With the national election behind us, 2013 is an opportunity to roll up our sleeves and work with our federal and state officials to develop a freight infrastructure plan that will secure a stronger economy for generations to come. More than ever, our country’s future is tied to our engagement in the international marketplace, the global competitiveness of American businesses relies heavily on our investment in freight infrastructure. In short, continued investment in our freight system means jobs.
The 2012 enactment of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century act represents an important first step. With the bipartisan leadership of Sens. Barbara Boxer and Jim Inhofe, the seeds of a freight infrastructure plan are planted in this bill. In similar fashion, we may see the passage of a Water Resources Development Act in 2013, which also has important implications for a competitive national freight system.
To keep the momentum going, the Obama administration responded by establishing the Department of Transportation’s Freight Policy Council and the U.S. Department of Commerce Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competiveness.
These are encouraging developments in support of a national freight system. Various state, regional and local interests also must be considered, however. That’s why the Congressional Ports Caucus, the various state freight planning processes, and a role for ports and metropolitan areas are critical.
All freight stakeholders must be active and engaged in Washington and their state houses. Individually, we may have different priorities. But, collectively, we need to be sure we keep an eye on the overarching national interest. It’s the only way to ensure our collective billions of dollars in investments ultimately benefit every shipper in every state, for decades to come.