AAPA wants more investment in multimodal projects

An increase in the gas tax and maintaining balanced economic regulation in railroading also were discussed during Wednesday’s Senate committee hearing.

AAPA wants more investment in multimodal projects

An increase in the gas tax and maintaining balanced economic regulation in railroading also were discussed during Wednesday’s Senate committee hearing.

AAPA wants more investment in multimodal projects

An increase in the gas tax and maintaining balanced economic regulation in railroading also were discussed during Wednesday’s Senate committee hearing.

 
The American Association of Port Authorities called for increased funding and eligibility for port-related multimodal projects during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Wednesday.
    “Our ports are struggling with the so-called last- and first-mile connectiveness with those freight bottlenecks,” William Friedman, chairman of AAPA, said. He was of five witnesses who gave testimonies about the necessity of investing in America’s infrastructure during the hearing titled “America’s Infrastructure Needs: Keeping Pace with a Growing Economy.”
    He said AAPA members or ports have identified more than $20 billion in multimodal funding needs for public port authorities over the next decade. Only $1.13 billion of the $11 billion dedicated to freight funding from two FAST Act programs is multimodal eligible, and just $200 million of multimodal eligibility remains of the roughly $2 billion left in the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program, Friedman said.
    Federal grant funding — such as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation program and the INFRA grant program — can “help fund crucial multimodal projects of national and regional significance,” wrote Ian Jefferies, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, in his testimony.
    AAPA offered FAST Act reauthorization recommendations, which include a maritime supply chain title in the next USDOT authorization bill and for funding to support freight infrastructure improvements to come from a gas tax increase, a vehicle miles traveled program or a waybill.
   “Clearly multimodal project funding levels and project eligibility need to be improved,” Friedman said. “Therefore, AAPA recommends the following: All freight program funding should be 100 percent multimodal and the cap on INFRA grants and the formula program should be lifted.”
    Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Association, disagreed with lifting the 10 percent cap on revenue for non-highway projects.   
    “I think the argument is clear that more efficient ports benefit trucking, and that is true,” Spear said. “You could also argue more efficient highways, roads and bridges benefit the ports. The difference is we’re paying half the tab into the trust fund and are willing to pay more.
    “I think if everybody is contributing to the cause and funding a robust infrastructure bill, you’ll see efficiencies across the board,” he added.
   Spear said the country needs to invest in its highways, bridges and roads to improve efficiency and remove gridlock. Highway congestion causes trucking to lose $74.5 billion, which equated to 1.2 billion lost hours in 2016, he said.
    The ATA advocates for passage of the Build America fund, which would increase the price of fuel by 20 cents per gallon at the fuel rack, he said.
    Increasing the cost by 5 cents a year over four years would generate $340 billion over the course of 10 years, he said.   
    “The Build America Fund is the most conservative proposal, costing less than 1 cent on the dollar to administer, versus up to 35 cents on the dollar for tolling schemes,” Spear said. “Lastly, our proposal is sustainable. It shores up the Highway Trust Fund, which will go broke in just a couple years without action and it doesn’t add one dime to our nation’s debt.”
   Jefferies and Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, both urged Congress to develop a user fee that counts for all highway users’ impact on infrastructure.
    “This can be achieved through a vehicle miles traveled fee or a weight distance fee,” Jefferies said. “Such bold action would go a long way in meeting the needs of tomorrow and ensuring equality between freight transportation modes.”
    Jefferies said railroads have invested nearly $700 billion of private capital since 1980 to build and maintain the infrastructure network they use. The investment is due to the regulatory system, which relies on market-based competition, that was established in the 1980s, Jefferies said, and lawmakers and regulators should maintain a balanced structure of economic regulation.
    Policymakers also can support public-private partnerships, he said, and programs like Section 130, which allocated money for installing and upgrading warning devices and improve grade crossing surfaces.
    “Congress can do its part to streamline the permitting process as well to put dollars to work more quickly, not just for rail projects but projects across all modes,” Jefferies said.
   Committee Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said during his opening statement that improving infrastructure is a bipartisan issue that needs to be addressed.
    “Unfortunately, what was once the envy of the world, our infrastructure system has fallen behind on what is required to maintain America’s competitiveness in a global market,” he said. “Fortunately, improving our infrastructure is an area where bipartisan agreement and cooperation can be found. This committee already has built upon and will continue to build on this history of bipartisanship as it relates to transportation and infrastructure legislation.”

We’ve been understanding during this negotiation process, but we cannot withstand another year in which our most important foreign market continues to slip away and soybean prices are 20 to 25%, or even more, below pre-tariff levels.

Twelve container shipping companies deploy capacity from Asia to Mexico, with COSCO deploying the most capacity on the trade each week, according to BlueWater Reporting's Carrier/Trade Route Deployment Report.

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AAPA wants more investment in multimodal projects

An increase in the gas tax and maintaining balanced economic regulation in railroading also were discussed during Wednesday’s Senate committee hearing.

Feb 14, 2019 on Dec 27, 2018AmericanShipper.com

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AAPA wants more investment in multimodal projects

An increase in the gas tax and maintaining balanced economic regulation in railroading also were discussed during Wednesday’s Senate committee hearing.

Feb 14, 2019 on Dec 27, 2018AmericanShipper.com