On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) introduced the Multimodal Opportunities via Enhanced (MOVE) Freight Act of 2013, which would provide federal investments in freight transportation projects and strengthen the national freight transportation policy by creating a national plan for moving goods more efficiently by rail, road, water, and air.
The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.).
The MOVE Freight Act would expand the definition of the national freight network to include rail, navigable waterways, inland ports, seaports, freight intermodal connectors, airports and "aerotropolis" transportation systems.
The bill also would create a National Freight Infrastructure Investment Grants program. Eligible projects would include port development, freight-rail improvements, intelligent transportation systems and other projects designed to improve goods movement. Competitive grants would be awarded to projects with the highest system performance improvement relative to their benefit-cost analysis.
"With freight volumes expected to more than double by 2040 to nearly $40 trillion annually, it is imperative that our nation craft a strategic, all-inclusive freight policy that provides for the reliable, efficient and safe movement of goods," said Sires in a prepared statement. "Our transportation infrastructure is outdated and growing congestion has led to increased costs across the nation, [and] this legislation will update the current freight system to ensure our nation is prepared to compete in a global economy."
Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) leaders hailed the introduction of the bill, which they believe would expand upon freight policy milestones established by Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21.
"MAP-21 put freight planning on the map, but there is still work to be done. The MOVE Freight Act would ensure all modes carrying our nation's freight receive full attention in the development of a national plan, and it would also establish a competitive grant program to assist in financing worthy goods movement projects," said CAGTC Chairman Mortimer Downey in a press release. "Our multi-modal freight network is a critical national asset, supporting our economy and ensuring American-produced goods arrive in domestic and foreign markets — it is crucial we strengthen this network with strategic investments and planning."
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