UDPATE: U.S. DOT’s First-Ever Freight Plan May Include 3,000 New Highway Miles

UPDATE 6/5/13: Four months after publishing this article we suddenly realized we may have misinterpreted LaHood’s quote. We checked with U.S. DOT and they confirmed we were right about being wrong. When he said that the department would “chart a primary network of up to 27,000 miles of existing interstates and other roads” and “consider adding as many as 3,000 more miles in the future,” what he meant was that the law had given the department the mandate to create a 27,000-mile freight network with the option of adding another 3,000 miles — of existing highways — to the network later.  

It’s hard to believe, but, despite the fact that freight makes up 25 percent of all transportation emissions, the nation has never had a strategic plan for how to move goods.

Will the trucking industry dominate the nation's first ever national freight planning process? Image: ##http://fastlane.dot.gov/2013/02/dot-set-to-improve-how-us-freight-travels-the-arteries-of-the-american-economy.html#more## U.S. DOT##

Under the MAP-21 transportation bill, however, those days are history. Outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on his blog yesterday that U.S. DOT will establish a national freight policy and a National Freight Advisory Committee.

As part of the plan, unfortunately, LaHood floated the idea of adding thousands of miles of highways to the interstate system.

He detailed the woes of truck drivers who struggle with congestion, and instead of recommending a switch to a more multi-modal system, said U.S. DOT would look to road-building as the answer.

“So we’ll chart a primary network of up to 27,000 miles of existing interstates and other roads,” LaHood wrote. “And we’ll consider adding as many as 3,000 more miles in the future if that’s what it takes to help our truckers deliver the goods.”

LaHood was careful to explain that planning would also include freight that moves over rail and waterways.

The fact that 3,000 new miles of interstate are now on the table makes it more important than ever It is important that the new National Freight Advisory Committee represent multi-modal interests, not just trucking. U.S. DOT is seeking nominations for the committee now.

LaHood hinted that that was the intention: “By engaging stakeholders representing diverse interests — from safety and the environment to labor and industry — the Advisory Committee will provide recommendations on how DOT can improve its freight transportation policies and programs,” he wrote.

  • LaHood didn’t “float” the idea.  It’s in the law

  • makes it more important than ever that the new National Freight Advisory Committee represent multi-modal interests, not just trucking.
    Well, trucking pays for those highways…the other modes don’t

  • Sorry mate, according to the Tax Foundation, only 50.7% of America’s road spending comes from gas taxes, tolls and other fees levied on drivers.  The other 49.3% of funding for the country’s roads come from general tax dollars, just like education, police and fire service.

    http://taxfoundation.org/article/gas…-road-spending

  • CV Gal

    The number of shipping containers coming into the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are projected to triple by 2030.  Los Angeles CANNOT absorb the added trucks to move them no matter how many highways are built.  As a country, we must continue to push our elected officials and transportation leaders toward intermodal systems that complement the trucking industry yet move the logistics industry toward high efficiency with less environmental impact.  This is already being done successfully in a number of states.  Mr LaHood is clearly on the wrong side of this issue and I am not sorry to see him go.  However, I fear his replacement may be even worse.

  • Your link is broken, and MAP-21 specifically deals with 27,000 miles of the NHS, which is federal-aid (gas tax)

    Sorry mate

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