The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) supports additional and dedicated funding and increased local authority for the maintenance and improvement of freight and shared infrastructure in the next surface transportation authorization.
- Support the federal government’s partnership with local governments and regions to address critical goods movement issues.
- Engage directly with local elected officials, who understand the local needs, opportunities and obligations through their “on-the-ground” perspective.
- Encourage and enable partnerships between federal, state, regional, and local government, as well as between public and private industry.
- Allow federal funds to leverage other monies (federal, state, private, and local), especially for freight projects with impact beyond local and regional borders.
- Provide consistent, dedicated, and firewalled funding for freight infrastructure investments that are derived from new revenue sources.
- Allow direct-allocation of freight-specific funding to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) for freight planning that is coordinated with other transportation, environment, and economic development planning.
- Distribute funding without preference to any individual mode of transportation.
- Provide and enable incentives to the private sector and state and local governments to improve freight infrastructure.
- Support financing provisions and direct federal investment for freight infrastructure.
- Recognize freight and goods movement as a national priority.
- Acknowledge freight mobility as a high priority in federal, state, and local transportation planning.
- Expand the current National Freight Network to recognize as essential to freight movement: all of the nation’s major freight corridors; our ports and rails; and intermodal connections between all modes.
- Encourage the integration of goods movement into plans for livable/sustainable communities.
- Include urban, suburban, and rural regional planning organizations in freight planning and implementation activities.
- Establish proactive national transportation policies that help efficiently move goods to improve regional, state, and local economies.
- Enhance security through adequate freight infrastructure protection, a direct function of national security.
- Recognize that facility protection is assisted through electronic systems, design specifications, and other non-human interactions.
Freight transportation is the backbone of America’s commerce. Imports and exports, which fuel our economy, are doubling every ten years. Freight traffic within the United States’ borders will increase 100% by 2020. During that same period of time, foreign trade is expected to increase by 187 percent, while containerized cargo will experience an explosive 350 percent increase. The domestic and international freight capacity of our ports, waterways, transfer facilities, and highway and rail connectors will greatly determine whether we maintain our international edge in the global marketplace and the quality of our economic life. Failure of trade gateway infrastructure to keep pace with growth in demand will increase costs and hold back expansion and prosperity in coming years. There is a clear correlation and necessary relationship between goods movement, business, economy, our local environment, our global and environment public health. A more efficient and improved goods movement system will create an improved environment with greater public health benefits.