Federal freight funding

The problem
While MAP-21 calls for the development of a national freight network and a national freight strategic plan, no dedicated freight funding mechanism was established. This makes plan implementation 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, supporting high quality transportation service for all Americans. However, a new freight funding program would balance and separate these interests.

Freight mobility investments create jobs
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “productivity growth in freight transportation has long been a driving force for the growth of U.S. overall productivity and contributed directly to the growth of the U.S. GDP.” There is a strong correlation, for example, between truck and rail ton-miles of travel and real gross domestic product. The correlation between freight mobility and jobs can be found at the Port of Tacoma. Over 43,000 direct jobs in Pierce County and 113,000 direct jobs in Washington state are related to the Port of Tacoma. This includes not only longshore, truck drivers and distribution center employees, but also growers and manufacturers who count on efficient access to the Port for export opportunities. Statewide, $27 million of freight moves on Washington roadways every hour of every day. In 2009, our system of roads, rails, ports, marine waterways and intermodal facilities supported total exports from Washington valued at $52 billion. In 2010, freight-dependent industries accounted for approximately 44 percent of Washington’s jobs. Our multimodal freight transportation system, however, is a national asset which we have failed to appreciate and support. Without a campaign of strategic investment to expand capacity and increase efficiency, U.S. productivity and global competitiveness will suffer, costs will increase and investment will lag.

Port of Tacoma position
The Port supports creating dedicated multi-modal freight funds—both formula and competitive grants— that support the implementation of a national freight strategy.

Relevance to broader policy objectives Contact:
Sean Eagan Government Affairs Director seagan@portoftacoma.com (253) 428-8663
(Printed January 2013)

The benefits of freight improvements are substantial. Sustainable goods movement lies at the center 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 environmental quality. 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 job opportunities and a higher standard of living for Americans. But these benefits will last only if we are able to keep moving the goods

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful