Oberstar continues to push for more transportation infrastructure investment


Transportation in the News

Global ports sector faces structurally slower growth, says Fitch Ratings
California leads the way in addressing transport infrastructure
Buoyed by e-commerce, secondary industrial markets have strong future growth prospects, says CBRE
U.S.-NAFTA trade is up for sixth straight month, reports BTS
AAR reports annual U.S. carload and intermodal gains for week ending June 17
More Transportation News

Transportation Resource

Making the Case: A Modern-Day Transportation Management System
The modern day supply chain has become a competitive tool for companies of all sizes and across all industries. At the same time, the transportation industry looks drastically different than it did 20 years ago, when most transportation management systems (TMS) were originally designed.
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
Digital Issue: The Current State of Third-Party Logistics Services
It has become quite clear that logistics professionals are now facing an unprecedented set of challenges. From tightening capacity, to ongoing regulation hurdles, to the complexity brought on by e-commerce, today’s shippers are transforming the way they manage their logistics operations.
Download Today!
From the June 2017 Issue
Here are five trends that every shipper­—and potential shipper—must watch as the demand for experienced logistics and supply chain professionals soars.
2017 Rail/Intermodal Roundtable: Volume stable, business steady
Cross-Border Logistics: NAFTA tune-up time
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Women in Logistics: Breaking Gender Roles to Win the War for Talent
In this session you'll hear from a panel of women who are now leading top-level logistics and supply chain operations. The panel will share their success stories as well as advice for women who are now making their way up the ladder.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
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...
The Evolution of the Digital Supply Chain
Everyone is talking about terms like digitization, Industry 4.0 and digital supply chain management,...

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...