“The movement of freight is critical for the strength of our economy,” said Congressman Smith. “Investment in our freight transportation infrastructure provides tangible benefits by improving our capacity to move goods and support job creation.”
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, passed by Congress in 2015, made dedicated investments to freight and highway projects across the country through a grant program and formula funding. In order to build on that progress, Congress should create a national freight discretionary grant program supported by an authorized and dedicated sustainable funding source, there must be an additional freight specific grant program funded by a dedicated source of revenue. This program should be used for the sole purpose of funding regionally significant freight projects that will improve mobility and shore up our nation’s shipping infrastructure.
The Freight Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2016 creates grants specifically for freight infrastructure projects, establishing a dedicated funding source for these projects by creating a National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Fund through a one percent fee on the shipment of freight cargo. This bill will establish a National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Improvement Program to work alongside the FASTLane Grants program to provide competitive grants to states and designated entities for projects that would improve rail and roadway capacity and safety. These funds will support local projects like the construction of grade separations and railroad and highway junctions, the expansion of rail and highway tunnels, the reinforcement of roads and bridges for heavier traffic and vehicle volume, and the construction of marine terminal facilities used for freight.
“Despite advancements in freight policy and funding through the FAST Act, much more is needed to accommodate forecasted demands on goods movement infrastructure. I applaud Congressman Smith’s dedication to identifying sustainable and robust freight funding that will complement and build upon FAST Act programs,” said Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors President Leslie Blakey. “We thank Congressman Smith for his leadership and significant proposal.”
“This proposal will create a revenue source to address our nation’s most critical freight projects,” said John Creighton, co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “Given the high rate of return freight infrastructure investments can achieve for our economy and the challenges facing our current system, Rep. Smith’s proposal is precisely the type of solution we need. We appreciate his leadership and consistent advocacy for freight.”
Prioritizing U.S. infrastructure investment will further assist our economic recovery, improve safety throughout our transportation system, and ensure the continued strength of the U.S. economy for decades to come.