Oberstar continues to push for more transportation infrastructure investment


Transportation in the News

STB issues follow-up letter to CSX over service-related concerns
AAR reports annual U.S. rail carload and intermodal gains for the week ending August 12
July Cass Freight Index Report points to annual gains and sequential declines
Truckload spot and contract rates seeing a summer bounce, says DAT
Food logistics enters new transformational stage
More Transportation News

Transportation Resource

Quarterly Air Cargo Update: Confidence on a Steady Climb
While the continued growth of air cargo demand is consistent with an improvement in world trade, analysts now contend that the pressure is on the market to improve its value proposition by accelerating process modernization and enhancing customer service.
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
Outsourced Transportation Management
All the benefits of owning a fleet without the headache of managing it.
Download Today!
From the August 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service excellence finish line ahead of their competitors? Our readers have cast their votes, and now it’s time to introduce this year’s winners of the coveted Quest for Quality Awards.
BMW Takes the Inland Road to Efficiency
Global Logistics: No Shortcuts to Security
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Getting the most out of your 3PL relationship
Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...
2017 Top 50 3PLs: Investment and Consolidation Maintain Traction
The trend set over the past few years for mergers and acquisitions has hardly subsided, and a fresh...

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...