Wait, what did you think I was referring to? I’m talking about the release of the Federal Surface Transportation Reauthorization conference committee report. That’s what you were paying attention to during this morning’s new cycle, right?
The number one reason I’m so excited about the new federal surface transportation reauthorization bill – besides the overall importance of ongoing investment in our nation’s transportation system, and the frustrations of not having a long-term extension of the legislation for so long – is that it contains language establishing new national priorities around freight investment, which has been a major focus of WCIT’s efforts over the last year!
Specifically, the summary of the bill states that
This conference report establishes policies to improve freight movement. It calls for the development of a National Freight Strategic Plan, encourages state freight plans and advisory committees, and provides incentives for states that fund projects to improve freight movement.
WCIT helped organize a letter on behalf of these provisions back in February to ensure that these provisions were included in the Senate version of the bill. As a state that is so dependent on international trade, Washington relies on ongoing investments in freight mobility to ensure its competitiveness. This is true for our Ports, which need to ensure reliable, efficient movements of goods into and out of the country; because 70% of the cargo moving through the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle is discretionary, a lack of freight mobility can be the difference between companies shipping through here or choosing British Columbia instead. Not to mention the fact that so many of the businesses here in Washington state need an effective freight mobility system to get their goods to market and develop a successful global supply chain.
The Washington Congressional delegation have been staunch supporters of the creation of a national freight investment strategy, and special kudos go to Senator Cantwell for her tireless fight for these provisions. Hopefully the legislation will sail through Congress in the next few days, before the June 30 deadline.
And now, back to whatever else you were paying attention to this morning. What else is in the news?