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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Foxx: Freight projections underscore need for better infrastructure


The number of freight tons moving across the United States is estimated to increase 40 percent and the value of freight will almost double over the next three decades, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced yesterday.

In his Fast Lane blog, the secretary noted that the latest freight projections from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that in 2015, nearly 18.1 billion tons of goods — worth about $19.2 trillion — moved across the nation. On a daily basis, that amounts to about 49 million tons of goods valued at more than $53 million that are moved on the U.S. transportation system, the secretary said.

The BTS/FHWA projection of 40 percent growth reinforces the need to boost the nation's freight capacity, Foxx said.

"For a freight system that already struggles to meet that level of activity, 40 percent growth poses a significant challenge. Even more eye-opening, today's projections also feature a High Growth path that anticipates nearly 57 percent growth," he wrote.

The new long-term surface transportation law — known as the FAST Act — contains several provisions that address the nation's freight capacity, he noted. And last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the availability of $800 million in the new FASTLANE grant program for freight projects.

Also, President Obama's proposed fiscal-year 2017 budget includes $98 million in transportation investments, Foxx noted.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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