Cantwell, Markey, Booker, Murray, Introduce Comprehensive Freight Investment Legislation

Eliminates chokepoints at critical highway, rail, port, and intermodal facilities to support economic growth

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ),Patty Murray (D-WA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced legislation to establish the nation’s first multimodal freight investment policy to keep America businesses, farmers, and shippers competitive the 21st century global economy.  The National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act (S.1680) creates a comprehensive, strategic plan for multimodal freight investment and reduces freight bottlenecks and congestion by investing in our nation’s network of highways, railroads, ports, and intermodal facilities. It would also reduce the impact of freight movement on communities and help ensure the vitality of important “last-mile” freight connections. The bill is based, in part, upon the recommendations of the nonpartisan U.S. Department of Transportation National Freight Advisory Committee, which was established by former Secretary Ray LaHood.

“In Washington, port jobs are at risk unless we improve our freight infrastructure and reduce bottlenecks. International trade opportunities are growing and our competitors are investing - the Panama Canal is expanding and ports like Prince Rupert in Canada are presenting new challenges. We need a national focus on freight mobility to offer our goods and services more competitively to customers around the world. This legislation will help. It builds off recommendations from the National Freight Advisory Committee. Freight bottlenecks and other forms of congestion cost us about $200 billion per year – and that is a cost we cannot afford,” said Senator Cantwell.

“New Jersey is home to a diverse transportation network of highways, rail, and ports.  In order to remain globally competitive, it is vital that we adopt policies that invest in all modes of transportation as these systems work together to deliver the goods Americans depend on,” said Senator Booker. “The freight industry provides millions of jobs in New Jersey and across the country. I am pleased to join my colleague Senator Cantwell to promote legislation that will make freight rail systems more efficient and provide new resources to support our nation’s freight networks.”

“I am proud to support a bill that will make critical investments in freight mobility and ensure goods are moved across the nation safely and efficiently. This is particularly important in Washington state where exports are so important to the economy,” said Senator Murray. “By working to improve freight mobility on roads, rails and at ports, we are helping businesses grow and making communities safer.”

“Whether by plane, train, automobile or ship, the safe and efficient movement of goods drives our economy. This legislation will invest smartly in our nation’s infrastructure by establishing a multimodal freight investment grant program to reduce delays in shipments and congestion on our roads and rail.  I commend Senators Cantwell, Booker, and Murray for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with them to enact this proposal,” said Senator Markey.

“AAPA applauds the continued leadership on freight policy and investment needs by Senators Cantwell, Booker, Murray, and Markey. Provisions included in TheNational Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act will help provide our country with the tools to build and utilize a 21st century multimodal freight network. America’s seaports are the very definition of multimodalism and we look forward to working with the Senators and their colleagues toward ensuring that the freight transportation system is an integral part of the transportation reauthorization process,” said Kurt Nagle, President & CEO, American Association of Port Authorities.

“Without a strategic, multimodal freight program, America cannot unlock its economic competitiveness potential. While businesses and jobs rely on a seamless, efficient multimodal system, freight planning and funding in this country are simply insufficient to keep goods moving as our economy and population grow. CAGTC applauds Senators Cantwell, Booker, Murray, and Markey for proposing a solution – the National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act -- which creates a strong national multimodal freight policy and investment program based on the recommendations of the National Freight Advisory Committee. We commend the Senators for being leaders on this critical issue and look forward to working with them toward our shared goal of improving our multimodal goods movement network,” said Elaine Nessle, Executive Director, Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC).

Details of the Bill:

  • Establishes a program to invest in multimodal freight projects to ensure the United States maximizes its competitiveness in the global economy.

-          Authorized for appropriations at $2 billion for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2021.

  • Reduces the impact of freight on communities by investing in grade separations to reduce truck and rail network delays, eliminate congestion, and reduce highway/rail conflicts.

-          Authorized for appropriations at $150 million for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2021.

  • Repairs critical last-mile short-line rail connections to agricultural and industrial centers.

-          Authorized for appropriations at $50 million for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2021.

  • Creates a strong national multimodal freight policy that represents the true, multimodal nature of freight mobility where goods move between the many different modes. Strategically identifies freight bottlenecks, major trade corridors, and helps prioritize federal investment.
  • Amplifies the voice of local and regional freight stakeholders through state multimodal freight advisory committees and state multimodal freight plans.
  • Expedites permitting for freight projects with a new office of freight planning, permitting, and development that gives freight a strong, coordinated voice across the many modes at USDOT.

For more information on the National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act, visithttp://go.usa.gov/3v8yV