CONGRESSIONAL FREIGHT PANEL’S UNANIMOUS VERDICT: FREIGHT INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS INVESTMENT
Port of Los Angeles Applauds Bi-Partisan Directive That Calls for Freight-Focused Competitive Grant Program, Multimodal Freight Network, and Dedicated, Sustained Funding
SAN PEDRO, Calif. — Oct. 31, 2013 — Following six months of exhaustive investigation into our nation’s freight network, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation produced their report, finding that significant investment is needed in our freight transportation system.
The group of 11 members of Congress, representing our nation’s geographic and political diversity, signed off on their 100-plus page report, which included a number of specific recommendations, including a call to dedicate funding for freight infrastructure, designation of a multimodal freight network, and the sustained continuation of a freight-focused Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS) competitive grant program — all policies The Port of Los Angeles has long promoted.
“We applaud the committee, particularly Congresswoman Janice Hahn, who represents the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, for its commitment to improving our transportation freight network,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.
Specifically, the Panel recommends that Congress:
· “Authorize dedicated, sustainable funding for multimodal freight PNRS”: Authorize dedicated, sustainable funding for multimodal freight PNRS through a competitive grant process and establish clear benchmarks for project selection;
· “Establish a comprehensive national freight transportation policy and designate a national, multimodal freight network”: As called for in Panel Member Rep. Sires’ (D-NJ) MOVE Freight Act of 2013 (H.R. 974), freight policy and planning should incorporate the many modes of transportation that move goods;
· “Ensure robust public investment in all modes”: Freight does not move on highways alone – where public benefit is derived, public investment must be made. Further, private investment should be encouraged when possible and appropriate; and
· “Identify and recommend sustainable sources of revenue across all modes”: Sustainable freight revenue sources should be identified and evaluated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Congress prior to the next surface transportation authorization.
During an Oct. 29 press conference, Panel Members explained their findings: investment must be made to avoid being in the same situation 10 years from now, freshman Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) succinctly stated. Congressman Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) emphasized the inherent link between a free-flowing freight network and our nation’s global economic competitiveness and jobs market. The Panel’s Ranking Member, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) noted that finding a revenue source to fund freight would not be an easy task, but the report gives evidence that investment is needed and suggestions for possible revenue sources. The 11 bipartisan signatures show new resolve to find a solution.
“As a representative of a port community and co-founder of the Congressional PORTS Caucus, I am pleased that the final report includes recommendations that encourage ports and intermodal facilities to maximize efficiency through off-peak cargo movement, supports full-utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and urges Congress to require critical freight infrastructure operators to develop cyber vulnerability assessments and incident response plans,” said Congresswoman Hahn.
The Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation convened in April, 2013 and members served for a period of six months before issuing the recommendations. The Panel’s six Republicans and five Democrats were tasked with examining the current state of freight transportation and how improving the system would affect the U.S. economy. The group traveled to several freight hubs across the nation, including the Port of Los Angeles, speaking at length with system users, carriers, and providers. The Panel’s recommendations can be accessed here.
The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates more than 830,000 regional jobs and $35 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. The Port of Los Angeles – A cleaner port. A brighter future.