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AASHTO report: Nation needs to boost freight transportation capacity, dependability


The nation’s freight transportation system is facing a crisis that could result in more trucks moving on more congested highways within 20 years, according to a report released last week by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Titled “Unlocking Freight, an Analysis of America’s Freight System,” the report states that railroads, highways, ports, waterways and airports require investments well beyond current levels to maintain and improve freight mobility. The report identifies key projects in 30 states that would improve freight delivery and dependability, and outlines a three-point plan for relieving freight congestion, generating jobs and improving productivity.

Despite more long-distance freight being moved by intermodal rail, trucks continue to haul 74 percent of all cargo, according to the report. By 2035, the number of trucks traveling on the nation’s highways is expected to increase from 10,500 to 22,700 daily.

“We must invest to maintain and strengthen the American ‘transconomy,’” said AASHTO President and Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Larry Brown in a prepared statement. "Congress must invest in all transportation modes, from waterways to roads and rails, to get us where we need to be as a competitive nation.”

Unlocking Freight is the second in a series of reports issued by AASHTO — which represents DOTs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — to identify the need to increase transportation system capacity.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/12/2010