With just six weeks remaining until current highway law expires, two U.S. Representatives joined stakeholders in urging Congress to pass a long-term highway reauthorization bill that includes dedicated funding for freight infrastructure.
Speaking at a press conference April 21, Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) said to remain competitive the U.S. must invest in national freight infrastructure and commit to properly addressing the freight infrastructure crisis.
“The heart of our national economy is our goods movement system, but our ports, bridges, highways, and rail systems are falling apart around us,” Rep. Lowenthal said. “To remain competitive as a nation we must invest in our national freight infrastructure--repair it, and upgrade it.”
Rep. Lowenthal in early March introduced H.R. 1308, “Economy in Motion: The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act,” that would establish a Freight Trust Fund funded by a 1 percent fee on the costs of transporting goods. Rep. Lowenthal estimated the bill would raise $8 billion per year for freight projects.
The measure also directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a multimodal freight funding formula program to distribute funds to states and a national freight infrastructure competitive grant program to make grants to entities for projects to improve the efficiency and reliability of freight movement.
The bill, which has been referred to the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, has nine co-sponsors, including Rep. Lawrence.
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) earlier this year also introduced H.R. 935, the “National Freight Network Trust Fund Act of 2015,” that would establish a Freight Trust Fund and utilize 5 percent of all import duties collected by Customs and Border Protection at U.S. ports of entry to generate $2 billion a year.
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