Thursday, January 16, 2014

Foxx Lays Out Vision for US Multimodal Freight and Passenger Cooperation

(but can the money last long enough...?)
Shipping News Feature

US – With the Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money as early as August, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx yesterday outlined his proposals to overcome the transport infrastructure deficit, highlighting problems in funding and identifying ways for the Department to use innovation and improved planning to stretch transportation dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible to ensure the smooth flow of both passenger and freight multimodal traffic, whether by road, rail or water.

Secretary Foxx touted the Department’s ‘Every Day Counts’ initiative and other cost-saving best practices as examples of how transportation dollars could be spent more effectively, citing a study from McKinsey & Company that found nations can ‘obtain the same amount of infrastructure for 40% less’ just by adopting best practices. He also encouraged representatives from various modes of transportation to work together in a reflection of how customers use the system, rather than acting individual sectors and proposing what he described as the first national transportation plan in more than 70 years, saying:

"We need a plan that takes our roads and rails and ports and links them together. Linking them together remakes the finest, most elaborate system of transportation that the world has ever known into its 21st century incarnation. If we’re going to tackle our backlog of repairing and rebuilding, then there’s another part of the equation we have to tackle, too, and that’s cost, but what if we could make that funding equal more projects, and better ones?"   

In future the Department will begin posting monthly on its website exactly how much money the Highway Trust Fund has left, and update that number every month until the fund can sustain itself or until it runs out. While the Department has long provided this figure to Capitol Hill, Secretary Foxx said providing it to the public would increase transparency and accountability.