Washington Notebook: DOT selects experts for Freight Advisory Committee
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday named 47 professionals from industry, academia, labor, safety advocacy and government to its inaugural Freight Advisory Committee, which will provide advice and recommendations for improving the national freight transportation system. Its first order of business will be to help the department create a national freight transportation strategy, as required by last year's MAP-21 surface transportation law.
The DOT said it sought to convene a panel with geographic, transportation and policy diversity. Deputy Secretary John Porcari and Polly Trottenberg, the under secretary for policy, will serve as non-voting members.
Members will serve two-year terms, and the Freight Advisory Committee will meet at least three times per year. The first meeting is scheduled for June 25 at DOT headquarters to organize the group's mission.
The DOT received 260 nominations to participate on the FAC, Porcari said last month at an informal round table on Capitol Hill held by a special House panel examining freight issues.
The list of FAC members is below.
My initial observations are:
- Forty-seven members! Seems unwieldy. Porcari told House lawmakers he envisioned the group being between 30 to 40 members. Other agencies have federal advisory committees with about 20 members.
- Mortimer Downey is ubiquitous. He's the chairman of the of the Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors, he sits on the board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, he's a consultant for engineering giant Parsons Brinckerhoff. He served on the Transportation Policy Committee for the Obama presidential campaign and during the presidential transition led the DOT review team. He's a former deputy secretary of transportation who held the position for eight years, longer than any other individual. And he's a speaker at, or attends, just about every transportation-related conference in D.C.
- The motor carrier industry has some strong opponents on the panel, such as Joan Claybrook and Jeffrey Burns of Parents Against Tired Truckers and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways. These are people who fought for decreasing the hours-of-service rules and other restrictions on trucks they claim are unsafe.
- The aviation sector has three representatives on the panel, although only one from the private sector.
- Five people have ties to water transportation, including three port directors (one from the Great Lakes region) and one from the inland waterways industry. There is nobody from an international ocean carrier.
- There are six local politicians on the FAC. This includes four mayors — Greg Ballard of Indianapolis; Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; A.C. Wharton of Memphis; Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County — as well as John Eaves, chairman of the Fulton County, Ga., Board of Commissioners, and California Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal. Seems like a lot. It might be better to have people from their transportation departments that intimately deal with transportation planning on a daily basis on the committee rather than big political luminaries. But a lot of freight is generated in, or moves through, cities, so having a municipal perspective is beneficial. Indy and Memphis, in particular, are big freight hubs. Maybe someone from FedEx, which is headquartered in Memphis, would bring a more valuable perspective than another mayor.
- The railroad industry has three representatives.
- There are two members of the trucking industry — Randy Mullett of Con-way and John Holmes of UPS Freight — on the panel.
- There are five shippers — Home Depot, Cargil, Arkema, Nucor Steel and True Value. There should have had better variety — perhaps an apparel retailer, pharmaceutical company or a grocer instead of two hardware stores. Majestic Realty is an industrial property company that specializes in warehousing, so it has insight into shippers' needs.
- Stephen Alterman, president, Cargo Airline Association;
- Gregory A. Ballard, mayor of Indianapolis;
- Kevin L. Brubaker, Environmental Law & Policy Center;
- Jeffrey Burns, Parents Against Tired Truckers and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways;
- Terry Button, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association;
- Anne Canby, director, OneRail, a coalition in favor of increased investment in rail infrastructure, including passenger and transit;
- Joan Claybrook, Public Citizen;
- Kristin Decas, director, Port of Hueneme, Calif.;
- Mortimer L. Downey, III, CAGTC;
- John H. Eaves, chairman Board of Commissioners, Fulton County, Ga.;
- John E. Fenton, CEO, Patriot Rail Corp., a short-line railroad holding company;
- Karen Flynn, Arkema Inc., a chemicals manufacturer;
- Carlos A. Gimenez, mayor, Miami-Dade County;
- Genevieve Giuliano, University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy;
- John Thomas Gray, II, senior vice president policy and economics, Association of American Railroads;
- Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Lambert International Airport, St. Louis;
- Brad Hildebrand, Cargill, Inc.;
- Stacey D. Hodge, New York City Department of Transportation;
- James P. Hoffa, International Brotherhood of Teamsters;
- José Holguín-Veras, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;
- Jack Holmes, UPS Freight;
- Richard Inclima, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamster Rail Conference;
- Frances Lee Inman, Majestic Realty Co.;
- Randell Iwasaki, Contra Costa Transportation Authority;
- Michael Jewell, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, AFL-CIO;
- Paul R. Kelly, A & S Service Group;
- Paul C. LaMarre III, director, Port of Monroe, Mich., on Lake Erie;
- Michelle Livingstone, The Home Depot;
- Bonnie Lowenthal, California State Assembly (her district is in the Long Beach area);
- Andrew S. Lynn, director of planning and regional development, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey;
- Randal Mullett, Con-way Inc.;
- Rosa Navejar, The Rios Group;
- Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia;
- Gary A. Palmer, True Value Co.;
- Craig Philip, Ingram Barge Company;
- John Previsich, SMART – Transportation Division;
- William Roberson, Nucor Steel – Berkeley;
- Christopher T. Rodgers, Douglas County, National Association of Counties;
- Mark Andrew Savage, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance/Colorado State Patrol;
- Karen Schmidt, Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board;
- Ann Schneider, Illinois DOT;
- Ricky D. Smith, Department of Port Control, Cleveland Airport;
- Mike Tooley, Montana DOT;
- Peter G. Vigue, Cianbro Companies (construction);
- C. Michael Walton, University of Texas Austin;
- A.C. Wharton, mayor, Memphis, Tenn.;
- Leonard Waterworth, director, Port of Houston Authority.
- Eric Kulisch
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