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            august 23, 2019

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US ports: Too much for highways - too little for intermodal ports


Too much federal spending is earmarked for highways and too little for ports' multimodal needs, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) told a US Senate public works committee, reports American Shipper.
The AAPA, in written testimony to a Senate committee, said all freight programme funding should be 100 per cent multimodal.
"Current freight programmes are funded out of the highway trust fund, which means that eligible projects are primarily highway focused," said the AAPA brief.
"Highways are important to our freight network, but ports are multimodal facilitators, meaning rail, trucks and ships all need access to ports.
"As our supply chain becomes more sophisticated and there are more inland distribution centres with the advent of e-commerce, multimodal funding will become even more in demand," the AAPA brief said.
"The FAST Act has provided the programmatic framework for a 21st century multimodal freight network. However, to fully leverage the success of the FAST Act freight provisions, the next reauthorisation bill will need to address increasing funding needs and identify a multimodal funding source or sources," it said.
"Freight and specifically ports took a big step forward with the passage of the FAST Act," said the AAPA brief.
"With the creation of two funding programmes, Projects of Highway and Freight Significance (discretionary) and National Highway Freight Programme (formula), the FAST Act provided a total of US$11 billion in dedicated freight funding over five years.
"However, of the $11 billion, only $1.13 billion is multimodal eligible, far below what is needed to build out a 21st century multimodal freight network.
"Currently, only $200 million of multimodal eligibility remains in the INFRA account. Earlier this year, the American Association of Port Authorities identified more than $20 billion in multimodal needs for public port authorities alone over the next decade. A top priority for the port industry continues to be multimodal funding," it said.

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