Statement by Coalition Chairman Mortimer Downey on report by Building America’s Future: Falling Apart and Falling Behind

WASHINGTON, DC (August 9, 2011) – Yesterday Building America’s Future issued a report stressing the need for investment in our nation’s infrastructure in order to improve upon our nation’s economic vitality and competitiveness. The report, Falling Apart and Falling Behind, echoes a number of sentiments held by The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (Coalition). Coalition Chairman Mortimer Downey has issued the following statement regarding the report:

“We are delighted to see that Building America’s Future has identified freight as a key growth component for our nation, and emphasized that without proper investment in freight infrastructure, we are neglecting one of our nation’s most tremendous assets. The report contributes to the important debate over how our nation should go about providing for our goods movement system demands.”

In line with the Coalition’s appeals to create a new, multimodal, federally-driven freight strategy in the next surface transportation authorization, the report calls for:

  • Targeting federal dollars toward economically strategic freight gateways and trade corridors (The Coalition advocates that a strategic freight mobility program is needed to serve the U.S. economic needs in the near term and for generations to come by investment in freight mobility, especially at locations of national significance, unconstrained by mode or political jurisdiction).
  • Permanent implementation of TIGER grants program (The Coalition’s merit-based criteria language was used by DOT in developing and implementing the TIGER program).
  • Expansion of TIFIA (The Coalition has called for revising the eligibility for TIFIA program to reflect eligibility in the TIGER/NII Program).
  • Encouraging and rewarding local innovation (The Coalition calls for funding mechanisms that allow localities and MPOs to apply directly for federal grants).
  • National strategy with strict criteria for investments (The Coalition believes a national strategy must guide long term planning. A national “vision” and investment strategy that shapes and guides the nation’s freight infrastructure system with active coordination among states, regions and localities is needed).

Falling Apart and Falling Behind highlights that each passing day of under investment is setting the United States further behind its competition – in 2005 the United States held first place in the World Economic Forum’s economic competitiveness ranking; today the United States holds number 15. The report stresses the importance of long-term planning and advocates a 6-year transportation bill and a National Infrastructure Bank to lay our parameters and fund a large-scale freight investment effort.

To view the full report, visit: www.bafuture.org. CAGTC members and staff are available for further comment.

About the Coalition
The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) is a diverse coalition of more than 60 public and private organizations dedicated to increasing federal investment in America’s intermodal freight infrastructure. In contrast to single mode interests, CAGTC’s main mission is to promote a seamless goods movement transportation system across all modes to enhance capacity and economic growth. For more information on the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, please visit www.tradecorridors.org.

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