On April 1, 2011, U.S. Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ) introduced legislation to create a national freight transportation policy. U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Adam Smith (D-WA) joined as original co-sponsors. The "Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010" will develop a strategic goods movement plan, create a dedicated office for freight planning within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and establish a competitive grant program.
"With freight volumes expected to increase 92 percent by 2035, it is important that our nation is prepared meet these needs safely and efficiently," said Congressman Sires. "The FREIGHT Act will provide the systematic approach necessary to meet these economic needs, while taking into account environmental and health goals."
This legislation will create an Office of Freight Planning and Development to be led by an Assistant Secretary of Freight Planning and Development. The main purpose of this Office will be to draft a National Freight Strategic Transportation Plan, to assess the current national freight transportation system and describe the major challenges. This plan would also create future objectives and goals, designate priority freight corridors and gateways, and create a proposed investment plan to develop the priorities.
Additionally, this legislation will create a National Freight Infrastructure Investment Grants program. Eligible projects include port development, freight rail improvement, intelligent transportation systems, and other projects to improve goods movement. These competitive grants will be awarded to projects with the highest system performance improvement relative to their benefit-cost analysis.
"Our transportation infrastructure is outdated and growing congestion has led to increased costs across the nation," said Sires. "This legislation will update the current freight system to ensure our nation's economic competitiveness."