Monday, June 4, 2012

US Senator Presses Again for Multimodal Freight Coordination

Collaboration by Stakeholders Required Says Cantwell
Shipping News Feature

US – Once again one of the biggest supporters of the freight industry is at work lobbying for a new initiative to support the country's exporters as the Democratic Senator for Washington State, Maria Cantwell, has fired off an open letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking for a coordinated initiative to improve multimodal cargo throughput ensuring state and federal cooperation.

The senator has a particular interest in freight traffic as her home territory is one of the nation’s export hubs seeing half a billion tonnes moving across the state annually and she supported New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg’s FREIGHT (Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation) Act last year which was intended to identify the best way to evaluate and improve commercial transport performance.

Senator Cantwell has historically championed inter modal and infrastructure reforms and has a particular interest in the nations ports conducting a tour at the beginning of this year around those in Seattle, Vancouver and the lesser known port of Pasco which she cited as an example of how to develop a truly intermodal port but rued the US investment compared to Canadian ports like Vancouver which had traditionally invested more heavily and were therefore liable to take traffic from her state as a result.

In the letter to LaHood, Cantwell asks for a collaborative advisory partnership with private, non-profit and public sector freight stakeholders to provide input and guidance on federal freight efforts saying:

“I urge you to move forward on the development of a high-level and coordinated multimodal freight initiative at the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve the management of freight programs, investment, coordination, and planning. Americans need a smarter and more efficient approach to freight policy that is strategic about our position as a competitor in the worldwide marketplace and the need for an improved nationwide network that supports job growth long into the future.”