Prioritize Projects to Ease Bottlenecks, Testimony 6/26/2013 House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Posted 07/18/2013

Traditionally, government treated each mode of transportation in its own "silo." Congress has tried to more effectively link the modes, notable beginning with the 1992 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act ("ISTEA"). Nonetheless, according to David Abney, chief operating officer of UPS Inc., the effort remains a "patchwork":

America needs a freight system that's built like a network, and I encourage Congress to take a long-term, coordinated view of how the different modes can work together.

Ed Hamberger, CEO of the Association of American Railroads, noted the worst delays in the rail industry happen in the places where freight is transferred to another mode, such as ports and intermodal yards:

We recommend that you continue to focus programs to improve the first mile and last mile connections for freight that is handed off from one mode to another ... at intermodal terminals. Improving these connections will lead to large increases in efficiency and fluidity throught the network.

Ed might have added, as we well know living with Chicago gateway issues, certain connections between Class I railroads can be equally troubled and vexing.

Though Committee members reportedly appeared receptive to the calls for more infrastructure investment, none advanced suggestions on sources of funding. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) did allude to TIGER ("Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery") type funding for projects of national and regional significance. Though grants funded in SAFETEA-LU ("Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act"), the 2005 predecessor of the current authorization, are in their final phase, TIGER-type grants were not funded in the current reauthorization, MAP-21 ("Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act") in 2012. Rep. Lipinski reference is indicative of the sentiment of many that TIGER-type funding should be a part of the successor to MAP-21 which expires September 30, 2014.


© 2012 Central Corridors Freight Committee