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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Rep. Hahn introduces National Freight Network Trust Fund Act

U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) recently introduced the National Freight Network Trust Fund Act of 2014 (H.R. 5101), which would transfer 5 percent of all import duties collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to a Freight Trust Fund for transportation projects.

The federal agency currently collects $38 billion annually. If passed, the measure generate about $1.9 billion for the fund each year. The legislation also would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to work with the National Freight Advisory Committee to identify necessary improvements to the nation’s freight system and provide grants for the improvements.

"We have an infrastructure crisis in our nation, and if we want to remain globally competitive, I believe it's the movement of our goods that's the ticket to this nation's economic health and success," said Hahn in a press release. "Everything that supports freight movement in this country should be funded and should have a dedicated revenue stream."

H.R. 5101 was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill currently has seven co-sponsors.

Coalition for America's Gateways & Trade Corridors (CAGTC) officials commended Hahn for "making freight infrastructure a priority and developing legislation that stands to enhance the goods movement system that supports our national economy," they said in a statement.

"For many years, [we have] supported the development of a freight-specific competitive grant program that distributes money to meritorious projects that will enhance system performance," said CAGTC President and Executive Director Leslie Blakey. "We appreciate the congresswoman’s work in this area and look forward to working with her to see that our shared vision of a well-funded freight system is achieved."

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More News from 7/24/2014