Ports Association 'Encouraged' By House Surface Transportation Blueprint
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) today lauded specific language in a 90-page blueprint released yesterday by Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009 would give priority status to freight and freight mobility as part of the federal surface transportation reauthorization legislation that would replace the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) bill, which was passed in 2005 and is set to expire at the end of September.
"Congressman Oberstar's proposed bill addresses goods movement challenges in ways that would help alleviate freight congestion on America's roads, rails and waterways, and that's a crucial step in propelling the country's long-term prosperity, security and environmental well-being," said Kurt Nagle, AAPA's president and CEO. "Seaports can play a critical role in our national economic recovery, but they need higher levels of federal investment in connecting infrastructure to create jobs, alleviate congestion and deliver prosperity. Language in this bill goes a long way toward achieving that goal."
The bill's blueprint contains many elements which tie in to AAPA's Surface Transportation Authorization policy position. These include: establishment of an Office of Intermodalism in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation; support for Projects of National Significance; and a Freight Improvement Program, which provides state formula grant funding specifically targeted to freight and goods movement projects. AAPA also supports the bill's proposed measures directed at improving project delivery by eliminating duplication in documentation in procedures during the environmental review process and project design and build.
The proposed bill provides $450 billion in funding over six years, including $337.4 billion for highway construction investment and $25 billion for Projects of National Significance.