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Rockefeller-Lautenberg bill aims to increase the use of intercity passenger rail, freight transportation provided by non-truck modes


Yesterday, Sens. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009.

The legislation’s lofty goal: to establish a “comprehensive and unifying mission for the nation’s surface transportation system,” in part by boosting the use of intercity passenger rail and the proportion of freight transportation provided by rail and other non-truck modes.

Specifically, the Act aims to:
• reduce national per capita motor vehicle miles traveled on an annual basis;
• reduce national motor vehicle-related fatalities by 50 percent by 2030;
• reduce national surface transportation-generated carbon dioxide levels by 40 percent by 2030;
• reduce national surface transportation delays per capita on an annual basis;
• increase the percentage of system-critical surface transportation assets that are in a state of good repair by 20 percent by 2030;
• increase the total usage of public transportation, intercity passenger rail services, and non-motorized transportation on an annual basis;
• increase the proportion of national freight transportation provided by non-highway or multimodal services by 10 percent by 2020; and
• reduce passenger and freight transportation delays and congestion at international points of entry on an annual basis.

“We need to establish a blueprint for a 21st century surface transportation system,” said Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, in a prepared statement. “This bill does just that. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on this blueprint as we move forward on reauthorizing and reforming the surface transportation programs.”  

Added Lautenberg, who chairs the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation: “We need a transportation policy that reestablishes our leadership throughout the world when it comes to transportation — and meets our country’s transportation demands for generations to come. This legislation will establish a national policy that improves safety, reduces congestion, creates jobs and protects our environment.”

In a prepared statement, Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ed Hamberger praised the senators’ “vision in setting the stage for the creation of a comprehensive integrated plan that addresses the challenges facing our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/15/2009