

Posted by Content Coordinator on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

TRANSPORTATION FOR AMERICA

By Stephen Lee Davis

There were a few questions bouncing around via Twitter and elsewhere about the new FREIGHT Act introduced [July 22] by Senators Lautenberg, Murray and Cantwell.

For context, it’s worth understanding how freight transportation policy currently works now to understand how much of an improvement this bill would provide.

Today, there is no national freight program or specific national policy. There’s no dedicated federal transportation money that states, regions or ports can spend to improve throughput or operations at ports, intermodal facilities and freight corridors. And among the traditional federal transportation programs, freight rail projects in particular (much like passenger rail) aren’t eligible projects.

So if a port is congested or wants to expand, there’s little available federal money to spend directly on rail or any other mode. Your choices are highways or highways. When a state or port does spend to improve operations, there is no accountability to make sure they’re actually reducing port/freight congestion, moving freight faster, or reducing air pollution in surrounding communities —  a significant issue of environmental justice.

Under this new bill, there would finally be a coordinated national policy for freight and ports across the country, and for the first time public health and air quality surrounding freight hubs and facilities become strong criteria for awarding dollars.

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View the full article (www.t4america.org): What does the FREIGHT Act really mean for our freights and ports?

About Transportation for America
www.t4america.org
“Transportation for America has formed a broad coalition of housing, business, environmental, public health, transportation, equitable development, and other organizations. We’re all seeking to align our national, state, and local transportation policies with an array of issues like economic opportunity, climate change, energy security, health, housing and community development.”

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