Mineta urges intermodal improvements
Apr 7, 2005 8:41 AM
Improving intermodal connections between trucks and trains and ships continues to be a focus of the Department of Transportation, according to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
"Addressing our trade and logistics challenges in an effective way requires that port stakeholder communities and government agencies cooperate in new ways and develop new approaches," he told an audience at the Port of New Orleans LA April 5.
The $284-billion highway bill includes investment in highway connections to intermodal facilities. It also calls for states to appoint a freight coordinator to ensure that freight projects are given proper consideration in local and regional planning processes, he said.
"Make no mistake -- freight and logistics issues have finally taken their rightful place on the national policy agenda," Mineta said. "We understand the impact of congestion on the economy, and the Presidentís reauthorization bill offers up meaningful solutions. The considerable benefits of our proposal can only be realized with final congressional action."
The bill was approved March 10 by the House of Representatives 417-9, and was placed on the Senate legislative calendar April 6.
The six-year bill reauthorizes the federal-aid surface transportation program through fiscal year 2009. It also reauthorizes appropriations from the Highway Trust Fund for specified highway (including highway safety) programs, research and technology, motor carrier transportation and safety, and transportation research and education.
After the senate marks up its version of the bill, the legislation will go to a joint House/Senate conference committee for further action. The highway bill has been extended numerous times -- the latest deadline is May 31, 2005.
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