At a Feb. 2 unveiling of a Transportation Department report detailing the agency’s 30-year vision for the country’s transportation network, Secretary Anthony Foxx said the trucking sector will continue to grow and have a dominant role in the freight industry.
“We obviously have a lot of things moving around this country today by rail, by ship, by air. That’s going to change. We’re going to have a 60% increase in truck traffic, we estimate, over the next 30 years,” the secretary said at an event at Google’s headquarters in California with the company’s chairman, Eric Schmidt.
Part of the increase in truck traffic will be attributable to online shopping’s growing popularity, the agency’s report, “Beyond Traffic,” argued. The report also noted the economic harm caused by bottlenecks, and to resolve that, it proposed strategic freight funding programs and private investment in freight infrastructure.
The report is meant to guide policymakers as they draft highway legislation. Its timing is appropriate, since federal funding for transportation programs is set to stop when a 2012 surface transportation law expires at the end of May. Since the new Congress started work in January, congressional leaders have not presented a long-term highway bill.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the top Democrat on the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said the report would be essential in developing the framework for an efficient transportation network. “Secretary Foxx’s report jump-starts the discussion by examining our transportation priorities, how we finance them, and how important safe and efficient transportation is to the success of our economy,” Reed said.
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