US Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) this week introduced legislation that would establish a national freight transportation policy. The legislation would direct the federal government to develop and implement a strategic plan to improve the nation’s freight transportation system and provide investment in freight transportation projects.
The goals include reducing congestion and delays; increasing the timely delivery of goods and services; reducing freight-related transportation fatalities; and making freight transportation more efficient and better for the environment.
The “Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010” (S.3629) would establish the US’ first comprehensive national freight transportation policy and create a new Office of Freight Planning and Development within the Department of Transportation (DOT) that would coordinate efforts to improve the efficiency and operation of all modes of the national freight transportation system.
The Secretary of the DOT would be directed to develop and implement a long-term national freight transportation strategic plan that meets the goals of the FREIGHT Act, and issue biennial progress reports, which would include any challenges to implementation and any requested policy and legislative changes.
The major goals established by the FREIGHT Act are:
- Reduce delays of goods and commodities entering into and out of intermodal connectors that serve international points of entry on an annual basis.
- Increase travel time reliability on major freight corridors that connect major population centers with freight generators and international gateways on an annual basis.
- Reduce by 10% the number of freight transportation-related fatalities by 2015.
- Reduce national freight transportation-related carbon dioxide levels by 40% by 2030.
- Reduce freight transportation-related air, water, and noise pollution and impacts on ecosystems and communities on an annual basis.
The FREIGHT Act also would create a new competitive grant program for freight-specific infrastructure projects, such as port infrastructure improvements, freight rail capacity expansion projects, and highway projects that improve access to freight facilities.
Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010 (S.3629)