US House bill proposes huge trust fund for freight infrastructure improvements and to reduce the adverse impacts of freight transportation

A bipartisan U.S. House of Representatives bill, Economy in Motion: The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act, proposes to establish a user fee to fund freight transportation capital investment and community impact mitigation projects.  

The bill, introduced by Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) would create the Freight Transportation Infrastructure Trust Fund, financed through a one percent waybill fee that would raise an estimated $8 billion per year.

It establishes a National Freight Policy with three goals:

1. to increase the productivity and efficiency of the national freight system so as to enhance the economic competitiveness of the United States;

2. to improve the safety, security, and resilience of freight transportation; and 

3. to improve quality of life by reducing, eliminating or reversing adverse environmental and community impacts of freight projects and goods movement in the United States.

The bill provides both formula funding and a competitive grant program.  Projects will be eligible for funding based on a number of eligibility criteria, including the degree to which they improve safety, remove freight bottlenecks, and reduce costs, local air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. It includes a set-aside for zero-emission freight demonstration projects.
The bill has strong industry support.  The president of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC), a trade group of more than 60 public and private organizations dedicated to increasing federal investment in America’s intermodal freight infrastructure, said, “Congressman Lowenthal’s bill has added a significant piece to the freight dialogue. Each day, our nation’s freight infrastructure needs grow and a strategic campaign of public investment is needed. I applaud the Congressman for proposing both an investment plan as well as a revenue generation strategy.”

For more information, read the very informative Long Beach Post article, Congressman Alan Lowenthal Introduces Bill to Strengthen Nation’s Deteriorating Freight Infrastructure System

or review the bill, Economy in Motion: The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act.