WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 22, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) joined with Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) and major goods movement leaders from both the public and private sector in calling for immediate action by Congress to pass a surface transportation reauthorization bill that specifically includes dedicated funding for rebuilding and upgrading our nation’s crumbling freight infrastructure.
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), our country’s transportation law, passed in 2012 and is set to expire May 31, 2015. Years of short-term funding fixes for our transportation infrastructure has left our country with an underdeveloped and decaying transportation system and has created uncertainty for state and local governments and businesses.
One of the key components of our transportation system is the efficient movement of goods.
“The heart of our national economy is our goods movement system, but our ports, bridges, highways, and rail systems are falling apart around us. What was once a transportation system envied by the rest of the world has now gone underfunded for more than a decade. To remain competitive as a nation we must invest in our national freight infrastructure–repair it, and upgrade it,” Congressman Lowenthal said.
Congressman Lowenthal highlighted his bipartisan legislation–H.R.1308, Economy in Motion: The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act–which would raise roughly $8 billion a year through a 1 percent waybill fee and dedicate these funds to freight-related infrastructure projects throughout the nation, with a focus on multimodal projects and projects that help relieve the bottlenecks in the freight transportation system.
Representatives Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), and Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01) are all original co-sponsors of H.R. 1308.
The latest report card on America’s infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, who support Congressman Lowenthal’s bill, rated America’s national bridges and rail system with a C+, ports with a C, and roads with a D. The overall grade for the entire U.S. infrastructure system was a D+.
“This is a national problem that impacts not just the citizens of Michigan or California, but every American. It is also an issue that should be solved in a bipartisan fashion. We have to look beyond the short-term fixes of the past decade and commit ourselves to properly addressing our freight infrastructure crisis,” Congresswoman Lawrence said. “America cannot afford to fall behind in competitiveness. The time to take action is now. It means jobs for American workers. It means lower prices for American consumers. It means a healthier economy for all Americans.”
“Freight movement occupies a special place in our transportation system as the element that supports and enables national and global commerce,” stated Coalition Executive Director Leslie Blakey. “Freight infrastructure needs dedicated funding.Establishing a competitive grant program with broad, multimodal project eligibility throughout the U.S. is a priority for our Coalition and should be for our country also. We commend Representative Lowenthal and his co-sponsors for taking this bold step toward better U.S. freight policy.”
According to a September 2014 national infrastructure report by the National Association of Manufacturers, “New funding will help the United States catch up from a well-documented backlog of deferred infrastructure projects that have accumulated over the past 10 years, including maintenance, repair, and new capacity. Many of the critical problems already are identified. It is urgent to take immediate action on long-standing and stalled projects.”
Congressman Lowenthal added, “The reality is that there is no painless or magic solution to this problem. It is going to require a serious long-term investment, and it is an investment that needs to be started right away. The good news is that this focused investment will benefit every single American citizen and business.”
Additional speakers at the “Call to Action” event were Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments; Richard Cameron, Managing Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs at the Port of Long Beach; and, Sean Eagan, Governmental Affairs Director at the Port of Tacoma.
Click on the following links to watch videos of each speaker:
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, CA-47
Rep. Brenda Lawrence, MI-14
Leslie Blakey, Executive Director, Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC)
Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
Richard Cameron, Managing Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs, Port of Long Beach
Sean Eagan, Governmental Affairs Director, Port of Tacoma