Federal freight funding
Port of Tacoma position
The Port supports creatingdedicated multi-modalfreight funds—both formulaand competitive grants—that support theimplementation of a nationalfreight strategy.Contact:
(Printed January 2013)
While MAP-21 calls for the development of a national freight network and a national freightstrategic plan, no dedicated freight funding mechanism was established. This makes planimplementation difficult.Moreover, passengers and freight in the U.S. currently compete for an inadequate supply of infrastructure capacity and financial resources. Both suffer. We should not replace or eliminate our current Federal surface transportation program. It should continue, supportinghigh quality transportation service for all Americans. However, a new freight funding programwould balance and separate these interests.
Freight mobility investments create jobs
According to the Bureau of TransportationStatistics, “productivity growth in freighttransportation has long been a drivingforce for the growth of U.S. overall pro-ductivity and contributed directly to thegrowth of the U.S. GDP.” There is a strongcorrelation, for example, between truckand rail ton-miles of travel and real grossdomestic product.The correlation between freight mobilityand jobs can be found at the Port of Tacoma. Over 43,000 direct jobs inPierce County and 113,000 direct jobsin Washington state are related to thePort of Tacoma. This includes not onlylongshore, truck drivers and distributioncenter employees, but also growers and manufacturers who count on efficient access to thePort for export opportunities.Statewide, $27 million of freight moves on Washington roadways every hour of every day. In2009, our system of roads, rails, ports, marine waterways and intermodal facilities supportedtotal exports from Washington valued at $52 billion. In 2010, freight-dependent industriesaccounted for approximately 44 percent of Washington’s jobs.Our multimodal freight transportation system, however, is a national asset which we havefailed to appreciate and support. Without a campaign of strategic investment to expandcapacity and increase efficiency, U.S. productivity and global competitiveness will suffer,costs will increase and investment will lag.
Relevance to broader policy objectives
The benefits of freight improvements are substantial. Sustainable goods movement lies at thecenter of our productivity and quality of life, not only for the availability of consumer products,but because of transportation’s impact on land use, energy consumption and environmentalquality. Improvements to freight infrastructure can result in reduced congestion, better air quality, and less time and fuel wasted. In addition, employment in the logistics sector is one of the fastest growing sources for job creation in the U.S. economy.International trade, combined with domestic growth, has created millions of new jobopportunities and a higher standard of living for Americans. But these benefits will last only if we are able to keep moving the goods