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Talking Freight

Engaging the Private Sector

July 20, 2011 Talking Freight Transcript

Presentations

Kari Beasley
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Kari Beasley and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is Engaging the Private Sector.

Before I go any further, I do want to let those of you who are calling into the teleconference for the audio know that you need to mute your computer speakers or else you will be hearing your audio over the computer as well.

Today we'll have four presenters - Suzann Rhodes from Wilbur Smith Associates, Nicole Katsikides from the Maryland Department of Transportation, Karen Schmidt from the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, and Liz DeRuchie from the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

Suzann S. Rhodes, AICP is a Principal and senior project manager with Wilbur Smith Associates, a wholly owned subsidiary of CDM. Suzann possesses over 35 years of experience in transportation and project management. Prior to joining WSA/CDM, she served as Ohio DOT's Central Office Planning Administrator, and as the Executive Director of BHJ a multi-state MPO and a LLD for Appalachian Regional Commission. While at ODOT she helped develop and authored a number of planning documents including the first ODOT statewide freight plan

Nicole Katsikides is the Director of the Office of Freight and Multimodalism for the Maryland DOT. She oversees freight policy and planning along with High Speed Rail program efforts for MDOT. Nicole's background includes freight and logistics management for the US Air Force; economic development, planning and infrastructure development for the States of Georgia and Maryland, as well as transportation policy initiatives.

Karen Schmidt became the Executive Director of the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board in November 1999. She was selected as the first Director to create and manage the Freight Mobility program as an independent state agency. Prior to her selection as Director, Karen served 19 years as a State Representative primarily focusing on transportation issues. She was Chairman of the House Transportation Policy & Budget Committee for 5 years, and Chairman of the Legislative Transportation Committee for 4 years.

Liz DeRuchie is a Principal Planner at the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. Four years ago she joined the Systems Planning Division of the NJTPA and currently works on the Air Quality Conformity and the Transportation Clean Air Measures (TCAM) initiative. USDOT has recognized the TCAM effort as a national model of success for the innovative partnerships and projects that have been implemented with demonstrative air quality benefits.

Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to "Everyone" and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. If we run out of time and are unable to address all questions we will attempt to get written responses from the presenters to the unanswered questions.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentations will also be available online within the next few weeks, along with a recording and a transcript. I will notify all attendees once these materials are posted online.

One final note: Talking Freight seminars are eligible for 1.5 certification maintenance credits for AICP members. In order to obtain credit for today's seminar, you must have logged in with your first and last name or if you are attending with a group of people you must type your first and last name into the chat box. I have included more detailed instructions in the file share box on how to obtain your credits after the seminar. Please note that today's seminar is not yet available on the AICP web site. I will send out an email to everyone who registered once it is available for credits. Please also download the evaluation form from the file share box and submit this form to me after you have filled it out.

We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Freight and Livability. As a reminder, if you have questions during the presentation please type them into the chat box and they will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar. Our first presenter will be Suzann Rhodes from Wilbur Smith Associates. Suzann, you may begin.

Suzann Rhodes
I was asked by FHWA to do provide a short overview and introduction to the topic based on some tools that we helped prepare for FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations under the Freight Development Program. The tools they have created, and what I will be speaking about, are a guidebook for engaging the private sector and freight transportation planning. There is a one-day workshop available through FHWA. At the end of my presentation I will have links to the internet on where you can download this guidebook, and how you can schedule a workshop.

These were built on the NHI course of integrating freight into the transportation planning process and it is sort of the next step. I believe that course is still available online for a nominal fee. I have not checked lately, but I believe it is about $50. What we will cover today and what is covered in a guidebook in considerably more detail is why engage the private sector, who and why to engage and what to expect. Before I begin, I want to make an overarching statement. Engaging the private sector is basically public involvement. I have a little guy in the bottom corner here with his mouth zipped and two ears. Those of you who do public involvement frequently understand it's not just about informing people and it's not just about you talking to stakeholders area certainly that is part of it, but it's also about listening and that is why he has two big ears. It's about hearing what the stakeholders have a say. It should be an early and continuing process as we all know who do a lot of work in public involvement.

If you recall a few years back when environmental justice sort of became a big hot topic and people focused on how you engage a handicapped community for example, people had to think a little bit more about how you would do this and what are the special needs and how would you engage them more actively. The same thing is true of engaging the private sector. The same principles and the same approaches, you just need to think about what would work better. You all have in your toolbox the tools to do this. Judging from the list of attendees and looking down the names, I know many of you and you understand why you would engage the private sector in your planning process.

You understand there is a link between freight and the economy. A lot of people say that freight is economy in motion and if you look at each of the trucks on the right-hand side, not only is there a person with a job driving, but it's full products that will go to the market and people will sell them in a store or use them in a manufacturing process. There is a definite link between the economy and freight and from what I hear when working with the governments around the country, everyone is talking about jobs and how do you get more jobs. Improving the quality of life of people is about getting the products to market more efficiently and keeping the cost down so everybody can benefit. If you go into the grocery store, the milk and bread is there when you need it.

Certainly trucks have a different role and relationship to capacity and congestion on the road and you need to understand that and work with the motor carrier community. Most important, freight is your customer too. The freight community is a customer of every state DOT and MPO and local government. What can they offer you? Certainly, they can offer an understanding of their perspective. What is important to a truck moving down the road may be a little different and what is important to a soccer mom getting to the child's game.

Reliability and predictability of the traffic, as you all know I'm not saying anything that most on this webinar does not know, but for example if you are a MPO area and you're looking at the downtown area, there may be some parking issues which you do not understand. You are designing a roundabout, it's important to talk to the motor carrier community because they don't have the same geometric and turning radius that you do or that another car might. Also the freight community can provide access to data and plans. A lot of people had trouble using data sources because current data sources don't get down to the specific neighborhood or MPO area. You may find that information talking with the freight community. Finally, last but not least, the Federal regulations for statewide and MPO planning 23CFR450, required that you involve and consider freight in the planning process.

As a starting point to engaging the private sector, and, as with any kind of public outreach effort that you would have, you need to identify and set your goals and objectives before you begin. You need to understand what you want to get out of it: are you working on a project plan, are you looking at how you would improve an interchange or an intersection; etc. Your goals and purposes will guide the question that you ask. You don't want to waste people's time asking a lot of questions or having focus groups that the information out of it cannot be used. It is sort of common sense; this is the same kind of approach we take to any kind of public involvement process. You need to identify your stakeholder targets and identified some techniques. The workbook in the workshop and the guidebook give you a lot of ideas in detail on these.

Who are freight stakeholders? Again, this is the shippers and receivers, service providers, facility operators, air cargo carriers, and port operators. Just about every business is dependent upon other businesses. Even if you have a shoe store, you have people shipping in products to you. Just about any type of business you can think of is a potential freight stakeholder.

When to engage the private sector? This is mainly about the planning process, but, for example, in environmental analysis. I was in a focus group talking about how freight can impact the environment, and one of the local planners talked about the need to pave truck parking lots because they create a lot of dust. The motor carriers were saying do you understand the cost of that and it would make it prohibitive for us to be located in town was make it close to their market. It's important to understand the impact of your policy decisions at a local-level, state-level, and at a regional level.

This slide is on how to engage the private sector. We talked about lots of different ways in the guidebook and in the workshop. Informal interactions may be an easy way to start for those of you who do not have any kind of formalized facility. Just attending conferences and luncheons with the many freight private sector groups out there is a way to start to learn what freight is all about. There are a number of regional business coalitions. Many chambers have freight specific coalitions and they have luncheons, they have educational seminars, and through this you can begin to make some contacts with people and begin to build relationships and have discussions that can lead to their becoming more engaged with what you do. You can explain, just like we in the public sector are trying to understand about freight, they often want to understand how decisions are made in the public sector and why it takes so long for decisions to be made in the public sector.

This slide provides a list of many groups around the country. Each state I know has a trucking association - the logo for the American Trucking Associations is up in the left corner. The national associations of many factions have meetings around the country. There are a variety of the associations you can go to in order to have this interaction. If you are going to do a survey, for example you decide to do a survey of local industry or local motor carriers, it's wise if you want to get a better response, to go to your American Trucking Association in the state and tell them you're putting this survey out. Or if you're conducting interviews and ask that they notify their members. We did this with the US Chamber and some major industries and carriers like Wal-Mart and Roadway and Yellow Trucking. I do not think they would have responded to a survey coming from me, but the fact that the US chamber said we support this interview and we support this survey and could you please respond as part of a study we are doing. The links back to those associations in your state is important. Knowing what to ask and not wasting people's time asking a lot of questions that you will not use the answers to is also very important.

The other thing I wanted to say here is you are more likely to get clear, straight answers if you do more one-on-one interviews than asking carriers and shippers to come and sit in a great big meeting hall where everybody is together and nobody wants to give out their competitive advantage. While focus groups are good and important, you may find that you get better responses if you're respectful of people's time and you make a phone call, or ask for an interview and they may tell you they want to do it over the phone and be prepared for that.

Interview and survey techniques: certainly develop a discussion guide; don't just go in there blank. Figure out if you're talking to the right person in the agency so that you get the answers that you need. Make sure that you let people know that their information will remain anonymous and that you're not going to share proprietary information that may reduce their competitiveness. We always tell people to avoid Mondays and Fridays because shipping over the weekend or receiving over a weekend not everybody is in the office. They are cleaning up or getting ready for the weekend.

Another technique, you see this gentleman here and the young lady interviewing some truckers. We have done intercept surveys and they're highly successful. You need to be respectful of the driver's time. You can ask just a couple of questions so know exactly what you want. We've used these and we did a project recently on I-70 were we stopped close to 1,000 trucks and nobody was stopped more than five minutes. We use it to confirm and validate data in terms of origins and data destinations. We went to someone who worked in the motor carrier and asked them to help us to design that survey said that we were respectful and we knew what questions we could get answers to. We went to the American Trucking Association in each state we were stopping truck in and asked them to let their members know we were asking the questions and it was something they condoned. This communication with the ATAs and understanding what they can answer provided us with reliable information.

There is also a project with GPS tracking and FHWA has this data and sponsored it. Over 1,000 trucks nationally have GPS transponders and are being tracked. Another approach is to have people actually trail the truck to see where they are going. Other options are focus groups, freight forums, roundtables, and advisory committees. These have been successful. They are done in many different ways. Whether or not it's a one-time event, it is important that the private sector find value in them and that it is not just a value for you. Some states and people do them on an as-needed basis for specific projects. Remember while government timetables and plans often look10 - 20 years out, if you're in the private sector your turnaround time is couple of months and you want to see some action. It's not that they are not patient with the government; it's just that they are in business to be in business and make money and they do not have 10 years to show a profit.

The speakers after me are going to present a number of examples of freight working groups and roundtables and economic development groups that have worked. We have listed a few here. Certainly Minnesota Advisory Council has been around probably 20 years, one of the longest MPO freight groups at DVRPC. The guidebook and workshop have lots of examples of things that worked and what was made in successful. You will hear examples from the following speakers. The results that you hope for by engaging the private section are that your projects are going to address not only the needs of your passenger cars, but will address the needs of the business sector. It will improve the economic competitiveness of your business. Many of you have seen an MSNBC poll on which states are the most business friendly. This is part of that business friendliness, having that interaction and relationship with businesses in your region and state.

From what I have heard, businesses welcome talking with state and MPOs local governments and economic development groups. They want to be heard. You need to be respectful of their time. They want what you want, someone who knows you and trusts you and knows that their input to you will be helpful to you and to them. We are all striving for a long-term relationship where you have someone in the private sector that you can pick up the phone to ask a question about your problem and get a straight answer. They want someone in the public sector who can help them with their problem or direct them to the right person who can help. .

This slide shows the links to the guidebook and to the training. If you want to schedule a workshop you should contact Jocelyn Jones or Carol Keenan of FHWA. You can download these and I will leave them up for a minute or you can contact me. Thank you very much.

Kari Beasley
Our next presentation will be given by Nicole Katsikedes from the Maryland Department of Transportation. As a reminder, the files used for today's presentations are available from the lower right-hand side of the Adobe Connect window. Nicole, you may begin.

Nicole Katsikedes
Good afternoon, I am joined today with Debbie Bowden from our office of Freight and Multimodalism to help me out with my presentation. I am anxious to give this presentation because we tried to work very hard to engage the private sector in our freight effort. It really all began with a freight planning processes. Today I will be talking about our background using the private sector, the benefits of engaging the private sector, the challenges that we have with that, and future plans that we are using the private sector, and then answering questions you may have later on.

I will give you some context for Maryland. You can see by the map here and I realize this is a little bit blurry, but this is from the FHWA website, you can see where Maryland sites in the context of the freight network, the highway corridors, where we are in between other states. It is very important that Maryland reaches out and has a good understanding of what the issues are, not just in Maryland, but in our surrounding states. We need to have an understanding of freight on a regional level, understanding constraints and having that input from the private sector. We are part of an extremely busy region of the US and so it's really important that we don't just think about what is in Maryland, but what is around us as well.

I have a few maps to show you to give you some context. While this map is just Maryland, you can see that we have some significant corridors and then we have quite a lot going on in terms of various highway and rail corridors. We are right in the mix of things so it's really important for us to consider what is going on around us and plan appropriately.

Here is a map of manufacturing clusters which is something that comes out of our Statewide Freight Plan. By looking at this, you can see where the population centers are and you can see that there are population centers around manufacturing clusters, but there are also some found on the shore as well as in Western Maryland and around us in Pennsylvania and such that need to be considered as we do our freight landing in freight outreach.

Here is how we begin private stakeholder engagement. We began engaging the private sector more formally with the state's first Statewide Freight Plan. It was the first multimodal plan that incorporated everything that we could think of in order to put together something that captured a snapshot of freight in Maryland and also where we need it to go. In order to do that we really needed to get private stakeholder engagement. We could not just got Maryland DOT and SHA or State Highway Administration input, we needed private sector input.

We engaged the private sector by establishing a freight stakeholder advisory committee made up of members of the private sector from various entities. We had shippers, manufacturers, more port related companies, we even had a few federal representatives from FHWA and the Federal Railroad Administration, but we also had Norfolk Southern and CSX participate. They helped to advise us in our freight planning efforts with our MPOs. In turn, our MPOs helped to bring a bit more freight stakeholders together. Because freight moves on the same roads as passenger cars and transit, we have to include those groups as well and we could not just have the freight and shippers.

That group helped us and the MPOs helped us get our freight plan out and we have also used this advisory committee on other special projects. The Office of Freight and Multimodalism has been having a freight summits. These have been an opportunity to get stakeholders we identified in the planning process together to talk about hot topics in freight. This is held every other year to focus on current freight topics and share information to the private sector and other state agencies and local governments. The most recent session was in 2009 where we rolled out our freight plan and it's a pretty massive effort. We have hundreds of people who attend. We are looking to do that next spring and we're looking at freight and livability and sustainability as topics. But our freight stakeholders from the private sector really help drive the agenda. We are trying to be responsive to the freight stakeholders since they are the users and they need to tell us exactly what we need to do in order to improve what is going on.

We definitely see the link between transportation and economic development we want to have them as our connection to help us understand that much better. That is why engaging stakeholders in the planning process has been key for economic development is well. We are trying to bring together local land-use planners and people at the label and State level with the private sector throughout our activities in order to have those discussions and to really understand how transportation can improve the freight economic picture, not only for Maryland but the whole region.

We are now using our freight stakeholders identified through the planning process in a number of special projects. Our members help us with key policy issues, for example, Debbie who is also on the line, she was recently able to work with the milk hauling industry to resolve a problem we were having with trucks that did not have permits. Also we got a piece of legislation passed that would help extend the permit program that we have as well as advertise it among the freight milk hauling community. We think that was a very successful project that she went through.

We've also been working with stakeholders on trying to develop a project for the Freight Technology Working Group so we can look through homeland security and also through real-time tracking and communication to help with freight movement in the Baltimore region. We have used members of our freight stakeholder advisory committee to help us with a mandatory study which had to be done for our legislature for the transportation funding called the Blue Ribbon Commission. They're looking for funding for transportation. Some of the FSAC members sit on this commission as well. We have port stakeholder groups where a lot of the stakeholders come together so it's our job to make sure that we interact with them and participate with those groups and understand what is going on at the port, what is going on in the region, and how we can help. Debbie, would you like to speak on the milk hauling policy issues and on some of the other things you've been working on with the private sector?

Debbie Bowden
Yes, thank you. Good afternoon or good morning everyone. The milk hauling policy issue is a great specific example of how outreach really helped us to take care of an issue we've faced in Maryland for several years. Quick background, milk haulers are known to have more weight than is allowed on their vehicles and there have been several efforts to expand a heavy hauling truck program. We've dealt with multiple agencies including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene who regulates the milk in the tanks. We've dealt with the Maryland State Police and also the private sector.

So fast forward to how we were able to engage the private sector on this issue. Earlier this year we gathered all the parties that were interested in these overarching milk hauling issues and had a meeting and decided what were some of the challenges that we were facing with enforcement. One of the key elements with it several years ago it had been our understanding that we were not allowed to take enforcement against the milk haulers because they would be penalized for the Health and Mental Hygiene Agency for offloading the milk that was overweight, they would be penalized.

Basically through the conversations we had with the workers we had we learned that was not the issue and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said they encourage safe operation on Maryland highways. They developed protocol that is the milk hauler is indeed overweight they can step in to ensure the integrity of the milk is maintained while at the same time the state police or the transportation authority can take enforcement action is necessary. That was a great success for Maryland because it allows the highways to be safer and it allows the milk haulers to know where they stand on the health regulations and the safety regulations, and also allowed us to expand a permit a program that we have which will permit the carriers to carry more weight giving certain safety configurations of their vehicle. We would not have been able to get this issue resolved and have the cooperation of the milk haulers if it was not for the public outreach and engaging the private sector. Nicole, thank you. I think given the time that I was taking with the technology issues I think I will turn it back over to you.

Nicole Katsikedes
Thank you Debbie. I will continue. Also we participate in a number of private sector groups such as the Council for Supply Chain Management, the DelMarva Water Transport Committee, the Maryland Motor Truck Association and several others so we try to make sure that we are active and involved and engaged with the sectors as much as we can and that is one of the challenges I will address. There are many benefits for having relationships with the private sector from a State DOT perspective. They can be extremely helpful with providing help on special issues like the ones we talked about. We can pick up the phone and ask for their input. They are users of the system and would really need to make sure that we are engaged in understand what they're thinking is. They operate in a little bit of a different timeframe than we do just from a planning perspective, so you have to understand how they do things and they need to understand how we do things. There is got to be that level of communication.

They can be also extremely helpful with legislative issues. They can lobby and they can do lots of creative things that we cannot do. It's very important that they are engaged and that they know and understand what is going on. One of the things is to make sure to send out one-page briefs of legislative issues whether it is for state issues or reauthorization to the stakeholders. Our office also sent out brief when we feel it is important for us to engage the private sector.

By engaging them they still feel supported and feel like they are not being penalized and we are not just trying to enact legislation or do policies that are for us. They feel they are part of the dialogue. Debbie's example of the milk haulers is a good one and that we were able to bring everybody to the table and have some cohesion and instead of just us against them kind of thing. It's really something we could make work for everybody and there is also an economic development connection. We can shop transportation improvements for freight that can really benefit everyone in terms of economic development and that is very key. A lot of people do not understand why a freight project like a new connection or increased turning radii is helpful or how we can package all of these things and make that helpful for economic development in the region.

There are many challenges to engaging the private sector. One I heard earlier is that it's time-consuming and extremely expensive. The private sector has limited time to spend with us and sometimes when we invite them to meetings, if the agenda is not something that they are interested in, they do not show up. This is really something we have to work on to make sure that what we do is on their mind so as to keep up with them and understand with their current challenges are which change much quicker than we may anticipate. It is very time-consuming to engage the private sector. Like I said the time is limited and they may not always come to meetings and we may have to track them down. It can get expensive or we don't have the staff time or we need to rely on consultants in order to get the answers that we need from the private sector.

Also the freight community is extremely diverse. There are a lot of different people. We have a pretty diverse freight stakeholder advisory group and we do get some criticism from different companies that said they would like to participate. We have been struggling with how many people need to be on our FSAC and how many companies need to be represented in what is one company bring that another one does not and how do we reach out to everybody? Freight is also difficult to forecast and while we use as many tools as we can and we are developing a freight program with some help from FHWA which would not been able to do without their help, we are still not in a position of great information to help forecast what needs to happen to use that information to quantify benefits.

We do not have a lot of funding to do various projects. We are relying ever more on the private sector to help but we cannot quite make things happen the way want to happen. Our freight plans, for example, put out in 2009 and we are still trying to address almost every project in there.

Also, the metropolitan areas are a bit fragmented for us. Freight crosses a number of different borders so we are pretty stretched out and it's a little bit tough to understand all the issues that are going on. I like to also quickly address some legal issues. Just the other day we were trying to do some work on identifying rail served properties around the Port of Baltimore and were not able to get as much information as we wanted to about the conditions of the rails to understand how we could help. So we need to ask the owners of the rail served properties. One of the challenges is that any information they give us is subject to the public information act so we have to be very upfront about that and I think an earlier speakers had to develop a script. We have to do that as well as we run it through legal department. We have encountered some legal challenges with trying to get the information we need just to help the freight community.

Our future plans include enhancing and strengthening our FSAC and continuing the freight summits as much as we can. We may have to do smaller venues for specific topics. We will continue the policy role in engaging the private sector. MDOT will continue to participate in private sector groups in order to get the word out about what our efforts are in trying to understand what our stakeholders are doing. If there are any questions on the processes or our freight planning efforts or just specific policy areas that Debbie or I have been working on, do not hesitate to contact me and I would be happy to help.

Kari Beasley
Thank you so much to both Nicole and Debbie. Our next presentation will be given by Karen Schmidt from the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board. Karen, you may begin.

Karen Schmidt
Thank you. I will offer my apologies for my voice. I have a lot of text on some of my slides because I wasn't even sure I was going to have my voice today. The Freight Mobility Board was created in 1998.We'll talk first about what the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board is and how the process works. Then I will give you some examples of projects we are working on. We were created in 1998 and we were specifically created as an independent agency to look at the freight movement in our state and to also engage the private sector in planning and also financial participation in the projects. We are a stand-alone agency and we have a 12 member board governing us.

Representation is shown on the screen here so I do not need to read that to you but we rely on the private sector which includes ports because ports in our states are now investing in projects off of port property. The county and city folks as well as the DOT people are the ones that come up with a project and make the application. We require them to go back through the private sector and make sure that these projects are ones that are supported by the freight mobility movers and also by the people who are going to help pay for it.

The board guides agency's strategic plans and they evaluate and score every project application that comes to us. They advocate for funding, including advocating for funding as part of an overall package when their own funds are going to be tapped as with the truckers. The truckers have been very good partner at saying that they are willing to be part of the solution, but we want to see our funds go to freight so we have the return on what we are paying for.

We operate as an unbiased broker because we don't own any of the real estate and we aren't part of any movement of any of the freight groups. We are competitively neutral. We develop agreements and funding shares. It's always interesting to have the truckers and the railroad sitting together and agreeing on what projects should move forward and what the benefits are to those.

We advise the Governor and the Legislature of the freight trends and concerns. Our jurisdictional partners are the ones who submit projects for evaluation but it goes both ways. Sometimes the local governments or the DOT will submit a project, and sometimes the private sector will come to us and say we see a need, can you talk to the local jurisdiction to see if it would be interested in partnering on a project. The projects must benefit from freight rather than merely general mobility. They need to be on a state or regional plan and we prefer them to be on both. They must have multiple financial partners. We are targeting the strategic freight corridors. The definition of our strategic freight corridor is on the screen. We operate with a project list that covers about a six-year timeframe where we are bringing projects through the process and getting them into a construction phase. We found that less than six years is difficult to get projects into construction with permitting and acquisition, etc. More than six years is difficult to hold the partnerships together and certainly when we are dealing with private sector funding that is a window that is way too large, to go beyond six years.

As I said, the state, city, county, and port may submit projects but sometimes those projects are first submitted by the private sector. Again, we are competitively neutral as far as jurisdictions. We are blind to jurisdictions and freight does not care if it's on a city street or county road or highway. It probably has to travel a multitude of different highways in various jurisdictions. We are also blind to the modes because most freight has to go by more than one mode and we need to fix all of the modes and not just one over another.

Partnerships are required statutorily here in Washington. So we take our task very seriously and putting our partnerships together and going out and seeking unique ways of engaging other partners to participate in our projects. Projects are evaluated by both a board, they all read every single application, and we also have a tech team. Our tech team includes the Washington Trucking Association, the Washington Public Ports Association, PMSA, and both of the railroads that serve our state. We have 198 point criteria which is a quantitative analysis. We have found that it isn't enough just to select projects by using an application in scoring grade because there are some excellent grant writers out there with projects that are not particularly strong in the freight area.

We've also found that there are a lot of grant writers that have a great project but do not present it in a way that scores very well. So after we go through the initial project evaluation, part of this is also where the private sector portion of our board and the tech team will go out specifically to whatever region or whatever area or city the project is in and they will talk to local carriers in the area to get a hands-on feel for the benefits of the project and whether the proposed solution for whatever we are trying to solve will actually be successful.

The teams confer after scoring and then we have a one-day face-to-face meeting where they are given a series of questions that have come up after we read the applications and discussed them. If we have additional questions those are sent out directly to the project sponsors and they are asked to come to me with the answers to those questions and any others that may come up.

Here is our 198 point scoring grid. It's focused on freight. It took one year to develop this with all the freight players at the table coming up with a balance so that a rail project or port project would all score evenly across this grid. This has proved successful in the 13 years we have used it.

The final recommendations are developed and then those recommendations are sent to the full board where they are adopted in an open meeting. Project sponsors are advised ahead of time what the recommendation is so if they have anything they wish to add, or any additions they would like to add, any requests for additional funding, they can make it at that time. At the time the project is adopted there is a dollar value and a percentage assigned. By statute you cannot increase participation after this point. If the project costs go up the dollar value is used on the project. If the project costs goes down the percentage is used on the project.

We work with our partners all the way through the process, developing and nurturing partnerships and bringing on additional partners to our process. We assist with permitting and by having early involvement on the part of not only the public sector but also the private sector, and it does help us with permitting licenses, for instance with the railroad and some of the port issues. We assist with right-of-way acquisitions and we spend more time than I would like to mention brokering agreement and keeping agreements held together because when you do have a diverse group of partners, it is sometimes interesting to try to hold these partnerships agreement.

The legislature is kept current on the status of the project and we do keep their money moving because they don't want to see money sitting around. Funding approval for construction is granted by the legislature after we identify the projects we are going to be using. And then they approve of our final budget.

From that point the projects have 12 months to enter into construction and we have quarterly reporting that is required and it is tracked by both the House and Senate committees as well as by OFM. If projects are not moving through the process so they are not able to make their timelines where they are not going to get their permitting a right-of-way or partnerships get put together, then they will be removed for lack of activity and we will move onto another project.

We encourage unique approaches. We had a situation where DOT had a project they were going to build in Southwest Washington. It was an expansion of the off-ramp where they were going to add another lane and by getting the local truckers involved, we were able to do some demonstrations on the ramp. It showed that the addition of a ramp lane was not going to be as productive as simply doing a double pulsing of the traffic signal. It saved money and had a much better outcome thanks to the truckers I think I felt they had made a difference in that decision.

We do have groundbreaking and ribbon cuttings, and always continue to keep our legislative and congressional partners involved in their projects, but also to give recognition to our partners have come together to make sure the projects get built because it's not just one agency spending money to build them. We offer cash flow flexibility so if it is necessary for us to be the first in or the last in, we can have that flexibility to have projects move forward. We show cash flow accountability. Obviously our legislature is very interested in that as well as OFM so our quarterly reports reflect how cash flow is flowing. We offer a very nimble response because we are a small agency focused on one goal and that is the movement of freight.

I'm sorry for the size of this one, but as I said I was afraid I was going to lose my voice. We have Edgar Martinez Way right by our baseball Stadium and Royal Brougham right next to it as well. We were trying to get direct access from the port area and the rail yards up to I-5 and I-90. We have very limited connection due to the geography, and these became the choke point. The original agreement was not honored by the City of Seattle so we had to work together with everyone to come up with a new alignment to fix this problem. The secondary alignment that was proposed had a flawed design and we had to go back with our partners, both our financial partners as well as our additional allies that came together to work with DOT and the City of Seattle to come up with an alignment that would actually work and not create the choke point farther down the line. Everyone was in agreement and it was a very successful outcome. It would not have been as successful had there not been a lot of participation from various partners.

In Eastern Washington we have a project in a small community called Prosser, Washington. In that community they had a number of problems. They had a substandard rail bridge where trucks could not go under the bridge. They had a bridge that was over the river outside of Prosser and on this one single route through town and the bridge was functionally obsolete so trucks were not able to go over that. Then we had to redesign a corner leading to their manufacturing center, as well as a couple of businesses where the trucks were having difficulty making their turns.

They had a limited number of dollars so we worked with a number of the business that would be beneficiaries and those beneficiaries came together with contributions. As you can see we had a number of private sector donors that helped create a match for this project.

Our third example: the Kent Valley is the second largest warehouse area on the West Coast. We have a number of problems with the east-west connections out of the valley on the interstate and over to both of our ports of Seattle and Tacoma. We are building a corridor that involves both a roadway extension up to I-5 and two grade separations. To put the financial partners together, we worked with warehouse owners and by using an LID, they agreed to pay one third of the cost of this project. By engaging partners earlier we were able to have a lot of success in moving this project ahead.

We found there had been greater willingness to participate and financing some of these projects when they are directly involved in the decision-making. Consensus building decision-making has been successful in keeping both the railroads the truckers and others at the table, working together to solve problems. We understand that freight does not start or end on the state system so the entire corridor has to work before the corridor is beneficial for freight. The funding flexibility has been very key to keeping some of these projects moving.

We have experienced private sector support for new revenue if part is directed to freight. The trucking community has been very successful in helping us develop our budget, and also in providing input. We talk about various projects, we will go to the Washington Trucking Association, explain what we need, and they will not only internally work on an answer for us specifically on our project need, they will also go out and reach out to their own members and come back with an answer. That is a lot of help for us and not having to have a lot more outreach because they're helping provide that by their outreach.

We have found that freight mobility improvement is more successful when those projects are identified by the private sector, they know where the choke points are and they know where the problems are, and on a regular basis we stay in contact with the ports, the truckers, and the railroads and have them help us in identifying or problem areas are. Then we work with that jurisdiction to see if we can develop a partnership to fix the problem.

And it also creates easier coordination between private and jurisdictional partners when they are involved right from the beginning. If they feel ownership of the project they are more willing to help with permitting and also helping with solving problems that come up in the course of putting the project together. Direct private sector involvement has been key to our program and project selection by an unbiased board has been respected and very successful. Our ability to bring partners and funds together and also the ability to phase projects as we have money available to continue to move projects to completion even if it is divided into various phases. We have been successful in leveraging funds. We currently leveraging about five dollars for every one dollar of program money that we put in. If you have any questions, this is how you would get a hold of me or our FMSIB website. You can also go there and see our quarterly reports. They are pretty descriptive of where the project stands and how money is being spent. Thank you.

Kari Beasley
Thank you Karen. Our final presentation will be given by Liz DeRuchie from the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. Liz, you may begin.

Liz DeRuchie
Thank you. I currently manage the air quality conformity process in our region and in addition to that I managed a new, proactive air quality program the Transportation Clean Air Measures or TCAM. I am happy to share with you a living example of a successful partnership that we embarked upon with the Port Authority of NY-NJ and the CSX railroad. First of all I just wanted to tell you little bit about who we are. We are the fourth largest MPO in the nation. We cover northern and central New Jersey. We are home to 6.6 million people, there are 3.2 million jobs in our region, we encompass the 4,200 square miles and we have 13 counties and two large cities in our region as well as 384 municipalities. Partnerships are very important to us. We have a large, complex and very busy transportation network in our region. There is a map here that just shows you where we are. We're very close to New York City on the right, the state of New York to our north, Pennsylvania to the West and Southern New Jersey of course to the south of us. We have 23,000 miles of road network over 250 bus routes. We have a 10 line commuter rail system that stretches 390 miles with 150 stations. We have 14 miles of rapid transit and 50 miles and growing of light rail lines and 18 ferry routes, 4800 roadway bridges, 600 bridges, airports, and three crossings to Manhattan: the George Washington Bridge and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. For all of you freight people in the audience, we have the largest Atlantic container port. We handle 400 million tons of freight by truck and 25 million tons of freight by rail each year. This gives you a sense of who we are and we do.

We do many things. We bring together traditional and nontraditional stakeholders with interest and transportation. We provide technical resources and information to support transportation planning in our region. Specifically, we create a vision to meet the mobility needs of our region and we develop a long-range plan to develop and improve the transportation system. Our plan goes out to 2035. We prioritize more than $2 billion of federal funds annually to support transportation planning and projects in our region.

In our long-range plan, which I mentioned goes up to 2035 right now and we update that every four years, we have identified six regional goals. This is really the essence of what we do and what we are striving to do here in New Jersey. Number one, and these are in no particular order, we protect and improve the quality of the natural ecosystem and human environment. That is an environmental goal for us. We provide affordable, accessible, and dynamic reservation systems response to current and future customers. We retain and increase economic activity and competitiveness. We strive to enhance system coordination, efficiency, and intermodal connectivity. We maintain a safe and are reliable transportation system and save in good repair. And we also select transportation investments that support the coordination of land use with transportation systems. You will see that this particular project I'm going to talk about the tie-in and touches a number of these goals, not just environmental but economic, etc.

I will give you a little bit of background on the Transportation Clean Air Measures project first. In 2007, the NJTPA embarked on a project to identify and analyze transportation clean air measures that were not being generated through existing programs and that would benefit air quality and support the environmental and livability goals of the NJTPA.

Prior to this our work and air quality have been concerned with conformity determination and meeting the federal regulations of the clean air act only. We wanted to be much more proactive in improving air quality in our region above and beyond just meeting the budget for the criteria pollutants we had to look at. The project was specifically designed to augment existing environmental beneficial programs as well as to advance in new and innovative initiatives.

The study was identified in house. It was something that we decided at the MPO that we wanted to do and though this would be beneficial. In 2007, the MPO identified this as a study they wanted to take. The study was identified and a consultant team was selected. After this, a technical advisory group was formed. In this case, the effort was guided by a committee originally with representatives from NJDEP, NJDOT, and NJ Transit. There were regional representatives from the 13 counties in two cities I mentioned earlier and also the TMAs. Since those early stages the technical advisory committee which does continue to meet has expanded to include the EPA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the surrounding MPOs. We now work with NYTMC, DVRPC, and the SJTPO. This effort has seen us develop new and exciting partnerships with agencies we traditionally had not worked with. We were rolling up our shirtsleeves to work together. There were four types of TCAMs investigated. The first type was clean vehicle technology and this is the TCAM I will be talking about today. The second group of TCAMs was measures to reduce the vehicle miles traveled, and the third was anti-idling measures, and the fourth were public education and outreach. A total of 52 TCAMs were original identified and agreed on based on qualitative and quantitative criteria, particularly the emissions reductions for the criteria pollutants. From this original list, 20 candidate TCAMs were prioritized and investigated further. Fact sheets were developed and 20 TCAMs were considered further. Each of these were researched more diligently and screened more rigorously, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and finally the group came up with nine TCAMs that they felt were priorities. They thought these could be developed into action plans.

Of the nine action plans, we have current had success with five to date. A point I want to make with this particular webinar is that the key to success for this project was really to establish and nurture those key partnerships as early as possible. Involving people who you think may be implementing your efforts later, including them at the very beginning. You can never involve a potential partner too early.

So now we're talking about forming the technical working group. This is a key step in successfully implementing these are further down the line. We may not been aware of it at the time, but that is how it turned out later. We were instrumental doing the following: helping select the consultant team, guiding the project, providing the technical expertise as this was a rather technical undertaking, and helping to select a prioritize the final TCAMs at the outset of the project that was what was envisioned for the technical guys recommitting. As time has passed and we have more expansive, we began to realize many of the people on the deal can implement or so the final action plan. Initially we considered and included US EPA, NJ DEP, New Jersey transit, and so on; more or less our typical partners. Now we have included the Department of Education for New Jersey, the New Jersey Rail Carriers Association, Conrail, the New Jersey Trucking Association, and we continue to add new partners as we continue to develop.

This particular, public-private partnership was a program to retrofit or replace diesel locomotive engines for freight. There was an action plan from our study that recommended promoting and funding to retrofit or replacement diesel locomotives for freight. The benefits were quantitative and qualitative and they were very tangible and they were easy to identify. Quantitative benefits for reducing the emissions; we could measure the reduction. There was also some spinoff of qualitative benefits that we hadn't maybe identified but we came to find them out and were able to implement those as well and that was responding to the community concerns. Also reducing fuel consumption and extending engine life as well. We looked for existing opportunities. Rather than trying to implement these TCAMs all by ourselves, we looked around the region to see what else was going on.

At the same time the Port Authority had just developed a comprehensive clean air strategy and its purpose was to reduce emissions in advance of regulations. For the rail, the Port Authority had identified replacing five switching locomotives with gensets and this tied in perfectly with our initiative. Initially, we had discussions with the port authority and those agencies agreed this project shared mutual goals and would be beneficial for the region overall. At this point both agencies agreed to commit funds and staff to implement the project. The Port Authority then reached out to CSX and NS to gain financial assistance and staff from them as well. We talked about leveraging funds, but the money that we have that effort was modest. We certainly benefited from leveraging funds, we used that money not just as a minimal match but we leveraged it as much as we could. In this case you can see the respective contributions on the slide. The Port Authority put in $600,000, each railroad put in $300,000 and we put in $1.8 million. This allowed us to fund the replacement of two engines.

The NJTPA sought out projects which would complement other similar projects. I think I mentioned earlier that the Port Authority had identified five locomotives that needed to be retrofitted. Because our resources were limited, this public and private partnership between the Port Authority, NJTPA, and the railroads we were only able to do two locomotives. The other three retrofits were done concurrently by the railroad and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. All five locomotives were able to be replaced using different agreements in different pots of money.

Engaging other agencies can be enhanced. We began discussions with the Port Authority in 2009 involving other agencies as early as possible so that the project is known, understood and seen favorably. In hindsight we may have engaged the Port Authority in 2007 we began the project, but we did not know what the result would be so we caught up with them later. Highlighting the benefits of the project is important when you're engaging other people, other agencies and qualitative and quantitative benefits, and also creating an energy or a buzz about the project is very helpful as well. It is better to have people involved in a project because they want to be involved, not because they have to be involved. If there is an energy or a buzz and it is something new and it is exciting it's easier to get support that way so that is kind of a PR piece.

Securing a commitment, a firm commitment from agencies is important. I think the number one factor is securing a financial commitment, regardless of how small the dollar amount is. Any amount of financial commitment really puts people on the line. They bring money to the table is suddenly there is a line item in their budget they have to be accountable for. I think if you can get any kind of financial commitment from people or agencies or groups, there really says a lot. Also the commitment of staffing resources as well is important. It was intensive in terms of forming a working group and putting the project through. You really need dedicated people and people who would stay with you throughout so having a firm staffing resource commitment is really important as well.

The other thing we use is resolutions of support from other agencies. We want to have something in writing saying that they are committed to this project in order for our board to take action and approve the allocation. In terms of the project management itself, very common sense approach of identifying the overall project team with a key project manager from each agency is critical. Identifying a project timeline with specific tasks, deadlines and who is responsible. The importance of meeting regularly in person or via conference calls to discuss the progress was always useful. Things came up, this was something new that we had never done before; things came out of left field and it was really important to stay in touch.

Even though we did not meet regularly in person, we did have many conference calls in between, e-mails and so on that really kept this project on track. This is my Rome was not built in a day slide. In 2007 we undertook the study and in 2009 we met with the Port Authority to discuss possible implementation of the project. In 2009 we gained a solid commitment from the Port Authority and the railroads. In 2010 the Board of Trustees recommended funding and the FHWA approved the project and delivery is scheduled for December of 2011 for the two retrofitted locomotives. This slide shows my contact information for anyone with questions. If you want to contact me either over the phone or through e-mail, please feel free.

Question and Answer

Kari Beasley
Thank you so much. I would like to start the Q&A session with the questions posted online. We will not be able to go through all of the questions so I will go back and try to get answers to any we do not get to. The first question I see is for Karen. How were the volume thresholds for "strategic freight corridors" developed? Is it just a qualitative screen so that strategies can be targeted to known freight corridors?

Karen Schmidt
When the board was created and the program was created, they recognized that freight moves on all sorts of roads and rail lines and waterways. They wanted to target the most strategic and so I think as far as roadways they went with the T1 and T2 definition and that is how they came up with the level for roadways. We have rivers that move freight by barge in our state and I think that is how they came up with how much volume would be on our barge is going up and down the Columbia River. In the railroads of course that was more the mainline connection versus some of the spur line that exists. This is the primary threshold and this is the first step to even be considered that there are many other steps beyond that.

K. Beasley
The next question is also for you Karen. Do you rate projects on livability or on climate change related improvements?

K. Schmidt
We have some scoring that does get into environmental issues but it is not our primary concern. By statute we are primarily directed just to look at the movement of freight and as a matter of fact with our projects we cannot even consider sidewalks, bike paths, landscaping, or anything else. Simply, we look at the roadway that is going to move freight. While in our application we do have some areas where we consider the environmental impacts or benefits, it is not a primary driver.

K. Beasley
Okay, I have another question for you. Does the FMSIB "run interference" with county or local planning boards in locations where increased or changed freight activity might affect residents' living or working conditions? The participant asks in part because expanding freight rail traffic and facilities in New England are resulting in quite a slew of complaints about idling and working locomotives.

K. Schmidt
We will work with local jurisdictions. I said earlier that we have projects that are even recommended by various groups. Recently in our Tacoma port area, there is a tribe which is going to be opening up their own port facility. This tribe came to talk to us about how they plan to move cargo between the docks and the rail yard. When we understood what they were proposing, we got all of the jurisdictions in and all the private sector stakeholders that were involved in that area and we came up with a study that everyone helped fund to help to look at how we could develop that area so it would have less impact negatively on these various communities and still be much more efficient for the movement of freight. Yes we do work with the locals when we know ahead of time there is going to be a problem. Some of the sighting issues for truck facilities and railroads have been a primary concern for us.

K. Beasley
Okay, I have yet another question for you. You said that the FSMIB cannot increase participation. Where does FMSIB get its money and what is the average size of your budget?

K. Schmidt
The legislature provides the funding and principally at this point I think our funding comes from trucking fees that were targeted toward FMSIB. In our current six year plan, we have $961 million worth of projects and we are projected to be putting in $189 million.

K. Beasley
I have a question for Suzanne. Is there a difference between a forum and a roundtable? She is trying to imagine which might be best.

Suzann Rhodes
Technically if you look up the definition there is a difference. A roundtable came from the King Arthur's roundtable where there is no one who is the lead and everyone is an equal. A forum tends to be more like a set of people taking positions and speaking and presenting, like in open forum where people express different opinions. What you would use depends upon what you are trying to accomplish. If you are looking at a specific project, or looking at a long-range plan, or prioritizing projects, or are you doing something that is ongoing that you will do time and time again, or once a year or just an occasional basis? The best advice I think I can give is to make sure that the balance of the people in either the roundtable or the forum are not overly public or private sector. Depending upon what you are trying to achieve, if you try to invite two private sector people and they are the only people they are and it's a room full of public-sector people, the concept of having a roundtable and equal discussion is a bit muddied because it's not a group of people from the same perspective. I hope that answers the question.

K. Beasley
I think so. At this time it is now 2:30 PM and we have one question left which we will get an answer to off-line. I will close out today's seminar. Thank you all for attending. The recorded version will be available in the next few weeks on the Talking Rate website.

As a reminder, if you are an AICP member and would like to receive 1.5 Certification Maintenance credits for attending this seminar, please make sure you were signed in today with your first and last name or type your first and last name into the chat box if you are attending with a group of people. I will send out an email once this seminar is posted to the AICP web site. Please download the evaluation form and email it to me after you have completed it. Please also download the CM Credit instructions if you are unsure of how to obtain your credits for today's seminar.

Please note that we will be holding a special webinar on July 27 on the 2011 TIGER Discretionary Grant Program. Please visit the Talking Freight Web Site on the slide showing on your screen to register. The next regularly scheduled seminar will be held on August 17 and will be about Urban Goods Movement. Please visit the Talking Freight web site to register for this webinar.

I encourage you to join the Freight Planning LISTSERV if you have not already done so.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Updated: 08/22/2011
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