Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!



Infrastructure’s unsolved riddle

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 23, 2010

In case you missed it, a trio of like-minded Senators rolled out some very interesting “FREIGHT”-focused legislation yesterday.

LM reported on this yesterday, noting that this ambitious legislation puts freight—and goods movement—as a real driver of economic change and gains should this legislation one day be enacted into law or rolled into a larger bill (SAFETEA-LU, the next phase, perhaps?

Among the items the bill proposes are:

  • to reduce delays of goods and commodities entering into and out of intermodal connectors that serve international points of entry on an annual basis;
  • increase travel time reliability on major freight corridors that connect major population centers with freight generators and   international gateways on an annual basis;
  • reduce the number of transportation-related fatalities by 10 percent by   2015;
  • reduce national freight transportation-related carbon dioxide levels by 40 percent by 2030; and
    reduce freight transportation-related air, water, and noise pollution and impacts on ecosystems and communities on an annual basis.

These are all very good ideas that could, in fact, go a long way in improving the economy and having freight play a key role in the process…..if it were not only for one thing—-money—and lots of it.

This bill, like the six-year, $450 billion surface transportation reauthorization penned by Congressman James L. Oberstar last year, simply does not have a tangible way of getting the resources it needs to get off the ground and make a difference.

That much was obvious, given the absence of a dollar figure or estimate in yesterday’s bill. Coalition of America’s Gateways Executive Director Leslie Blakey made it clear on a conference call yesterday that the bill’s absence of funding was not by accident.

She said the matter of funding needs to be overseen by the Senate Finance Committee, adding that from a cost perspective this bill may be better off as an individual effort as opposed to a bigger bill.

What’s more, she pointed out that the “cards are stacked” against SAFETEA-LU truly going anywhere in the short term.

And even though the most obvious remedy for funding—raising a gas tax which has not budged since 1993—is clearly off the table, as per the words of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on more than one occasion, the available remedies out there to fund a bill of this kind are limited to put it mildly.

LaHood recently touted increased tolling revenues, coupled with the gas tax, to serve as the funding engine, but that appears to be a tough sell to the freight transportation community at this point.

With so many great ideas out there to help give freight a seat at the table to make things better on myriad levels, we as a nation need to find a way to pony up to make it reality. But for now the question remains how it should be accomplished.

What is the solution when it comes to transportation funding? Newsroom Notes wants to know.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
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. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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!

Recent Entries

FTR says both spot rates and contract rates are heading up in a full capacity environment and with the fall shipping season rapidly approaching, it explained conditions for shippers could further deteriorate.

Read how others are using Business Process Management to achieve ERP success with Microsoft Dynamics AX. Download the free white paper now.

Now that Congress has issued another highway funding Band-Aid – a $10.9 billion highway bill through next May that former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blasted as “totally inadequate” – what can we expect as the infamously do-nothing 113th Congress winds down in the next month before taking yet another recess to prep for the mid-term elections?

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in July headed up 1.3 percent on the heels of a 0.8 percent increase in June. The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 133.3 in July, which outpaced June’s 132.3 by 0.8 percent, and was up 2.8 percent annually.

Volumes for the month of July at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) were mixed, according to data recently issued by the ports. Unlike May and June, which saw higher than usual seasonal volumes, due to the West Coast port labor situation, July was down as retailers had completed filling inventories for back-to-school shopping.

Article Topics

Blogs · Intermodal · Transportation · SAFETEA-LU · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA