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Your national freight policy webinar will begin shortly.
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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience.
Your National Freight Policy Webinar will begin shortly.
Once more, we thank you for standing by.
Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the NationalFreight Policy framework Webinar.
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I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today's call, Miss Jennifer Seplow.
Please proceed, ma'am.
Good afternoon or good morning and welcome to the talking freight seminar series.
My name is Jennifer Seplow and I will be moderating toda seminar.
Today's seminar is being recorded.
Today's presentation will be given by Tony Furst, director of the Federal Highway Administration, Office of Freight Management and Operations.
I'd like to go over a few logistical details now prior to starting the seminar.
Today's seminar will last 90 minutes.
Once Tony finishes his presentation, we will open up the session for questions and comments.
We will begin by taking questions that have been typed into the chat area, located on the lower right-hand side of your screen.
If you think of a question during Tony's presentation, please type it into the text box underneath -- in the chat area.
Please make sure that you're typing in the syntax box and not the large white area.
Tony will not be able to answer questions during his presentation, but will start the question and question and answer session off with the questions typed into the chat box.
The operator will give instructions on how to ask a question over the phone.
Again, I'd like to remind you that this session is being recorded.
A file containing the audio and the visual portion of this seminar will be posted to the talking freight web site within the next week.
Due to the size of the file, recorded files are available for viewing and listening purposes only and cannot be saved to your own computer.
We encourage you to direct others in your office who may not have been able to attend the seminar to access the recorded seminar.
The PowerPoint presentation will also be available within the next week.
I will notify all attendees of the availability of the PowerPoint, the recording and a transcript of the seminar.
So, with that, Tony, I will turn it over to you and you can go ahead and get started.
Thank you, Jennifer.
Thanks, everybody, for signing in today and to give me an opportunity to talk about the freight policies.
This policy was roll out by Jeff Shane at TRB, probably about a month ago.
And I want to have the opportunity to walk through it with you.
As you see, this presentation is the same slide show, basically that Jeff Shane gave at TRB.
This schematic diagram demonstrates the paradox.
The majority of the freight capacity issues is about 75%, are controlled elsewhere in the public and private sectors.
The private sector operates the vast majority of the freight transportation system and most public infrastructure investments are made by state D.O.T.s and MPOs.
Consequently, any meaningful freight policy will require efforts from both public and the private sectors.
An effective freight policy, for that matter, any change must start with communication.
Our collective response will come first in word and then in deed.
There is a communication gap between the freight agency and public transportation officials.
With good reason, few of today's policymakers fully understand the logistics practices and few in the industry understand the role and capabilities of the public section in relation to freight.
We need to close that gap in planning and financing our joint freight future.
Industry must convey their needs and challenges to us in the public sector and we must inform them of how we can facilitate the operations of the freight industry.
We also need to join together and spread a common freight story, a gospel of the benefits of freight system and the challenges that it faces.
Real change will require support from the public, elected officials and other stakeholders so our story must resonate beyond the transportation community.
As many of you remember from Columbus, Ohio, the No.
1 issue articulated was a desire for a federal guidance on a National Freight Policy.
Prior to last year's transportation reauthorization, we had hoped that Congress would provide the department with discretionary funding for freight projects.
While safety Lou provided substantial funding for Gateway projects, the majority of it was earmarked.
Especially on dedicated funding for connectors, our leadership role could have been clearer.
Nonetheless, we intend to keep moving forward, eve absent any funding, providing federal leadership and freight policy.
We've heard your call for leadership loud and clear.
The private sector that is in direct ownership seat with the majority of the freight challenges and know firsthand what works well for them and where there are areas that need our joint attention.
Again, communication is the starting point.
This starts with the issue owners.
So, with the good services of TRB, we convened a freight industry roundtable.
We wanted this roundtable to open full communications, not only with the carriers of freight, but also of the shippers.
The people who fundamentally drive supply chain logistics.
We all understand, health is best defined in the eyes of the recipient.
We charged the roundtable with three major objectives.
Number one, improve USdot's understanding of the logistics.
Two, improve the industry's understanding of supply chain logistics challenges.
And thee, facilitate a dialogue through which industry and USDOT could form a common policy or approach.
The roundtable was successful on all three counts.
It included Mike grave from Dell computers, George Harry from Johnson and Johnson, John Vicarman from Tran systems and Mike Meyer from Georgia Tech.
In trying to better understand the challenges of freight policy, we learned how industry leaders approached performance-based change.
You can see the performance-based framework for a National Freight Policy.
Such a performance-based framework has to include a shared vision and a set of objectives followed by strategies, tactics and specific tasks and responsibilities.
We have repeatedly stressed performance-based framework for a good reason why we initially discussed with the roundtable our previous work at the federal and state level, our industry friends immediately reminded us of the obvious.
All the plans and studies are interesting and commendable, but without performance-based accountability, very little will get done.
The wording of the title was chosen very carefully.
While valuable, this document is only a first step and we plan to work with our partners in both the public and the private sectors to revise it over time.
Within the federal government, we're used to dealing with detailed statutes, regulations and policy statements that may be hundreds of pages in length.
This document, in contrast, is five pages long.
Rather than laying out a detailed list of governmental freight programs, it provides a structure, a framework, flexible enough to -- freight initiatives.
And finally, National Freight Policy rather than federal freight policy or D.O.T. freight policy.
This framework is not something for USDOT to solve alone.
Any successful effort calls for a blended effort, which draws upon the public and the private sector.
We all face the incredible national challenge of improving our freight capacity and we at D.O.T. fully embrace on working on this framework together.
As I lead you through the framework, keep in mind five themes.
One, it's a framework for a national, not a federal freight policy.
Investment is a crucial component of any freight capacity solution.
Though the sources of investment looking forward may and probably will differ from those that we have traditionally relied upon.
We need a public/private collaboration.
D.O.T. alone will not be able to succeed.
This is a living document.
Must be as dynamic as the freight sector and the economy that it serves and we fully expect the framework to evolves conditions change and tactics are tried and evaluated.
Finally, it is action-oriented.
When you put a strategy or a tactic on this, you are taking ownership for it.
Let's start with the framework's vision.
As you can see, from this slide, it's rather adventurous.
The vision supported by seven objectives and multiple strategies and tactics to meet each objective.
The framework contains seven broad objectives, improve the operations of the existing freight transportation system, change how we do things in the freight system in order to improve throughput or capacity.
Second, add physical capacity to the freight transportation system in places where investment makes economic sense.
This means we actually need to build things at certain points in the system.
Third, use pricing to better align all costs and benefits between users and owners of the freight system and to encourage deployment and productivity-enhancing technologies.
Four, reduce or remove statutory, regulatory and institutional barriers to improve freight transportation performance.
I think it's pretty clear we all live in this world of organization and regulations and needs to be modernized.
Five, proactively ich and address emerging transportation needs.
We obviously need to have a pulse of where the bottom legs are today or where they are going to appear tomorrow.
Six, maximize the safety and security of the freight transportation system and this is job 1 of the department every day.
And finally, mitigate and better manage the environmental health and community impacts of freight transportation.
We've developed and are continuing to develop in consultation with our public and private sector partners the underlying strategies and tactics that should help us reach each of these objectives.
None of these seven objectives stands alone.
There are synergies between them and can produce benefits in others.
Similarly, lack of attention to one area, negatively impacts another.
Looking at some specifics, for example, we have evidence of pricing-stimulated offpeak moves at the port of LAPD through peer pass.
The program reduced congestion on I-710 and intuitively, we believe it's offset on trucks that are not operating under congested conditions.
Another example is chasse polls.
Such as those instituted at Hampton roads, Virginia could free up space.
Here's what happened with the industry change's operating procedures around the chasse pole management.
5,000 chasses were removed from the pool.
This reduction freed up 40 acres of on-terminal land and over the road repair incidents went down by 30%.
So, you can see there are synergies in the framework, as positive steps from one sector pay benefits against other objectives.
Now, let's go down to some of the details in each one.
Improve the operations of the existing freight transportation system.
As you see here in the terminal gate picture, technology is critical to improving operations.
What you are looking at is a marr terminal gate, representing the state-of-the-art in the U.S., heavily instituted to improve gate flow.
We collectively must embrace technology in the supply chain, this applies to management, to labor and to public agencies.
Bottom legs and connectors are choke points that must be addressed.
We know where they are and now the challenge becomes how to work with industries, states and municipalities to create some hybrid financing solutions.
The partnership model has to move from a nice phrase to active examples.
Add physical capacity to the freight transportation system in places where investment makes economic sense.
First and foremost, let's not forget that since 1980 the federal government put over $500 billion into the national highway system, which is the backbone for over the road freight movement.
Looking ahead, technology and operations can't do it all.
We simply need more physical capacity in some areas.
The safety Lou transportation reauthorization bill called for projects of national and regional significance and we plan on working with local leaders to get these built.
The picture you see here is the Alameda corridor in Southern California, a prime example of this type of project.
In other areas where earmarked funds aren't readily available, we have staff who will be working on loans through the transportation infrastructure and finance act,
state infrastructure banks and private activity bonds as they my apply to truck/rail interface projects.
Additionally, FRA will be administering an augmented railroad rehabilitation program and the rail industry asked that we look into tax incentives for that industry.
Objective 3, use pricing to better align all costs and benefits between users and owners of the freight system and to encourage deployment of productivity-enhancing technologies.
When demands exceed supply, prices can be adjusted in order to manage and meet that demand.
Today, with record levels of freight moving almost every segment of the industry is using its pricing power.
At certain busy freight gateways, heavy freight volumes cause congestion that imposes costs on shippers, for there is insufficient funding for congestion-reducing infrastructure projects.
In this situation, a user who is shipping more goods is likely to have a -- a willingness to pay, if there is a value proposition for freight improvements.
Freight policy solutions should capitalize on that value proposition through the use of pricing mechanisms.
What we are looking at in the picture that you see here is pure pass operation on the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
At LALB, the terminal operators collaborated to charge more for peak gate moves over offpeak gate moves and it's been a success story.
The extended pure gate pass operations which operate Monday through Thursday nights and during the day shift on Saturdays now handle about 10,000 truck trips a day.
About one-third of the total complex traffic and more importantly, about 40% of all import cargo now moves during offpeak hours.
The congestion is down, the main artery of the ports, thanks to pricing.
We think that's a success story that can be replicated at other terminals.
When the department was formed in 1967, combining several different modal activities under one roof, it was an improvement over the status quo.
Since then, times have changed and so must the department.
We're working hard to become more multimodal and ear modal through activities like teams that cut across modes.
We have Gateway teams in place in Chicago, in L.A./Long Beach, in Seattle and soon we will be requesting -- responding to a request for a gateway team to focus on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
In spite of some -- a cross departmental efforts, including the team who developed the policy framework that you see here, we also know that we can do more to clean up our own activities.
There are laws and regulations that we need to be reviewing and updating.
There are land use planning statutes around freight facilities that need to be re-examined.
Localities need to be in tune with land use policies that enhance freight movements and address quality of life issues, as well.
Making freight a good neighbor has to be a two-way street.
Proactively identify and address emerging transportation needs.
Most of you are very familiar with the ma much that you see here.
It is the data we have to develop all we need?
Do we have adequate freight data and perfect freight forecasting tools?
The answer is no.
Do we have the right freight research?
Is there ample room for improvement?
We also expect to be substantially bridge the research and forecasting gap with the imminent launch of the TRB freight cooperative freight research program.
This program, which is to be up and running later this year, holds great promise to support research in some of the toughest issues before the freight community.
We hope to see a heavy private sector representation on the advisory committee.
We also hope that this program is structured in such a way that private dollars may augment the federal dollars that the program has been allocated.
Objectives one through five we think are new ground for D.O.T., but certainly these objective six, is definitely what we do all the time everyday.
In relation to freight, we must maximize safety and security without compromising efficiencies and this has been our mantra ever since 9/11 and will continue to be our message.
For example, the federal motor carrier safety administration is currently in the process of its intermodal equipment role making, which will help to ensure safe chasses in and around our terminals.
D.O.T. is fully engaged with the industry on operation safe commerce, which is aimed at increasing both security and productivity at our ports.
Our private partners labor diligently to accommodate the new regulations in every part of the supply chain and we are clearly making progress.
It may be challenging at time, but we're getting there.
Mitigate and better manage the environmental, health and community impacts of freight transportation.
It goes without saying that this is our key job, to be stewards of the environment while still keeping people and goods moving.
Yet as freight volumes grow, it is clear the glowing correlation to environmental impacts is taking place.
More trucks, more trains and more congestion add up to new environmental health and community management challenges.
We must and will offset vehicle idling around terminals.
What you see here is a green, low emissions locomotive that the rail industry is using for switching around busy freight terminals.
Noise and drudging impacts must be checked and offset.
Communities must be assured that freight can be a good neighbor.
The national framework -- a national framework for a freight policy is just another document on the shelf without accountability.
The private sector is made this point to us very clearly.
Those who directly manage the supply chain call accountability supply chain metrics.
And you often here you can't manage what you can't measure.
We recognize that in the national framework, we must ultimately include performance metrics, but we're not there yet.
In the intemperature, we started to assign responsibility and ultimately accountability.
In the case of many tactics, responsibilities and accountabilities, it will be joint and complex.
And there will be a need for broad-based communication and a willingness to change practices across the board.
Let's drill down on an illustrative example of a specific tactic, the appropriation of idle projects.
First, we need to raise awareness that some of the activities are already under way.
Trucks are allowed a 400-pound exemption, allowing them to reduce emissions without sacrificing the ability to carry cargo.
Railroads, such as the union Pacific, are beginning to utilize green goats, locomotives with more fuel-efficient engines, such as the picture we just showed you, to reduce emissions during movements within the rail yards.
Some terminals are looking at yard equipment with compressed natural gas, et cetera.
Right now we're working with stakeholders to address approaches to retrofit diesel engines and look forward to projects of this nature.
We have to get down to some very proactive but economically feasible initiatives to protect the environment in freight-dense areas.
The impacts are real and the responses must be proactive.
We are looking at more poll annexes, new diesel standards in 2007 for trucks and ways to use D.O.T.'s C-Mac program to address emission-reducing pilots.
In closing, I'd like to reiterate the five overarching themes that carry out through the framework.
It is a national policy, not a federal policy.
Investment is crucial.
Job only can be effective, but there are limits to that.
We need to put investment into the -- into the system.
There is a continuing and growing need for public/private collaboration.
The days of federal government building infrastructure through grants and entitlements are over.
The public and private sectors must work together to achieve freight policy solutions.
It's a living document, contrasting many federal policies.
I don't envision this framework ever being fully complete.
Instead, it will evolve to guide the public and the freight policy efforts in the coming years.
And finally, accountability is key to this taking place.
I know we've just presented a lot of information and I'm sure some of you would like to know about the specifics of the National Freight Policy.
As you can see, we've made it available at a web site here in D.O.T., www.dot.gov/freight.
We encourage your feedback.
There is a web site you can go and also an e-mail address you can send us information if you'd like to.
It's a work in progress, we look forward to your questions and comments and now I will handle whatever questions you've got.
We do have one question that's been typed in.
The question is when reducing and eliminating statutory barriers to freight, as stated in objective 4, does the USDOT have a plan to ensure that the issues that many of the statutes are designed to protect are not compromised?
Anytime we're going to go through regulatory changes, it's done through a system that enables everybody to comment on.
We can't change regulations without putting out a notice of comment.
So, I'm sure throughout the system that we have, everybody's voice would be heard and will be acknowledged.
I don't anticipate us compromising environmental and safety regulations.
Next question is: As a vision objective strategy tactic approach, there appears to be no timeline for accomplishment of the goals or a prioritization under the policy framework.
You mentioned localized projects as responses to local transportation and challenges.
What is required for this living document to adjust to national priorities and not deteriorate into a basis for the most populated states
to attract federal funds or changes in executive and legislative branch election cycles are beyond the current T-Bill cycle.
That's a rather extensive question.
Again, we have just started this initiative.
We -- what you see as far as the tactics -- when you go to the web site and call up the national framework, you will see actual strategies and tactics listed there.
Those are simply the input from the federal players.
We still need the state D.O.T. and MPOs and the private sector to begin populating this web site and the framework.
And we're in the process of going out and trying to engage those entities to get their input into the framework.
The prioritization will come as we sit down and work through this.
Actually every single one of the seven objectives is an important one.
And again, this just gives you a way to sit down and work out the details.
It enables everybody to get on the same page, compare notes, decide what they want to get behind and push and then do so.
I don't know that we necessarily have to put timeframes on it.
I would imagine each tactic and each task underneath one of the strategies will come with that kind of detail if that's what you need, in order to get these things moving forward.
How it works in conjunction with the existing structure regarding distribution of funds, political cycles and individual localities coming to grips with what they want to do, I don't see any of this overriding that.
It simply gives all of the players a place to go to come to a common ground on getting it done.
If that doesn't answer your question, then... re-phrase or come back and we'll engage in a discussion on it.
And after I get through these we will open up the phone lines if you want to ask it over the phone or clarify any points.
The next question is: Is it correct that the next step is developing performance measures?
And if so, who will decide this?
We need to develop performance measures for these.
It will be decided in the same way that we are putting together all of the different strategies and tactics.
It will be collaborative.
Between all of the players that are a part of this need to be engaged.
We haven't established yet what the performance metrics will look like.
Some of the stuff we have undergoing in the department regarding work we're doing with performance measures on the freight gate -- on the freight corridors and also at the borders can help feed this.
But all of the players who are going to be part of this will have to establish what those performance metrics are.
Again, keep in it mind, this is a framework, it is a way to have all of the different players come to the table,
understand what the objectives are and agree on what strategies and tactics each group will pursue in order to accomplish the objective.
And in a related question, all of you may have pretty much just covered this: will there be opportunities for participation from nonprivate stakeholders in developing the performance metrics?
Can you advise the status of the study directed by section 9,007 of safety lu?
Well, I don't have safety Lou sitting in front of me and 9,007 doesn't ring a bell.
So, if the person who wrote the question can tell me what 9,007 is, I will be happy to let you know.
Can you say more about the new freight program which will support research and for which you are looking for private sector participation?
That was the national cooperative freight research program.
It requires the secretary to prepare a memorandum of agreement with the national academy of sciences to set this in place.
We have had internal discussions within D.O.T. on what we want that MOA to look like.
We have talked to TRB.
They have given us what they thought the MOA should look like.
We're now in the process of blending these two documents into one so we can agree on what the MOA should read and get both the national academy of sciences and secretary to sign off it and get the program under way.
How do you see involving MPOs in the freight policy framework process?
They can work through their associations.
They can go to the web site and put in their individual comments or their ideas on what strategies or tactics could take place.
They could -- a number of them could get together through regional associations and put together what they think strategies and tactics are.
I would think working through your naturalization would be one of the best ways to corral your thoughts, consolidate them, synthesize them and then put them on to the framework.
Is there a cap on the amount that a private entity, such as a railroad, can pay as its share on intermodal project or rail highway relocation project?
Not that I'm aware of.
A cap on what they could pay?
[ laughter ] We just had someone say 100%!
Well, yeah, that's entirely possible!
I don't think so, we will be happy to research that.
The next question is first complements on a comprehensive initial framework.
The question is: Is there a clear role for public input?
Well, by public you mean state D.O.T. or MPO or the federal government?
We're going to be talking about Ashto.
We will talk with a number of different organizations on how to best gain public sector -- if by public sector you mean the public in general, yes, I suppose that's a way to do it.
They can go to the web site like anyone else.
Put their input in.
I think putting it in through an organization so it's not just a one-off comment would probably be the way to go.
How will FHWA take into consideration that freight is a derived demand and such the changes in our economy have a significant impact on the infrastructure?
Say the question again?
How will FHWA take into consideration the fact that freight is a derived demand and as such the changes in our economy has a significant impact on the infrastructure?
And then he says look at the changes caused by our economy, changing from manufacturing to service.
A lot of that is objective 5, which is trying to predict what the emerging needs are.
A lot of it comes down to analyzing where we think the economy is going, where the demographics are telling us people are moving to and then trying to anticipate what the transportation needs are in those area as we move forward.
A lot of that comes down to getting better data, getting under modeling tools, getting better analytical tools and improving our forecasting capability.
Going back to the question 9,007 of safety Lou, that goes to the comprehensive study of the nation's railroad transportation system since the enactment of the stagger railroad act.
That one according to the legislative implementation plan has been assigned to the federal railroad administration to conduct and we can find out,
you can send me an e-mail and we will find out exactly where they are with that and get back to you.
Do you envision all modes of transportation, not just the land modes, will be at play in implementing strategies
and solutions for adding capacity and mitigating against congestion and environmental effects of freight transportation problems?
In a nut shell.
All of the modes were involved in putting the framework together.
If you look at the strategies and tactics on the web site, you will see they're reflective of all modes.
And is thought being given at D.O.T. about addressing more than the highway system needs?
I would say -- again, go to the web site and look at some of the strategies and tactics that are there and you will get a sense for what we're thinking about.
That is all the questions we have typed in right now.
We can now open the phone lines for questions.
So, Colby, if you can give directions on how to ask questions over the phone, we will see if anybody has any questions.
If you would like to ask a question, press star 1 on your touch-tone phone.
Your first question comes from the line of Chad rockman.
Yes, actually this is John Tompkins from Minnesota D.O.T.
Tony, I had a quick question for you.
We just finished our first -- we just put out the first performance-based freight plan and within that freight plan, there's some strategies and the strategies -- one of those strategies is to work with FHWA, actually on their strategy.
So, I'm trying to see how this national objective is merged with the FHWA strategies?
The way we is he it here is strategies that are in the National Freight Policy will then get translated into what we're doing in my office.
So, the strategies that are there that we take ownership of, that we take accountability for, will be part of the strategies that we crank into our annual unit plan, for example.
With your -- Minnesota's document, I would suggest you go into the National FreightPolicy,
look and see where your document gels with the NationalFreight Policy and you can start adding your strategies there or suggest that they get put there.
You can work through the standing committee on highway transport, rail transport, any one of ashto 's committees to provide that input into the national framework.
As a reminder, ladies and gentlemen, if you would like ask a question, please press star 1.
Your next question comes from the line of Nancy.
Tactic 5.3.3 talks about strengthening interagency dialogue and I see that several potential partners are mentioned there, including EPA, which really comes to mind when you talk about mitigating environmental impact.
Can you expand on how you see that dialogue working at the federal level?
And also how you will interact with states on those kinds of issues?
We currently engage with a number of our federal partners on a broad range of issues.
The smart wave program that EPA has put together, we've been in consultation quite a bit.
HAP works with EPA quite a bit.
We work with DHS.
We work with customs on the electronic Freight Management system.
We will include our discussions with them and our interaction with them into the strategies that you see in the NationalFreight Policy.
One big policy -- one of the strategies, actually, the global connectivity goal is to improve the types of protocols and arrangements that a number of the agencies that work at the border put together
so that they can better cooperate and align their respective endeavors to make sure that the border crossings function as efficiently as they can.
Those activities take place with the state DOTs and with the FHWA division offices.
So, that's how some of the federal activity gets translated all the way down to the state level.
Your next question comes from the line of Walter Whit.
What's the status of the freight analysis framework?
I was involved in the original construction of it, it was 1998 data, 20/10/20/20, first national look at freight.
What's the status of that project and how will that be used in if the policy development?
We just released FAV2 at TRB.
It is updated all of that information.
The origin to destination database is available to whomever wants it.
It includes the commodity flow survey and a number of other surveys that we co-mingled and integrated into the FAV.
The next step is to go ahead and put together a loaded network so we can go ahead and start generating the maps that the original FAV generated.
Exactly what level of geography we will be able to do that in, we're working on here at the department.
At this time, there are no further questions in queue.
We don't have anything else typed in right now.
Okay, I wanted to walk people quickie through some of the other safety Lou provisions and where we sit with those.
For projects of national and regional significance, for the national corridor infrastructure improvement program,
and for the freight intermodal pilot distribution grant program, all much those have guidance posted on the website, both at FHWA policy office and also the freight office.
The report to Congress for the projects of national and regional significance is working its way through the department on to Congress.
And the notice of proposed rulemaking regarding projects are also working their way to the department.
The truck parking facilities program, we are working on the federal register notice for that and hope to have it out in the spring.
the national cooperative freight research program, I talked about earlier, we're drafting the MOA between secretary and between NTRB, the national academy of sciences and hope to have that under way here in th spring.
There were a series of -- bus axles and also the 400-pound provision for reduction equipment on commercial vehicles,
all of those technical amendments are working their way, as a rather large technical amendment notice, to be placed in the federal register.
And the freight capacity program is being worked with freight professional development.
So, those are the major freight initiatives within safety Lou and I just wanted to bring everybody up to speed in case anybody has any questions on where we are with those.
At this time, we do have a question in the audio queue.
The next comes from the line of Nancy Feffer.
My question actually is not on the update you just gave, but going back to the framework and I just wanted to ask if you could expand a little bit on strategy 4.1,
where it says identify other institutional changes and says not the usual suspects or nonstarters, I wondered if you could expand on what you might be referring to that disclaimer?
That was probably a little comment left in there from internal discussions within the department.
There are a number of times people say we need to revisit regulatory issues...
And actually none of those came forward during the discussions.
That was just an aside and someone put it into the document and there it sits and we will have to go in and -- and pull that one out of there.
But the idea is that we need regulatory institutional changes that actually will make a difference and advance the ball.
And some of them will be a little bit difficult to tackle and some will be somewhat easier.
I think some of the work that is being done under the SEP15 program can help direct us toward those types of regulatory changes that would make sense, that we could undertake.
It could be that we will have to tackle things like the tax or the Jones act.
It goes the full spectrum of activitied and as far as we're concerned, everything is on the table.
We have another question that's actually been typed in.
What will be addressed in the NTRN on PNRS?
Congress, when they passed the legislation and told us we had to write regulations for programs of national and regional significance, even though in this go-around, that entire program was thoroughly earmarked,
we need to go forward and put in place the regulatory framework for accepting applicables for projects of national and regional significance and how we would rank order them and select them for future consideration.
We will see what happens in the next preauthorization package.
That's why we're moving forward with the NTRN.
It was directed in the legislation that we do so.
I may have missed a question.
How does the freight bottom line report relate to the National Freight Policy?
Is this the Ashto report you're referring to?
If it does, we will be engaging -- yes, we will be engaging with ashto and I imagine that some of the strategies that that document puts forward can be folded into the NationalFreight Policy.
We have one more question coming in but it didn't make its way to me, I'm trying to get that right now.
What is the general attitude or view toward third party vendor cooperation to help ease the burden of cost, compliance/safety measures?
I don't know that there is any prohibition one way or another.
It's really up to the people that have to do the -- I guess it's up to the people who are responsible for compliance and safety measures.
I guess states and MPOs can contract that out if that's something they want to do and if it's required by regulation and legislation.
I guess if it's allowed by law or regulation, you can contract that function out and it makes sense to do so and it's economically viable to do so.
I don't see there's any prohibition in doing it.
It's really up to whether that works or something that can be done by a third party.
Another question typed in is do you plan any coordination with the Department of Energy's research on cleaning up heavy-duty diesel engines and developing cleaner fuel?
We would probably work with our -- our...
We work with a healthy environmental planning down the hall.
And -- well, environmental planning group down the hall and see what they have in store for that.
I know thunder there are people in the office of the secretary working on that and I'm sure they're working on that in environmental and planning.
So, we would have to check with them and see what they've got in store.
Okay, another question typed in.
Can you explain more about the Gateway teams and their role in freight planning, including the one being developed for the port of New York and New Jersey?
Well, I can give you a little history why Chicago create was first being put together, they came to us and asked us at the departmental level to bring as many of the different agencies as we could together
to help solve some of the problems that are being presented by what type of projects to move forward and create.
And we did that.
And then in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the secretary went to mayor Ed and asked them if they could provide an FTE to go to Los Angeles and view the focal point for activity in the L.A./Long Beach region,
to help them coordinate activities and to bring whatever resources the department could bring to help solve the problem.
So, Randy Rogers from the maritime administration went down to Los Angeles and is now the focal point for the department there.
He can reach back into the department and touch any of the numbers of the operating administrations to help him answer any of the questions that are posed to him for the resources to bear.
That's conceptually what's going on and probably what will take place in New York, New Jersey, as well.
Exactly who is going to do that and how the team is going to function remains to be seen.
Do we have any more questions on the phone at this point?
There are no audio questions in queue at this time.
Oh, we have another one typed in now!
You mentioned possibly folding in the ashto report with the National Freight Policy.
Is the policy aiming to be this fundamental mode shift of some sort toward rail and in light of forecasted overload of the highway system?
That might folding in actually mean?
The National Freight Policy does not presuppose any kind of policy regarding forced modal split.
It's simply an opportunity to put all of the equations on the table.
It would really be up to ashto to decide how they wanted to take elements of their bottom line report and propose it for strategies or tactics within the National Freight Policy.
They are the generators of the report and a lot of the activity that they recommend in that report,
I would turn to ashto to see if they wanted to roll some of the suggestions and recommendations from that into strategies or tactics in the National Freight Policy.
Again, keep in mind it's not an opportunity to hang a lot of ornaments on a tree and sit back and watch them glitter.
If you put a strategy or a tactic on the National Freight Policy, you take ownership for it and you will be accountable for advancing it.
So, to the extent that any of the recommendations do that, I would suppose they're eligible and could be proposed for inclusion in the National Freight Policy.
Going back to the question about the third party vendors, the reason I ask this is because there's a great fear or concern among smaller revenue-earning freight industry businesses that the new policies and regulations will cause
too heavy a burden on those with fewer resources within capital operating cash credit to afford the equipment, personnel, et cetera,
required to comply and compete with larger businesses and companies and will not be affected for bottom line net profit revenues and earnings.
Well, I would think that that's -- that's a problem any small business faces when dealing with -- with larger competitors.
And I don't understand how that --... yeah, we didn't say anything about adding regulations put and what we want to do is take a look at which regulations need to be overhauled in order to be able to advance freight movement.
And that also doesn't have anything to do with whether or not a third party implements the compliance or the safety regulations.
So, if you think that -- that the National Freight Policy is designed to put in place regulations that could be a burden to small businesses, then you've misinterpreted what we're trying to do.
What we want to do is look and see which regulations need to be overhauled in order to better facilitate freight movement, whether that's through operational changes or through adding physical capacity.
That appears to be all the questions that we have.
So, we will go ahead and close out today's seminar.
Thank you, Tony and thank you, everybody who attended today.
Again, the recorded version of this event will be available within the next week on the talking freight web site and I will send out an e-mail to let you know when it is available.
The next seminar will be held on March 15th and is titled commodities: From origin to destination.
You can register by visiting the talking freight web site and I also encourage you to join the list serve if you haven't already done so.
So, with that, thank you everybody and enjoy the rest of your day.
Thank you for your participation in today's Webinar.
This concludes the presentation.
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