DOT announces members of National Freight Advisory Committee
June 03, 2013
United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced the 47 members of the National Freight Advisory Committee.
The National Freight Advisory Committee was established in February. DOT said the objective of the committee is to provide recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on how DOT can improve its freight transportation policies and programs.
A significant component of last summer’s transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) established a national freight policy and called for the creation of a National Freight Strategic Plan which encourages state freight plans and advisory committees, and provides incentives for states that fund projects to improve freight movement, focusing on reducing congestion, increasing productivity, improving the safety, security and resilience of freight transportation.
DOT said the committee will provide advice and recommendations geared towards improving the national freight transportation system, which, it said, is critical to the nation’s economy and key to help meet the White House’s goal of doubling exports by 2015.
“The strength of our economy and the strength of our national freight system go hand in hand,” said LaHood in a statement. “The members of this committee understand firsthand the critical importance of freight movement, and their valuable insight will help ensure that our system is more secure and better connected.”
The nearly 50 members of the National Freight Advisory Committee are from outside the DOT, and the Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, as well as representatives from other Federal agencies with freight-related obligations will serve as ex-officio members, the DOT said.
It added that the members come with various perspectives on freight transportation and represent various modes of transportation, geographic regions, and policy areas, saying that shippers and transportation and logistics services providers, labor representatives, safety experts and government entities are all represented as well.
DOT said that members will serve two-year terms and meet at least three times per year, with the first meeting scheduled for June 25, 2013, at the Department of Transportation and will include an overview of MAP-21 Freight provisions and preliminary identification of NFAC activities.
The National Freight Advisory Committee was endorsed by various freight transportation experts when it was initially announced.
“This is a big deal and something we have asked DOT to do for some time,” said Mort Downey, Coalitions for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) Chairman former deputy Transportation Secretary under President Clinton. “As they proceed with their strategize freight plan and with the long term steps to carry out an effective freight program, such an advisory group can play a very critical role.”
CAGTC Executive Director Leslie Blakey also lauded it.
“Creation of this Committee shows great leadership by the Administration and serves as further evidence of their commitment to improving U.S. freight mobility,” said Blakey in a statement. “Our Coalition has long-held that regular coordination and consultation between the private and public sectors at the national level would benefit freight movement and improve policy-making. This Committee will contribute practical experience to the process of implementing MAP-21 freight provisions, while helping to lay a path with creative concepts for freight in the next authorization.”
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