In a letter to congressional leaders, Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the Association of American Port Authorities (AAPA) urged members on both sides of the aisle to make authorization of a multi-year surface transportation bill a key legislative priority for 2010.
“Passage of this nationally important bill must be a clear priority for Congress in the coming year," said Nagle, noting that it took 12 extensions to the previous bill before SAFETEA-LU was finally authorized in 2005. He added that delaying authorization will have increasingly detrimental effects on jobs, the economy, trade, the environment, and quality of life in America.
Among the changes needed in the next surface transportation bill is establishment of a national freight program, including investments in funding for projects and corridors of national and regional significance, intermodal freight connectors, and greater use of marine highways, said the group. AAPA also supports an improved project delivery process, investments in freight rail, and establishment of a multimodal freight office that reports directly to the Office of the Secretary at the US Dept. of Transportation to coordinate the oversight of the freight transportation system.
“The surface transportation system now in place doesn't address freight needs adequately,” said Nagle. “Changes are needed to decrease road congestion due to freight movement that will result in reduced fuel use, pollution and transportation costs. Transportation improvements in and around seaports and throughout the country that enhance freight mobility will positively impact America's immediate and long-term job growth, prosperity, the environment and livability,” the group added.
For a copy of AAPA's letter to congressional leaders, click here.