WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), has introduced a bill (S.3587) to improve the nation’s freight systems by making key investments in ports, railways, and intermodal hubs. Specifically, the bill aims to improve the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program, which was created as part of Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).
“Our economy relies on domestic and international freight making its way through our ports, railways and intermodal hubs, which serve as gateways to the global marketplace for American farmers, manufacturers and consumers. In the US, our freight network moves 49 million tons of goods every day, which are worth more than $52.5 billion,” said Senator Carper. “In my home state of Delaware, the Port of Wilmington is the top North American site for imports of fresh fruit, like bananas, and juice concentrate. It also handles automobiles, steel, forest products, livestock, petroleum and other cargo.
Carper continued, “The economic importance of freight movement cannot be overstated, and our ports, railways, and intermodal hubs are a critical part of the multimodal freight system. Regrettably, as a country, we haven’t been making investments in our national transportation system that we need to. That’s why last week, I introduced a bill that would allow ports and railways to compete for more grant funding from the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program, or INFRA Grants. And while these discretionary grants make critical investments in freight projects, they are largely limited to highway projects. My bill would remove this limitation and allow ports and railways to compete on equal grounds. We should be investing in the best quality projects that will keep our country moving, and that’s what I intend to do with this bill.”
The bill would support critical freight infrastructure by:
- Removing the cap on INFRA grants to multimodal freight projects;
- Enhancing transparency and administration of the INFRA grant program to ensure that the best projects receive funding;
- Ensuring that safety remains a priority for the INFRA grant program.
The bill has been endorsed by the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors and the American Association of Port Authorities.