For more than 20 years, the Freight Stakeholders Coalition has sought to educate policy decision makers on the ways in which a more unified and robust transportation infrastructure would support the United States’ global competitiveness. As part of this educational effort, nearly 20 of the country’s most influential shipping and transportation providers regularly provide comment on the transportation reauthorization bills that are presented before Congress.
The Freight Stakeholders Coalition looks to promote legislation that moves the transportation industry toward a more holistic and system wide approach that would promote the country’s economic wellbeing by accommodating a rise in overall volume of freight and by promoting cost reductions and efficiency in the movement of goods.
Recently, Congress signed off on HR 5021—a ten-month extension of MAP-21, the current transportation reauthorization regulation. The legislation calls for the transfer of $10.8B to the Highway Transportation Fund and extends MAP-21 Authorization through May 31, 2015.
Since 1991, the Freight Stakeholders Coalition provided input into four (4) reauthorization bills emphasizing education over lobbying and other more traditional methods of advocacy. Recently, they issued nine principles that they would like to see be a part of all future transportation reauthorization measures, as follows:
(1) Congress and the Administration must collectively achieve real, long-term, sustainable funding solutions designed to meet the country’s current and future infrastructure needs;
(2) Provide dedicated funds for freight mobility/goods movement;
(3) Continuation of and funding for the Projects of National and Regional
Significance (PNRS) program;
(4) Promote and expedite the development and delivery of projects and activities that improve and facilitate the efficient movement of goods;
(5) Establish a multi-modal freight office within the Office of the Secretary;
(6) Support multi-state freight corridor planning organizations;
(7) Reauthorize/reinstitute programs that have facilitated freight mobility projects;
(8) Expand freight planning at the state and local levels; and
(9) Foster operational and environmental efficiencies in goods movement
In addition to the activities of the Coalition, each of the member companies also supports these nine principles separately.
The Freight Stakeholders Coalition represents nearly every segment of the transportation industry. This includes shippers, transportation providers, as well as public and private owners and operators of infrastructure and transportation assets used to move goods across the United States. The Coalition is united in the belief that a strong federal role in transportation programs is essential to maintain interstate and foreign commerce and the development of a more robust, and competitive freight network.
That being said, they are not alone in this endeavor. Organizations from around the country are also seeking to positively impact infrastructure and goods movement in their own regions. The Mid-America Freight Coalition, I-80 Coalition, the I-95 Corridor Coalition, and North America’s Super Corridor Coalition, Inc. (NASCO) and many others are doing their part to influence infrastructure spending and freight movement on surface roads, ports and shipping.
Collectively, these organizations are made up of freight transportation providers and transportation planners that span North America. They include: the Midwest, California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming as well as corridors that run from New York to North Carolina, and Maine to Florida. NASCO alone represents a 2,500-mile-long, existing multimodal transportation network focused on international trade between Mexico, the United States, and Canada, and which furthers commerce by connecting more than 71 million people.
The Freight Stakeholders Coalition’s nine principles are meant to showcase the primary actions that the Federal government can take to vastly improve freight movement throughout the nation. Even with the collective clout of the Coalition it remains to be seen how the politics that influence individual legislative bodies as well as political parties will manifest themselves in future transportation reauthorizations. What is clear is that the Coalition and similar organizations are increasingly united in the goals that they see as necessary for the country’s efficient movement of goods.