USDOT Creates Formal Council to Implement Intermodal Freight Plan
WASHINGTON, DC… U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Ray LaHood announced the creation of a Freight Policy Council (Council), to be chaired by Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari. The Council will be composed of DOT leadership from highways, rail, ports and airports as well as economic and policy experts from across the Administration, with the mission of implementing the various freight provisions called for in the recently-passed surface transportation authorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). Freight and logistics industries, consumers and other stakeholders will play an advisory role in instituting the freight elements of MAP-21.
“Creation of a high-level, multimodal Freight Policy Council will go far in ensuring MAP-21’s freight provisions increase efficiency across all modes of the national freight network,” said Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (Coalition) Chairman Mortimer Downey. “Establishment of this Council signals a praiseworthy commitment to our national economy and global economic competitiveness. We look forward to working with Deputy Secretary Porcari and members of the Freight Policy Council to continue the progress made in the goods movement space through TIGER and other Administration initiatives.”
Establishment of the Council comes less than three months after Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) wrote Secretary Ray LaHood requesting the Secretary use his administrative powers to create “a high-level and coordinated multimodal freight initiative” tasked with improving freight mobility through improved policy, planning, and investment.
Secretary LaHood made yesterday’s announcement alongside Senator Maria Cantwell at a logistics facility in Seattle. “As one of the most trade-oriented states in the nation, Washington State will benefit greatly from the creation of a federal Freight Policy Council,” said Tim Lovain, Vice President and General Counsel at Denny Miller Associates and Coalition Board Member. “The Council will be able to focus federal freight transportation efforts on major trade gateways that serve the entire nation.”
The newly-formed Council will develop an intermodal national freight strategic plan, as called for in MAP-21. In addition to calling for a national freight strategic plan, MAP-21 also establishes a national freight policy, calls for a biennial freight conditions and performance report, prioritizes funding for projects that move freight, and continues a competitive grant program critical to funding large, multimodal, and oftentimes multi-jurisdictional projects that optimize freight mobility, especially at locations of national significance.