DOT_Logo_150px WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx July 14 announced receipt of a report from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC) that makes recommendations to improve the performance of the Nation’s freight transportation system. These recommendations will be used to inform the development of the DOT’s National Freight Strategic Plan.

The report was submitted to the Secretary ahead of a two-day NFAC meeting in Washington, D.C., beginning July 15. The NFAC was established by Secretary LaHood in June 2013.

SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich is a member of the committee. 

“Our nation’s economic competitiveness depends on a transportation network that can move freight safely and efficiently, especially as we are expected to move double the current amount by 2050,” said Secretary Foxx. “I appreciate the work of the advisory committee – their suggestions will help inform the department’s work improving our country’s future freight system.”

The 81 recommendations made by NFAC, now under review by the department, include suggestions to improve safety and security across the freight rail network, highlight funding needs and challenges, and call for increased streamlining processes and better collection of data and research. The NFAC also proposed exploring ways to improve collaboration for multijurisdictional freight planning, developing goals related to freight safety, and addressing workforce development needs as the Department develops the National Freight Strategic Plan. A copy of the report may be found here: http://www.dot.gov/policy-initiatives/national-freight-advisory-committee/recommendations-us-department-transportations.

Together, these recommendations highlight the need for increased transportation investment and greater certainty to support the kind of research and planning such projects would require. Earlier this year, Secretary Foxx submitted the GROW AMERICA Act for consideration by Congress. This Act will make critical investments to help improve the safe and efficient movement of freight across all modes of transportation – highway, rail, port, and pipeline by providing $10 billion over four years for targeted investments in the nation’s transportation system to improve the movement of freight and by giving shippers, transportation providers, and freight workers a real seat at the table for making investment decisions. The GROW AMERICA Act will also better align planning among the Federal government, states, ports, and local communities to improve decision-making and help improve the U.S.’s long-term competitiveness by taking steps to achieve President Obama’s call to reduce the time it takes to break ground on a new transportation project.

To help DOT promote a safe, economically efficient, and environmentally sustainable freight transportation system, the NFAC provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary on matters related to freight transportation in the United States including (1) implementation of the freight transportation requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21); (2) establishment of the National Freight Network; (3) development of a National Freight Strategic Plan; (4) development of strategies to help States implement State Freight Advisory Committees and State Freight Plans; (5) development of measures of conditions and performance in freight transportation; (6) development of freight transportation investment, data, and planning tools; and (7) legislative recommendations. More information on the NFAC may be found here: http://www.dot.gov/nfac.

Previsich
Previsich

Increasing the contributions of the SMART Transportation Division’s input in shaping public transportation policy, SMART Transportation Division General Secretary & Treasurer John Previsich May 30 was named to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Freight Advisory Committee by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

The committee is a diverse group of professionals that will provide advice and recommendations aimed at improving the national freight transportation system.

LaHood said a strong freight transportation system is critical to the nation’s economy and is essential for helping meet President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

“The strength of our economy and the strength of our national freight system go hand in hand,” LaHood said. “The members of this committee understand firsthand the critical importance of freight movement, and their valuable insight will help ensure that our system is more secure and better connected.”

Previsich was nominated for the panel by SMART Transportation Division President Mike Futhey.

“This appointment will permit the concerns of our members in the rail, airline and bus transportation industries to be placed squarely on the table for consideration and inclusion in the talks leading to the establishment of a ‘national freight plan’ for the 21st century,” Previsich said.

“The inclusion of labor representatives at the highest level of such discussions is an opportunity for input into the decision making process that will benefit our members, and all of labor, for years to come.

“The Obama administration deserves credit for ensuring that the interests of working people are a part of the nation’s long term transportation planning.”

Members of the committee provide various perspectives on freight transportation and represent various modes of transportation, geographic regions, and policy areas. Freight customers and providers, labor representatives, safety experts and government entities are all represented.

By engaging members representing diverse interests, the committee will provide recommendations to the secretary of transportation on how DOT can improve its freight transportation policies and programs.

The DOT solicited nominations in February and LaHood selected members with input from the MAP-21 Freight Implementation Team, as well as the Freight Policy Council, an internal body of DOT leadership created to facilitate cross-modal implementation of freight provisions in the recently signed surface transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21. 
MAP-21 established a national freight policy and called for the creation of a National Freight Strategic Plan.

Over the last four years, the Obama Administration has made considerable investments in our national freight network. Through four rounds of the TIGER Grant program, DOT has directed $1 billion toward projects that primarily address freight. This includes more than $650 million to projects that strengthen freight rail infrastructure, reduce freight bottlenecks and alleviate congestion issues.

Members will serve two-year terms and meet at least three times per year. The first NFAC meeting is scheduled for June 25, 2013, at the Department of Transportation and will include an overview of MAP-21 freight provisions and preliminary identification of NFAC activities.