National Coordination Needed For Intermodal

Tom Petri (R-Wisc.) called for hearings to familiarize members of Congress with issues and challenges facing intermodal transport, but states, local governments and regional interests also must have a better understanding of intermodal transport needs. Petri, reports the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA), recognized that the federal government has only a limited role in the management of funds for transportation projects. State and local officials oversee most transport projects. Funding sources also affect the federal Department of Transportation’s (DOT) ability to set and enforce policies.

Federal funding may be tied to a specific mode and, as a result, it may be difficult to finance intermodal projects that don’t have a source of dedicated funding, points out Katherine Siggerud, director of physical infrastructure issues, Government Accountability Office.

Further discussions highlighted by IANA included the fact freight connectors in the National Highway System have become “orphans” in the traditional transportation planning by states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).

IANA has planned a number of sessions at its annual Intermodal Expo in November to address rail capacity needs and the costs of congestion. The Intermodal Expo will be held November 10-14 at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center in cooperation with the National Industrial Transportation League, U.S. Department of Transportation Intermodal Freight Technology Working Group and the Transportation Intermediaries Association. Information at

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