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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Sen. Cantwell to introduce multi-modal freight bill


U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) on Tuesday announced plans to soon introduce a bill that would adopt many of the recommendations recently made by the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) National Freight Advisory Committee.

The legislation would streamline permitting for multi-modal freight projects; require every state to develop multi-modal freight plans and local freight advisory committees; foster funding for multi-modal freight projects at key bottlenecks and first- and last-mile connectors in critical trade corridors; and provide the USDOT resources to advance freight-flow research, said Cantwell in a press release.

It's imperative the nation improves its multi-modal freight system and that the next federal surface transportation bill creates dedicated sources to pay for projects that would help trains, trucks, ships and planes more efficiently move goods, she said.

For far too long, national freight policy has been "an unpredictable, unsustainable guessing game about how, when and if our priorities will get funded," said Cantwell. Only a reliable and consistent dedicated multi-modal trust fund will help ensure freight projects receive funding, she believes.

"Any new transportation proposal must include a dedicated source of funding for multi-modal freight," said Cantwell. "We can’t stay competitive in exports without a competitive freight policy."

Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) officials hailed Cantwell and her legislative endeavor.

"Maria has been a stalwart freight advocate since her election to Congress," said CAGTC President and Executive Director Leslie Blakey in a prepared statement. "We commend her for continuing this campaign by developing legislation that will encompass both strategic freight planning and investment."

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More News from 7/18/2014