Oberstar continues to push for more transportation infrastructure investment

Transportation in the News

UPS aircraft mechanics sign off on authorizing strike vote
Ocean Alliance gets formal FMC approval
AAR reports more declines for week ending October 8
Container shipping market has bottomed out, says Drewry
Truckers in a ‘funk’ after softer-than-expected volumes, eye better times in 2017
More Transportation News

Transportation Resource

Cold Chain Gains Traction in Emerging Markets
The recent Global Cold Chain Alliance report shows that temperature-controlled warehouse space has experienced steady growth since 2014. Emerging markets, including those with undeveloped transport infrastructure, played a key role in this trend in spite of lingering challenges.
All Resources
By ·

WASHINGTON—When it comes to transportation infrastructure spending and innovation, the world is in the passing lane and the United States in the breakdown lane with a broken axle. At least that’s how Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, currently sees it.

On the heels of historic health care reform, Oberstar is imploring the nation to reach deep into its pockets for a six-year, $450 million surface transportation bill (with another $100 million for mass transit) and said he is “open to all ideas” on how to pay for it—except one.

“I’m open to all ideas except tolling for existing highways,” Rep. Oberstar said. “We’ve paid for those highways once. We’re not going to pay for them again.”

Oberstar, speaking at the spring conference of the American Association of Port Authorities, said Europe and Asia are outspending the U.S. on infrastructure and the results show. For instance, he noted a high speed train that connects Paris to Brussels—244 miles, in 45 minutes. By comparison, Amtrak’s fastest train connects New York to Washington that covers 244 miles in 2-½ hours.

“And I guarantee you it goes 135 miles per hour for three minutes,” Oberstar quipped. “What are we, a third world country? We’re not doing things right in this country. We need a new Interstate Highway process.”

Two recent commissions on that process have called for investing $106 billion a year over the next 20 years to maintain the current system, compared to the $80 billion a year currently spent on highways and bridges by all levels of government.

“We need to get people moving again,” Oberstar said, “and get them out of traffic. What are we leaving for the next generation? What investments are we making to make their lives better?

The nation is ignoring ocean and water shipping as well, said Oberstar, who called for a “new understanding” of our relationship with water to help modernize maritime shipping. “Our great cities were great ports before they were cities,” he said. “Ports are a driving engine of our economy,” he said, noting that they produce 13.3 million jobs and generate $3 trillion in revenue, or 15 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

“In the maritime business, you cannot afford to think small,” Oberstar implored port officials. “You have to think bigger.”

Invoking the memories of the great clipper ships and using quotations from poet Lord Byron, Oberstar, a 35-year member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is strongly pushing a six-year, $450 billion bill to replace the $286 billion expired SAFE-TEA-LU highway bill. He also wants to spend $100 million on mass transit in that span.

About the Author

John D. Schulz
John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. John is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis.

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
Efficiency improvements in Track/Trace Enhances Customer Loyalty
Consumer satisfaction with the quality of your products is clearly important, but the service you provide before and after the sale is equally important to any business, but often overlooked as benefiting the bottom line.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Over the past decade we’ve seen a major trend in regards to safety regulations for freight transport within the United States as well as for import and export shippers—that trend is the “international­ization” of rules and regulations.
European Logistics Update: Post-Brexit U.K. moving ahead, but in which direction?
Badcock Home Furniture &more: Out with paper, in with Cloud TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
How API Technology Connects the Transportation Economy
Dynamic decision making is made possible through accurate, actionable data. When combined with progress in data science and the Internet of Things, technology companies that add value to direct-to-carrier APIs and combine them with high-power data analytics will create new concepts for the information economy.
Register Today!
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...

2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...