The Sound of a Falling Container Trade (2008) →
USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) issued “America’s Container Ports: Freight Hubs That Connect Our Nation to Global Markets.” It’s a look at the container trade in 2008 and it’s effect on US ports. The stats, including the early years of containerization, are sliced, diced and tapped for potentially usable information.
Spending Billions...And More To Come →
In February House Transportation Chair Jim Oberstar (D-MN) pledged periodic progress reports on the spending of ARRA, a.k.a. economic stimulus, appropriations for transportation projects. Transportation related appropriations in the $750 billion stimulus package totalled $48.1 billion. On June 25, 2009 subcommittee Peter DeFazio (D-OR) chaired the oversight hearing as to how well USDOT and the...
Caution: Slow Down MOVEMENT →
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA) apparently returned to Congress in January convinced she had a basically sound idea when the very new congresswoman from Long Beach introduced a bill last year to pay for port-related goods movement infrastructure projects with a $20/TEU container tax. Of the revenue, 90% would go to freight related projects mostly within 40 miles of port, 7% would be allocated to...
Freight Stakeholders Settled on Their Platform →
The Freight Stakeholders Coalition “believes that the next surface transportation autohrization bill must maintain a strong federal role and provide for the creation of a national freight program.” With that as their starting point the coalition hammered out 10 planks in their platform, skipping the issues of fees and whether there should be a freight trust fund. It’s a pretty...
Adam Smith on the Cost of Freight Mobility →
Adam Smith—no, different guy—reintroduced his proposal for a charge on the cost of moving freight in the U.S. The Democrat congressman, who can see the Port of Tacoma from his home, would raise revenue from the equivalent of a 1 percent tax on ground transportation moves beyond 50 miles. Like competing fee schemes introduced by other Members the receipts in Smith’s bill would...
Proposed: Short Sea Transportation Grants →
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced S. 1308, which includes a section that would fill a gap in the still new Short Sea Transportation program (see the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Public Law 110-140). The Maritime Administration is reviewing comments filed in response to the interim final regulations for the program through which the DOT Secretary will designate marine...
…Oberstar told BNA that the White House’s plan is “terribly...– This is strong rhetoric aimed at the White House. The respective stances of the Administration and the House transporation chairman are not surprising, but these words do have a sharpness that if anything reminds us that the prerogatives of institutions and the priority agendas of leaders...
To Reform, Perchance to Tax (Aye, There's the Rub) →
The unveiling of T&I Chairman Jim Oberstar’s [TEA] bill had competition for ink. Former House colleague and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday proposed that instead of tackling the full $450B authorization bill Congress should: Extend SAFETEA-LU for 18 months | Adopt some reforms | Hold off raising the gas tax. There is political wisdom in the Administration’s position. The...
Are We Intermodal Enough Yet? →
“The preamble to ISTEA  said that our goal should be “to develop a National Intermodal Transportation System that is environmentally sound, provides the foundation for the Nation to compete in the global economy and will move people and goods in an energy efficient manner.” Its language is still refreshing 18 years later. What is striking about it is that it doesn’t...
Desirable: DOT Coordination Without...And Within →
“These principles mean that we will all be working off the same playbook to formulate and implement policies and programs. For the first time, the Federal government will speak with one voice on housing, environmental and transportation policy,” said the HUD Secretary about the Obama Administration’s “sustainable communities” agreement between USDOT, HUD and EPA. ...
It Makes No Sense →
“Recession or no recession, our nation desperately needs to update infrastructure that lags behind that of even some developing countries. But it is also true that a recession is the perfect time to put money into long-term investments like massive public-works projects because it creates jobs while pumping up our economy. It’s like hitting two homeruns with one swing. FDR knew that...
Stimulating the Economy with a Vision →
“But alas, there’s no evidence so far that the Obama infrastructure plan is attached to any larger social vision. In fact, there is a real danger that the plan will retard innovation and entrench the past.” David Brooks of the NYT is right to look for the Obama Administration to put a social context—enhancing community, for instance—to the billions in infrastructure...
18 Agencies with 1 National Strategy for the MTS →
“Through the National Strategy, the CMTS will communicate information about challenges that need to be addressed to improve the MTS and ensure that policies and actions of its Agencies are synchronized, coordinated with other policy facilitation structures such as the Committee on Ocean Policy, focused on the future, and targeted to the most critical issues.” A positive action taken...
Friedman on Nation Building at Home →
“As I sat in my seat at the Bird’s Nest, watching thousands of Chinese dancers, drummers, singers and acrobats on stilts perform their magic at the closing ceremony, I couldn’t help but reflect on how China and America have spent the last seven years: China has been preparing for the Olympics; we’ve been preparing for Al Qaeda. They’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads...
"many different answers...will form the working... →
Horizon Lines chief Chuck Raymond points to the need for changes in Federal transportation policy that includes marine highways and a tiered port structure. He sees a marine highway system consisting of the inland waterways, long haul coastwise Ro/Ro service, and a “coastwise container feeder network” to give freight and international cargo water route alternatives to the congested...
The Next TEA Must Be "New" →
…this transportation bill should not be a “reauthorization” of the existing approach but should be a “new authorization” replete with new policies and funding strategies. Steve Van Beek, Eno Transportation Foundation Steve’s piece is a succinct discussion of why the next surface transportation authorization bill must be more than a “reauthorization” of existing program...
The GAO on Designing User Fees →
“As new priorities emerge, policymakers have demonstrated interest in user fees as a means of financing new and existing services. User fees can be designed to reduce the burden on taxpayers to finance the portions of activities that provide benefits to identifiable users above and beyond what is normally provided to the public. By charging the costs of those programs or activities to...
A Transportation Crossroads →
“…an urgent reality: If the U.S. government continues with its current transportation policies, it will undermine the social and economic security of our workforce and accelerate global climate change.” Washington Post Op-Ed by Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
Norfolk Southern's GREEN MACHINE →
This page on the railroad’s “Carbon Footprint Analyzer” webpage gives shippers a way to compare the carbon footprint of their current, non-rail shipping practices to those if they were to use trailers on rail or railcars.
GAO: Restructured Federal Approach Needed... →
“Surface transportation programs need to be reexamined in the context of the nation’s current unsustainable fiscal path.” “Modally-stovepiped funding can impede efficient planning and project selection…” “With the sustainability and performance issues of current programs, it is an opportune time for Congress to more clearly define the federal role in...
"Setting up a new federal mode-neutral... →
“The nation currently lacks a rational, robust program structure for prioritizing and providing financial support to high value investments in new infrastructure capacity. [I]t is time to replace the modally-oriented program delivery structure designed around…earlier purposes with one suited to the challenges of today and tomorrow. A mode-neutral federal discretionary program is needed to...
Paying for the Roads: Finely Tuned Fees →
“So what do we do? How do we escape the trap we’re in: an obsolete and counterproductive transportation policy that has led to clogged roads and broken-down highways, and a political system that seems incapable of dealing with these problems? “ An opinion piece by Owen D. Gutfreund in the NYT
"Public Interest Concerns" about PPP by the House... →
Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) detailed concerns they first noted in their May 10th letter to governors, state legislators, and transportation officials around the country. “When a government agency considers contracting with a private company…there are many issues that must be examined.” The Bush DOT is a promoter of public private partnerships but it is not a Repub vs Dem thing....
HMT: "Barrier" to Great Lakes Maritime Commerce →
The focus of this October 2006 report funded by the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute is an argument that the Harbor Maintenance Tax should be voided. It contains an abbreviated but fairly comprehensive history of the HMT as well as statements as to why the HMT is flawed. The discussion on HMT is not limited to the Great Lakes and thus is useful to a policy debate on the HMT. However the...
The Ambassador Bridge: Public Crossing / Private... →
The Ambassador Bridge is a major US-CN border crossing owned and operated by a privately held company. The company’s plans to build a larger, second bridge comes at a time when private investment in and ownership of major elements of transportation infrastructure is a hot policy topic in Washington and many states. The title is linked to a two-part NPR story on the bridge and expansion...
Ambassador Bridge Website →
The company’s website includes information on the “enhancement” project including an animated flyover.
Lock the Lakes...Groups Ask for Moratorium on... →
“…salties account for less than 7% of the cargo moved on the Great Lakes and Seaway according to the Corps of Engineers.”
National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue... →
Some of the commissioners have shown particular interest in what the future’s transportation should be, not just to fix immediate and near term problems. Congress is expected to give the commission until December to make its report on future transportation policy.
AASHTO’s Vision Statement drafts →
Not without merit but missing maritime. It mentions… Ports but not ships. Metro mobility but not ferries. Building capacity on road and rail but not using capacity on waterways. Maps Need Marine Highways.