December 8, 2011
“America’s freight transportation system is a national asset and critical to our productivity and global competitiveness,” said Rep. Smith. “Over the next 20 years, it is estimated that the volume of domestic freight will double while international freight will triple. This bill ensures our freight and transportation infrastructure remains competitive and strengthens economic growth.”
This legislation creates the Freight Mobility Infrastructure Improvement Program within the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide long-term financing for critical infrastructure improvement goals. Through it, states, ports and regional transportation authorities would work in collaboration with non-governmental stakeholders and freight transportation industry entities to identify high-priority projects and apply for funds. The Secretary of Transportation would then competitively award grants based upon a project’s impact on freight mobility improvement, cost effectiveness, and regional/national economic impact.
“Our multimodal freight transportation system is a national asset that we have failed to appreciate and support. Nowhere is this need more pressing than in the freight system that provides for our nation’s commerce,” said Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Meyer. “Without strategic corridor investments to expand capacity and increase efficiency, U.S. productivity and global competitiveness will suffer, costs will increase and investment will lag. We applaud Congressman Smith’s efforts to make this vision of strategic freight mobility a reality.”
Funds for this program would be generated by a freight-specific user fee and deposited into a newly-created National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Fund exclusively dedicated to supporting freight mobility projects. The fee would be imposed at a rate of one percent on the fair market value of multi-modal ground transportation costs, with a few exceptions for federal, state and local government transportation, and transport within a local geographic area.
“We applaud Congressman Smith for recognizing the importance of freight infrastructure and the need to support it with a responsible freight user fee,” said Leslie Blakely, executive director of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors. “Our national freight system needs significant investment for our manufacturers, producers and consumers to compete in the world marketplace. This legislation will help build the needed infrastructure while fairly spreading the burden among system users.”
For more information on Congressman Smith’s support of national transportation and infrastructure improvements, visit https://adamsmith.house.gov.