The Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council will find ways to integrate short sea transportation into the national intermodal freight system, Chairman Samuel Crane said Wednesday.
Crane said that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the chartered, non-federal advisory group last week that it was time to stop talking about the industry’s problems and start solving them.
“That means setting a new direction that will help us meet this administration’s strategic, economic, and environmental goals for all modes of transportation,” LaHood said. “We must find ways to take better advantage of our existing waterways. This will help reduce land-based congestion and emissions, decrease our dependence on oil, and offer an alternative to building and maintaining costly new highway and rail systems.”
MTSNAC, with members from virtually every segment of the U.S. maritime industry, will become a short sea transportation board that Congress called for in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The group should present its proposals to the secretary within a week or two, Crane said.
Crane said MTSNAC members appreciate that LaHood spoke in support of the marine highways program in the first six months of the Obama administration.
“We’re encouraged by what we’ve seen so far. It’s one thing for an advisory committee to advocate for it, but it’s another when you hear the secretary talking about it three or four times,” Crane said. I think the secretary has an idea about this, and I think he wants people to figure out how to make it work. In response to his challenge, we’re going to do that.”
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