Draft legislation of Senate EPW Committee surface transportation bill is well-received

Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee have been working on draft legislation focusing on reauthorizing the country’s surface transportation programs.

By ·

Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee have been working on draft legislation focusing on reauthorizing the country’s surface transportation programs.

The legislation, entitled, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), addresses various issues related to future planning and goals for surface transportation, according to EPW, including:
-funding programs at current levels to maintain and modernize our critical transportation infrastructure;
-eliminating earmarks;
-consolidates numerous programs to focus resources on key national goals and reduce duplicative and wasteful programs;
-consolidating numerous programs into a more focused freight program that will improve the movement of goods; and
-creating a new section called America Fast Forward, which strengthens the TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) program to stretch federal dollars further than they have been stretched before, among others.

“We are pleased to announce the great progress we have made on a new transportation authorization bill,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Committee, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, in a joint statement.  “Throughout the 25 transportation hearings convened by this Committee…we heard that there is tremendous support from businesses, workers, and the American people for a transportation bill that leverages our federal dollars while maintaining a responsible fiscal path.”

The senators added that in cooperation with the Finance Committee, they are exploring a wide range of options to support and sustain the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).
The HTF Highway Trust Fund is comprised of revenues collected from the federal gasoline tax and they are used for annual highway and transit programs. The federal gasoline tax at 19.4 cents for gasoline and 23.4 cents for diesel and has not been increased since 1993. But raising the tax has long been labeled by lawmakers on both side of the aisle as a “non-starter,” especially now, given the focus on fiscal austerity in light of the recent mid-term elections.

With the HTF not likely to increase anytime soon and surface transportation funding being kept intact at current levels through the end of the fiscal year through a series of continuing resolutions, stakeholders in the freight and logistics community are clamoring for a bill that can address needed transportation infrastructure issues and also be done in a cost-effective manner.

The EPW legislation was well-received by the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC).
“We are delighted to see a focused freight program identified as part of the core content of the upcoming bill and look forward to seeing the bill language addressing the critical needs of our nation’s freight gateways, corridors and hubs,” said CAGTC Executive Director Leslie Blakey in a statement. “Investment in this essential driver now will pay dividends in the near future and for generations to come. We applaud the work of both Committees and are very pleased to see the growing recognition of the importance of a dedicated program for multimodal freight.”

Former House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar said at the NASSTRAC Logistics Conference and Expo earlier this year that more priority needs to be placed on the movement of freight in the U.S., given the aging transportation system which is no longer keeping pace with international trade and has a direct impact on the economy and job growth.

This is key considering the U.S. transportation infrastructure system has long been the envy of the world, with Oberstar pointing out that would not be possible without the financial support of the Highway Trust Fund.

“The answer is American ingenuity and know how and the necessity and will to make it work,” said Oberstar. “But today we are investing 1.9 percent of our GDP in our infrastructure. Europe is investing 5 percent, and China is investing 9 percent. You often hear things like ‘we will do more with less,’ but nobody does more with less with infrastructure.”


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Download the Full 2017 Logistics Management Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your logistics and supply chain peers? Find out by downloading the full 2017 Salary Survey from Logistics Management
Download Today!
From the April 2017 Issue
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management market, and in marked contrast to 2016, paints a rosier outlook for career placement and advancement.
Is Your Tractor Trailer Yard a Black Hole?
Information Management: Wearables come in for a refit
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Maximize Your LTL Driver Adherence with Real-time Feedback
This webinar shows how companies are using real-time performance data to optimize the scheduling of their city fleets, as well as the routing of their standard, accelerated and time-critical shipments.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...

ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...