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Rail News: Intermodal

Legislators debut bill to invest in multimodal freight infrastructure

U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) late last week introduced a new bill that would invest $2 billion each year in multimodal freight infrastructure.

Known as the National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act (S. 1680), the legislation was created based on recommendations developed by the National Freight Advisory Committee, which is organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

Through a competitive grant program, a total of $12 billion would be distributed over a six-year period, according to a press release from the Coalition for America's Gateways & Trade Corridors (CAGTC).

"As freight volume grows, capacity across all modes will be stretched and it is vital to make multimodal improvements and enhancements so our nation remains globally competitive," said CAGTC Chair Sharon Neely. "These types of critical investments act as economic multipliers, supporting family-wage jobs, domestic manufacturing, and our regional and national economies."

The bill advances other measures toward the creation of a national multimodal freight investment program, including establishing a new office for multimodal freight within the USDOT. The new office would administer the new freight mobility program and facilitate planning and permitting among various modal agencies.

The bill also proposes to:
• strengthen state-level multimodal freight planning that calls for both public and private sector involvement and input;
• develop a multimodal freight network; and
• establish a multimodal freight policy that provides a comprehensive view of the nation's transportation network.

"I am proud to support a bill that will make critical investments in freight mobility and ensure goods are moved across the nation safely and efficiently,” said Murray. “This is particularly important in Washington state where exports are so important to the economy.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/29/2015