The country needs to invest in the road, rail and water systems that support U.S. ports, with inland waterways systems getting particular attention, according to Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton.
"We have to invest in our waterways, particularly the inland waterways," Connaughton said in an interview with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
"We think that water transportation generally can help us with congestion, environmental issues, and is also a good job-generator," Connaughton said. He said the Virginia ports create 350,000 jobs. "Billions of tons of cargo move up and down our waterways. If it didn't move by the water, it would end up moving by truck or rail, and we don't have the systems for it."
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"We've got to find ways to put money into these systems," Connaughton said. "It's been a federal responsibility and unfortunately they have not been putting the money into it that they should."
Connaughton, who served as head of the U.S. Maritime Administration from 2006 until early 2009, will be a keynote speaker at the Journal of Commerce North American Marine Highways and Logistics Conference on April 5-6 in Linthicum, Md.
-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at email@example.com.