On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety examined current multimodal transportation market and infrastructure, stakeholder needs, and Congress’ role in supporting multimodal freight movement as part of a surface transportation reauthorization. Committee Members heard from industry stakeholders on shared concerns, primarily focusing on the need for more revenue and financing opportunities. During “Connecting America: Examining Intermodal Connections Across Our Surface Transportation Network,” witnesses provided testimony on the various infrastructure and safety concerns under the committee’s jurisdiction, and ways to improve our intermodal system as we begin to reauthorize the FAST Act. The following people testified:
- Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
- Noel Hacegaba, Deputy Executive Director of Administration and Operations for the Port of Long Beach, representing the Intermodal Association of North America
- Donna Lemm, Executive Vice President of MC Companies, representing the Agriculture Transportation Coalition
- Joseph C. Szabo, Executive Director of Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, representing the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors
Subcommittee Chairwoman Deb Fischer (R-NE) began the hearing by citing ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card overall grade of a “D+.” Despite this poor grade, the stress on our intermodal system remains high as the global marketplace continues to grow. The Chairwoman also highlighted additional issues impacting the intermodal system including congestion and access. The committee was excited for the opportunity to address these key concerns.
All part of the Subcommittee’s continued legislative push on Capitol Hill aimed at developing and passing robust and broad infrastructure legislation, this discussion allowed lawmakers to hear how our integrated infrastructure system remains fluid. The discussion also emphasized the need to ensure this vital component can continue to make our nation competitive in a 21st century marketplace.
ASCE’s government relations team is staying actively engaged as this legislative push continues on Capitol Hill. We urge you reach out to your Members of Congress and tell them to put forward a long-term plan to improve our infrastructure systems.