Trump's State of the Union Cites Infrastructure Deficits
The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) commended the President for prioritizing infrastructure investment and urges the Administration and Congress to increase direct Federal investment with an emphasis on multimodal freight infrastructure.
“For years, Federal freight infrastructure investment has lagged while our population and national economy grow. This financial burden cannot be shouldered by states, localities and the private sector alone, and we welcome President Trump’s commitment to driving an investment plan at the Federal level,” said CAGTC President Leslie Blakey. “Existing programs are oversubscribed. The freight-focused INFRA program, for example, saw $13 of requests for every $1 available in its first round. We encourage the Administration to commit significant resources above current funding levels and dedicate a minimum of $2 billion annually to freight projects.”
The freight system moves 55 million tons of goods daily, worth more than $49 billion. That’s roughly 63 tons per person annually; meanwhile, the U.S. population is expected to increase by 70 million by 2045.
“Infrastructure investment is a bipartisan issue at its core,” said CAGTC Chairman Tim Lovain, of Crossroads Strategies. “I commend the Administration and Congress for prioritizing infrastructure in 2018.
CAGTC calls on the Administration and Congress to include in any infrastructure proposal the following elements:
- A national strategy that guides long-term planning: A national “vision” and investment strategy that prioritizes and guides investment in the nation’s freight infrastructure system with active coordination among states, regions, and localities is needed.
- Dedicated, sustainable, and flexible funding: A long-term, sustained investment program dedicated to multimodal freight infrastructure is necessary to ensure that public agencies can invest in their most critical goods movement needs – regardless of mode. Adequate Federal funding should incentivize and reward state and local investment and leverage the widest array of public and private financing.
- Merit-based criteria for funding allocation: Projects should be selected through the use of merit-based criteria that identify and prioritize projects with a demonstrable contribution to national freight efficiency. Modally-blind funds should be available to support multi-jurisdictional and multi-state projects, selected on the basis of objective measures designed to maximize and enhance system performance.
- Partnership with the private sector: Federal funding should leverage private participation and provide transportation planners with the largest toolbox of financing options possible to move freight projects forward quickly and efficiently. Private sector funding will not replace or diminish the need for Federal resources, but in many instances can be used to augment system expansion.
"It is good news for Southern California to hear that the Administration and Congress will consider significant additional resources for sorely needed transportation infrastructure improvements that are essential for our national economy," said Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) President and Duarte Councilmember Margaret Finlay. "Southern California civic leaders, business leaders, and residents – representing 191 cities and six counties – together developed a $70 billion goods movement infrastructure program. The program is designed to ensure the 15.3 billion tons of freight estimated to move through the national transportation system in 2035 reaches intended markets. Federal funding is critical to eliminate congestion chokeholds and guarantee that goods movement-dependent industries in Southern California continue to provide 2.9 million jobs and contribute $249 billion to the gross regional product.”