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Talking Freight - State Freight Advisory Committees

May 22, 2013

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Jennifer Symoun
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Jennifer Symoun and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is State Freight Advisory Committees.

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. Before we move into the seminar, I want to let everyone know about the upcoming public input session for the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study, to be held May 29, 2013.

MAP-21 Section 32801 requires the USDOT Secretary to complete a "Comprehensive Truck Size & Weight Limits Study." The Study will be conducted as an objective, data driven initiative using the most current, best-suited analytical methods, tools, and models.

The Study will evaluate and compare the differences between trucks loaded at or below current federal truck size and weight limits to those operating in excess of those limits. The CTSW Study will produce findings on highway safety and truck crash frequency and severity, pavement and bridge infrastructure service life impacts, the cost and effectiveness of enforcement and implications for the national transportation system including the modal share of freight movements that would result if Federal truck size and weight limits were to change.

The first Public Outreach Session will provide stakeholders an opportunity to share feedback on the approach and methods USDOT intends to use to complete the Study. The USDOT will also solicit comments on "alternative truck configurations" to be evaluated in the Study. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will be held as an in-person workshop. Webinar access is available for those unable to attend in person. Three additional Public Outreach Sessions will be held over the next year and a half. To join in person or register for the webinar please see the information on the slide.

Today we'll have five presenters: Jim Cheatham, Director of the FHWA Office of Planning; Chip Millard of the FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations; Paul Oberle and Will Gayle of the Maryland Department of Transportation; and Sharon Clark of Perdue Agribusiness.

James Cheatham is the Director of the Office of Planning in the Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty in the Federal Highway Administration. In this capacity, he serves as FHWA's principal advocate for metropolitan and statewide planning and programs with the responsibility for the development of policies, regulations, directives and techniques to carry out the planning process. He also oversees the administration planning research program.

Chip Millard is a transportation specialist with the FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations. Chip specializes in providing "situational awareness" about freight issues for FHWA staff. He also manages activities for the FHWA Freight Council, which is composed of FHWA staff from the agency's headquarters, Resource Center, and division offices. Additionally, Chip is involved in FHWA livability efforts, working to ensure freight needs are appropriately considered while promoting livable communities. Chip is a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and participates in the Transportation Research Board's Urban Freight Committee.

Paul Oberle is a Freight Policy Analyst in the Office of Freight and Multimodalism at the Maryland Department of Transportation. He is currently providing project support to several rail study initiatives as well as outreach to local governments. Paul's experience with the Maryland Freight Mobility Plan and its development goes back to its inception in 2006.

William Gayle is a Multimodal Policy Analyst with the Maryland Department of Transportation's Office of Freight and Multimodalism. In addition to managing MDOT's Freight Stakeholders Advisory Committee, he assists in analyzing, responding to, and shaping national transportation policy efforts like MAP-21 for freight and rail issues as well as managing the Office of Freight and Multimodalism's state and local policy efforts.

Sharon Clark is senior vice president of transportation and regulatory affairs with Perdue AgriBusiness LLC. She has been with Perdue since 1997 and manages corporate rail and truck transportation for grain and feed ingredients. Prior to joining Perdue, Sharon was with the Andersons, Inc. and Cargill, Inc. Sharon serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the National Grain and Feed Association. She is Vice President and Treasurer of the North America Freight Car Association. Sharon is also a member of the National Grain Car Council.

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. Today's webinar is not yet available on the AICP web site but I will send out a notice once it is.

For those of you who are not AICP members but would like to receive PDH credits for this webinar, please note that FHWA does not formally offer PDFs, however, it may be possible to receive PDHs for your participation in Talking Freight if you are able to self-certify. To possibly receive PDHs, please download the agenda from the file download box and submit this agenda to your respective licensing agency.

Finally, I encourage everyone to 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 State Freight Advisory Committees. 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 Jim Cheatham, Director of the FHWA Office of Planning.

Jim Cheatham
Thank you, Jennifer and everyone, welcome. I am looking forward to this discussion of the freight advisory committee, and why FHWA is supporting this, form for stakeholder and the public engagement from the freight and planning perspective. Public and stakeholder involvement is integral to a good transportation planning. Without meaningful stakeholder and public participation, there is a risk of making uninformed decisions or decisions that don't effectively address the transportation needs of freight. With good stakeholder and public engagement, the fundamental objectives of fundamental engagements are addressed. This can assure the concerns and issues of everyone with a stake in the second transportation decisions identified.

Our freight advisory committee can help address freight in the development of policies programs and projects being proposed as part of the statewide metropolitan planning projects. Here the importance of freight stakeholder and public involvement can ensure freight transportation needs are addressed in the planning programming and operation of transportation system. Freight stakeholder and public input helps us gain information that we need to know. This contributes to understanding what projects that we need to prioritize, how we would prioritize them, and where the problems are. Freight committee members represent the freight industry and can help with that. States and regions have competing priorities as they move freight in and out of an area, and balancing needs of freight with economic development, safety, congestion, and sustainability is best done early in the planning process. The private sector can provide detailed information on freight related issues that might not be available from other stakeholder groups.

Their perspective on congestion, the economic development, financing incentives, environmental and security concerns are essential. Public agencies better understand movement needs in their area if they obtain input from private sector freight representatives moving freight on the transportation system. In recent years, there have been a number of states in urban areas where the business community has taken a strong leadership role in advocating for sufficient investment in transportation. Public agencies stand to gain a lot for the private sector. Freight stakeholders provide input from the goods movement perspective into the transportation planning programming processes that support the freight community and the regional economy. One of the biggest hurdles as planners we must overcome is demonstrating and balancing conflicting needs within a region.

Freight stakeholder and public involvement gives the freight community an important opportunity to voice their opinions, frame alternative solutions and provide the freight perspective to the public, elected officials and other agencies.

As you can see here, there is a list of what advisory committees can do. Many states, regions and MPO's already have freight advisory committees. They go by many different names. Regions with extensive freight activity found that a freight advisory committee is really important to obtain freight input. As stated on the slides, the freight advisory committee, facilitates participation of private sectors, ensure that freight transportation needs are addressed in the programming planning process that facilitates a safe and efficient movement of freight. They provide input on prioritizing freight investment by identifying high-priority and state freight transportation projects. We at FHWA have long been an advocate of an effective stakeholder involvement as early as possible in the transportation planning process. We are pleased to see Congress also acknowledge this role for the freight community, by specifically mentioning a freight advisory committee in MAP-21. With that short explanation, I also want to give you the contacts in my office, including myself, Spencer Stevens and Jody McCullough. You may contact either of them in the terms of the planning processing as it relates to freight. Thank you.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you Jim. Our next presentation will be given by Chip Millard of the FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations.

Chip Millard
Thank you, Jennifer. Jim's presentation really focused on why state advisory committees are important and beneficial for the states. In my presentation, which I promise will be pretty brief, I will focus on who and how - who should be on these committees, and how members can be engaged? So I'll just go over that, and the last few presentations will be from people actually on freight advisory committees. The first content slide shows you different provisions in MAP-21, and the provisions for the State Freight Advisory Committees are in Section 1117. I think one thing to really emphasize here is committees are encouraged, not required but encouraged, to be formed. You can see on the second major bullet, some of the types of stakeholders that should be targeted to participate in these committees. The roles of the freight advisory committee are focused on how they can enhance the freight transportation planning that takes place in the state. Let's move on to the next slide.

With the State Freight Advisory Committee, who should participate? The public and private sector stakeholders, who should be involved in the committee, vary from state to state and depend on how freight is moved and what companies/organizations are heavily involved in freight movement in the state. Major carriers, manufacturers, and other shippers generate significant freight volumes, are major employers in the state, and should be asked to participate. To reach out to the targeted members, utilize your existing contacts and available organizational and publication resources that targeted members either belong to or provide contact information about targeted members. Build on the efforts that you have already done. You will see in the second set of bullet points that there are various ways to identify potential members. They include reaching out to companies or businesses involved in previous outreach efforts conducted during state transportation plan development, or contacting different state or regional organizations , such other state government agencies, state or regional economic development offices, , state or regional chambers of commerce, or other similar organizations. They are also include finding and reaching out to new contacts through reviewing business trade journals or participating in freight-oriented professional organizations such as CSCMP,- which is the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, or APICS, which is the Association for Operations Management. Those organizations may either have members who are directly involved in freight transportation planning or have members who can point you to people that are involved in freight transportation efforts and who would be good to have on your State Freight Advisory Committee.

With State Freight Advisory Committees it is important to think about how the participants, especially private sector participants, can be actively engaged. There needs to be two-way communication that allows private sector participants an opportunity to have their voices be heard. Their input is valued whether it's in the form of presentations or setting aside time for brief reports. It's important that the committee's activities provide tangible benefits. Many private freight-oriented companies have time-sensitive daily schedules, so they need to believe there is value to their participation on the State Freight Advisory Committee. At least one existing Freight Advisory Committee I can think of, albeit one organized by an MPO, actually allows participants to have direct input into what kind of improvements should be funded. Having that kind of input will allow the freight transportation advisory committee members to discuss their company's efforts and how they benefit the state or regions within the state. It allows participants to better understand members operations. Having a Freight Advisory Committee can facilitate verbal communication between committee participants; this can include not only public company-public agency communication but also communication between different public sector agencies or between different private sector companies.

This slide just shows you some of the existing guidance resources available if you are in the process of creating a new State Freight Advisory Committee. A couple of suggestions are to reach out to other states or even MPO's that already have established Freight Advisory Committees. You don't have to reinvent the wheel; get their feedback about the positive things or good things they've done, things that have been successful, and also things they have struggled with. You can also utilize existing resources at FHWA that are available to help you learn more about public sector-private sector engagement. The last two major bullet points show you some of those resources available. The National Highway Institute courses available do not specifically address State Freight Advisory Committees, but they do address Freight Planning and engaging the private sector, which are important considerations.

There is my contact information and e-mail and if you want to look at information on the FHWA Freight Office website, the link is provided. Thank you.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you Chip. Our next presentation will be given jointly by Paul Oberle and Will Gayle of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Paul Oberle
Thank you, Jennifer. This is Paul and thank you to everyone listening to the webinar today. You heard a little bit about the federal perspective from Jim and Chip so, over the next few minutes Will and I will share with you our experiences here on the state level. Listed here are our objectives for today's presentation. I will begin from a more or less historical perspective, starting with an overview of the advisory committee. Then I will discuss a bit more about who is on the committee and how they were selected, and finally offer some observations and lessons learned. I'm then going to hand things over to Will who can talk about how the FSAC has evolved over time and also discuss a bit about what we are looking forward to in the future.

First of all, I thought it might be beneficial to show you the organization chart for Maryland DOT. What you see here is the overall organizational umbrella of the department; the headquarters operation over our family of modal administrations as well as the Maryland Transportation Authority. We are all funded from the same pot of money, save for the Authority, which is our tolling agency that manages our six major facilities in the state. What I want to impress on you with the slides is that we are a multimodal department. And, while each administration has a mission to carry out, a common thread that runs through each agency is addressing freight issues. So all of us deal with freight or freight related activities in some capacity. Being multimodal has allowed us to collaborate on any number of study efforts. We've had plenty of opportunities to interface with each other and also with the general freight community and that, of course, includes the private sector.

This is not quite an overview of the committee, but is more or less how we feel the committee should operate and the roles we would like to see them fulfill. First of all, we wanted a makeup of higher-level industry leaders. These would be the folks who could act as spokespersons for their companies and be able to speak to overall policies, goals and objectives. Regarding diversity, we wanted to get the producers, shippers, receivers, railroads, steamship companies, just get as broad a cross-section as we could. Thirdly, we want to include different geographical areas of the state that reflect what goes on in the different regions. For instance, farming and poultry production is on our Eastern shore. Manufacturing port related activities are in Baltimore and Central Maryland, and Western Maryland has a lot of mining activity and truck activities. Let me get more to the actual mission of the committee. The fourth bullet seeking ways to enhance freight mobility is just that.

We wanted to get some real-world advice from actual users of the transportation system and see what recommendations or improvements that they felt necessary. The fifth bullet, helping to determine how the freight system is used and could be improved, kind of goes hand in hand. These folks are, in fact, our direct customers; they have real world experience with transportation systems and know its good points as well as shortcomings. The next bullet, increasing Maryland connectivity and competitiveness refers to economic growth we would like to see happen with a healthy freight system. It also refers to Maryland's location in the middle of the eastern seaboard and the importance of connecting to other freight hubs in other regions. An example of that would be improving our highway and rail connections to the Ohio Valley and some of those initiatives are happening now with CSX's Gateway project as well as Northern Southern Crescent corridor. The next bullet, safety and security, is pretty self-evident. We want to reduce our truck crashes, rail accidents and simply make sure our safety efforts such as truck weigh and inspection programs are effective. The next item, --environmental preservation addresses overall issues of stewardship, impacts to the freight system and climate change and the need to pay attention to good land use policies especially locating freight distribution points and also looking at further investments in rail infrastructure.

Lastly, providing insight into future goods movement, kind of comes full circle. This is where we continue to need more input from the private sector. We need to learn the real world issues they're facing and in turn, they can learn what government can and can't do for them. Hopefully this committee provides a forum to have those kinds of conversations.

Regarding background for the FSAC, I have noted on the slide that activities began in earnest with the start up for the Maryland State freight plan which was in 2006. That probably started the most earnest pursuit of getting an advisory committee up and running. But in actuality we had been pursuing Freight Planning activities probably as far back as the year 2000. We have something internal called the Freight Movement Study. Another effort was called the Maryland Freight Strategy, we had participated in two of the Mid-Atlantic Rail Operations Study and there was also a truck companion study. We had the port side access study which looked at land-use around the port. I will say that they provided ample opportunities to interact with the private sector. These opportunities proved very valuable in getting new and different pairs of eyes to look at all the issues. I would also say that in 2007 while we were getting the freight plan underway, the department hosted an initial daylong freight summit that included freight stakeholders from all of the regions. And many of the invitees were private sector representatives so I think that's really got the ball rolling in terms of communication and outreach from MDOT to the greater freight community

At any rate, back to the freight plan itself. We had seen what the private sector had to offer us. So it was looked upon as being critical to have that participation in establishing a freight plan. So what I have listed here: relevance, credibility acceptance for the freight plan, we thought could only be realized through a buy-in from the private sector.

The next slide shows, more or less, qualifying issues for committee membership. Again, we were looking for executive level folks who act as spokespersons for their firms. I also mentioned that we were looking for as diverse a group as we could get. Also, it was recommended that we give consideration to folks who had previous service on state committees and boards- that wasn't necessarily a requirement but just a consideration.

This slide addresses our selection process. You should know this was a very informal process. Recommendations for nominees came internally from the freight office, planning office, policy and government affairs office; we also received input from our modal administrations particularly port and highway administrations. There definitely was a track record of staff being previously acquainted with or having worked with the nominees. We developed a list of what we thought was a manageable number if I recall correctly, initially we had about a dozen folks on the first committee. The candidate list was vetted with MDOT leadership and, after approval, invitations were sent out.

Regarding meetings of the committee- first of all, for frequency of meetings, we found ourselves a bit more purpose driven during the development of the Plan and getting together, I am going to say basically on a quarterly basis initially. Subsequent to that, after the plan was completed we slacked off to once a year. Now we're trying to get back to fairly consistent six-month interval between meetings. We hold the meetings at MDOT headquarters, but we are flexible to go elsewhere. We are not that big of a state so travel times are not major concerns to many people. Our agendas vary but we certainly try to stay topical. For instance, in Maryland we just had a gas tax increase, tolls are going up and on a federal level MAP21 just got new funding.

There are plenty of things to talk about, so obviously agendas will be suited to your own needs.

So this'll be my last slide before I find things over to Will, but I just want to share some observations and lessons learned about our experiences. Initially, our main concern was the development of the freight plan. It was a narrow focus and, realistically, we needed to get a bit more global to keep the committee engaged. Secondly, as if we did not know it, these folks are busy people so scheduling meetings was problematic. What we did was plan well ahead of time, send out early e-mails, reminders, agendas. It seems to work. If a member can't make it, they feel it important enough to send a sub in their place. Thirdly, we have a strong state and local presence. The membership is close to home. We know that they can and do offer us some national and international perspective and that has all been great information. It would still be nice in my opinion to hear from some of the major trucking firms like Schneider, JB Hunt, and mega-shippers who dispatch trucks from hundreds of miles away. They are not located in Maryland, but their decisions affect what happens on our roadways. So, how do you get them engaged and aware? That could be a future agenda item for us. The next bullet probably was pursued with some early skepticism over what government can do, but I think these outreach efforts have gone far to create better understanding. We often talk about what we can and can't do and it comes from both sides of the table. The next item, brick-and-mortar projects, remain of high interest but I think the committee has a better appreciation of our policy decisions the more they talk to us. Finally, our members have stayed engaged. I think we still have some originals from 2006 and I would say that probably reflects the relationship we have developed with them. We enjoy working with them and look forward to having our meetings. With that I will turn things over to Will who can speak to current activities and what is in store for the future.

Will Gayle
Thank you, Paul. Now that we have heard a bit about the background of the freight stakeholder advisory committee, as Paul mentioned I would like to discuss what was developed over intervening years and what it is currently doing and the upcoming activities. Although engagement with the private sector is nothing new to the department, the formation of the freight stakeholder advisory committee was initially focused on the Maryland Statewide Freight Plan. After completion of the plan, the committee's focus was expanded and adapted to several external and internal developments. These developments included changes in the freight industry, passage of the federal surface transportation bill with significant freight provisions and a strong institutional commitment to freight. Two corresponding internal freight advisory committees, the Intermodal Freight Committee - made up of internal modal staff as well as Interagency Coordinator Group - which is made up of enforcement and credentialing stakeholders along with staff from the Maryland State Highway administration and the Maryland Transportation Authority are all used to help keep freight issues at top of mind. We view the Freight Stakeholders Advisory Committee as a forum for discussing and identifying issues affecting freight mobility within Maryland and generating ideas to improve it. Since the original FSAC, an effort to expand membership in order to increase participation and perspective has occurred. To help streamline this effort, we found that making the selection process less formal helps provide fluidity and flexibility in the membership selection process. It's been said that since service on the committee is not an appointment, we have reformed the membership process by not formally vetting the nominees through Maryland Department of Transportation leadership. Rather, after identifying a prospective member we invite them to the meeting so they can get a feel for the Committee and then, if they are interested, afterwards we extend a written invitation for them to join.

Through this process, we recently expanded participation to a number of new private and public sector participants. As mentioned earlier, Maryland is comprised of a multimodal freight network encompassing maritime, highway, rail, and aviation modes. The pie chart shows the current multimodal composition of the Freight Stakeholder Advisory Committee, as we strive to broaden the participation goal. To help achieve this goal, several months before our most recent freight stakeholder committee meeting, our office identified sectors that we would like to have increased representation on the Committee. We identified a need to strengthen short line participation, as well as participation among the freight forwarding brokerage sector and truck stop center operators and targeted selected private sector participants within these industries to invite and join.

With the freight plan completed, and the passage of MAP-21 encouraging the formation of stakeholder advisory committees, we tried to make the FSAC a more proactive body. We found the formation of a stakeholder advisory committee provides the unique ability to communicate with the private sector. As such, we strive to make the meetings as informative and valuable as possible. As Paul discussed, originally many of the members expressed interest in specific projects or models that most benefited their industry. This insight into the desired projects provided valuable guidance during the formation of the Maryland Statewide Freight Plan and will continue. In addition to gathering feedback on specific projects and policies, we tried to keep members engaged as much as possible by structuring the discussions for the meetings. Thought is given to what relevant freight topic should be provided to stakeholders, as well as trying to provide them with outcome based presentations. Part of engaging FSAC members include keeping the committee members up-to-date on the latest MDOT freight initiatives. Topics that are discussed are tailored to provide information that will be of interest and value to the diverse group. For example, the timing of our last meeting occurred weeks after the completion of the Maryland General Assembly, so a brief presentation was provided by Maryland State Highway Administration staff on two state-sponsored bills important to truck safety. Additionally, having our Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy and Freight on hand provided additional opportunities for dialogue and a chance for members to hear directly from Maryland Department of Transportation leadership as well as for leadership to hear directly from the members.

In addition to updates on state initiatives, presentations were given on topics which would be of value to other members. An overview of a short line railroad that operates in Maryland was provided, as well as providing members with an opportunity to join in an infrastructure security partnership program with the Department of Homeland Security. Agents provided an overview of the program, why FSAC members should join, and were available to answer questions. As the Freight Stakeholder Advisory Committee continues to develop, to meet the evolving needs of Maryland's freight network, increasing the diversity of membership will make the Committee more able to lend insight into effective policy. We view this as an important step in maintaining a robust and effective committee that is able to help inform our efforts to meet future needs of the private sector in Maryland.

As I previously mentioned, providing Committee members with updates on Departmental initiatives and achievements is an important component of the meeting. However the value for us comes in hearing from the private sector. As implementation of the many freight provisions in MAP-21 continue to be rolled out, we view this as a critical time for private sector participation. For instance, engaging FSAC members on issues like freight performance measures and primary freight network as well as leveraging participation in scenario planning exercises, we will be better able to target and respond to industry concerns now and in the future.

In addition to these activities, we feel the FSAC can play an important role in future statewide freight planning efforts. Along with the Maryland Statewide Freight Plan, MDOT has many other modal plans that have freight elements which will be increasingly useful for the FSAC to be engaged in. Some of these plans include the Eastern Shore Strategic Rail Plan, the Freight System Performance Annual Report, and the joint Maryland State Highway Administration and Maryland Transportation Authority Statewide Freight Implementation Plan. In conjunction with freight planning efforts, education and outreach has been identified as an area which MDOT could contribute resources towards. For example- several FSAC members expressed frustration on a perceived lack of priority for freight movement during meetings with staff at the local level of government. MDOT is uniquely positioned among the modes to assist in a multimodal outreach effort to staff on the importance of freight planning to the local economy and employment.

So as you can see, over the years the FSAC has played an important function and as future issues arise, it continues to provide valuable insight and guidance in our efforts to provide a resilient and efficient multimodal freight network in Maryland. So thank you again for letting Maryland Department of Transportation participate in this Talking Freight Webinar. Both Paul and I look forward any questions you may have at the end of the presentation period. Also, I have included our contact information if you want to follow-up at a later date.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Will and Paul. Of final presentation for today will be given by Sharon Clark of Perdue AgriBusiness. Sharon, I will bring up your presentation and you can go ahead.

Sharon Clark
Thank you Jennifer and thank you for asking me to speak today. I began working with the Maryland freight stakeholder committee over six years ago. It has been a great experience and I appreciate the opportunity to share insights today. I would like to take a few moments to provide a brief overview of Perdue AgriBusiness, discuss the importance of freight transportation in our business, and share the benefits from participating on a State Freight Advisory Committee, from the private sector shipper's perspective. Also, finally share some insights gained about public sector freight transportation planning. Perdue is a privately owned company founded in 1920, our current chairman and CEO Jim Perdue is the third-generation Perdue to be the company. Since its founding, Perdue has grown into the third largest poultry company and among the largest grain companies in the United States. Our businesses operate across the nation and we have more than 20,000 associates with over $4.7 billion in annual sales. Perdue AgriBusiness encompasses multiple businesses including grain merchandising, soybean crushing and refining, trading, blending and organic fertilizer. With sales to both domestic and international customers in the feed, pet food, fertilizer and renewable fuel industries, Perdue AgriBusiness processes over 350 million bushels of grain and oil seeds and feed ingredients annually.

We celebrated our 50th anniversary in the soybean crushing business in 2011. Many folks don't know that Frank Perdue crushed his first soybean nearly eight years before he processed his first chicken. We have three different corporations that comprise Perdue AgriBusiness and I will briefly describe each of the three businesses. The first corporation I will talk about is the grain and oil seed LLC - the largest corporation and it may be our most complex corporation. It incorporates our grain merchandising, soybean crushing and refining, and international import export business. Supply chain reaches from the farmer to consumers of grain and oil seeds overseas. Partner with nearly 24,000 farmers in the eastern U.S. to originate grain, and we sell commodities to over 54 countries. Our second Corporation is Perdue AgSolutions LLC. This Corporation trades approximately 2 million tons of feed ingredients annually to poultry, dairy, swine and cattle markets and handles numerous commodities including canola meal, soy meal, dry distiller's grains or DDG's. In addition, this Corporation provides specialized protein blends for ingredients to domestic and international markets. Our third Corporation is Perdue AgriRecycle. Operate the first large-scale facility for manufacturing organic fertilizer from poultry litter it represents a significant environmental stewardship effort to provide effective market channels for poultry litter. Since 2001 it has developed new markets for poultry litter including use of the primary ingredient for Scotts Miracle-Gro organic potting soil, and Espoma fertilizers. It is also used as a low NPK nutrient for golf course greens. We have recently installed a prilling line which iso pening up a host of new marketing applications.

Perdue is truly a farm to fork operation. Our 24,000 farm partners begin the transportation journey by harvesting grains and oil seeds and transported the product to the local grain elevator. Once it is received at the elevator, it can be loaded to truck, rail or barge depending on the facility's capabilities. The grain can go to multiple destinations including feed mills, export elevators, processors or ethanol or bio diesel plants. Similar to other businesses, transportation modes, carriers and routes are selected on the basis of price, service, availability of equipment and infrastructure. Perdue AgriBusiness primarily deals in bulk agricultural products so size does matter and volume shipments translate into lower freight costs. As many on the call already know, a rail car is the equivalent of four trucks, a barge is the equivalent of 15 rail cars or 60 trucks and a Panamax vessel is the equivalent of 305 barges or 4575 rail cars or 19,400 trucks. Our Chesapeake Virginia import export terminal provides us with the maximum possible number of transportation options including truck, container, rail, barge, vessel and pipeline.

Why is freight important to Perdue AgriBusiness? Freight is a significant component of the trade -- the supply chain is essential to providing delivery to our customers. We dispatch over 175,000 trucks, handle over 50,000 railcars, dispatch over 350 barges, and ship over 120 vessels annually. This activity does not include the tens of thousands of truck trips that encompass the farmer's delivery of grain to our facilities.

Like many other states, Maryland is faced with significant growth challenges. Maryland's population is expected to grow by 1 million people by 2035 and freight activity is expected to double. Maryland has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country, with Washington DC ranking first and Baltimore ranking sixth in delay per auto commuter. Maryland commuters are experiencing the longest average commute time to work in the nation. Funding is also an issue-- the Maryland State Highway administration currently spends 82% of the capital budget just to maintain the highway system. Business and community leaders increasingly recognize that efficient transportation is a key factor in statewide competitiveness and an important consideration in business expansion, attraction and retention decisions.

I am fortunate to work for a company in which our chairman, Jim Perdue and senior managers are committed to corporate responsibility and community involvement. We value opportunities to serve in public and private forums such as the stakeholders committee, with hopes of contributing information about our constituents concerns which include our farmers, customers, vendors and Associates.

Participating in the freight stakeholder's advisory committee allows us to exchange information with public and private concerns. Importantly, the Maryland officials are focused on integrating freight into the transportation planning process, and including private stakeholders in the process. Frank Perdue used to say, "be part of something bigger than your own self. That something can be family, pursuit of knowledge, the environment or whatever you choose." For me personally, competitive freight transportation to support the agricultural supply chain is a passion. With world demand for food projected to increase 70% by the year 2050, it is critical that we secure the supply chain for future generations.

Benefits Perdue has derived from participating on this committee include first, a better understanding of freight trends and how they may impact their business, secondly, a better understanding of resources available to support our freight network, such as economic development efforts, and thirdly an understanding of what other public and private stakeholders are doing to address their freight concerns with the intent we can adopt best practices. There are also specific tactical benefits that come out of the robust discussions at stakeholder meetings. For example, the Maryland state police, the State Highway Administration and Maryland Farm Bureau, recently hosted a forum which over 75 farmers attended on the eastern shore of Maryland, specifically to discuss truck regulations including weights, inspections, licensing and hours of service. This was a positive outgrowth from a State Highway Administration presentation at a recent stakeholders meeting, in which shippers asked for more information on state regulations and compliance.

Insights I have gained through the process of being involved in the statewide Freight Planning process include: first that more is better- Each freight stakeholder has something to contribute and the more we can engage folks to voice their opinions, the stronger our transportation policies will become. Second, Maryland's public officials have a long-term commitment to developing a statewide transportation plan and they have a detailed process in place to achieve a successful product. This includes evaluating transportation system preservation, services and opportunities based on the goals and object of the Maryland transportation plan, and added to the consolidated transportation program. Third, transportation decisions are not made in a vacuum. Economic objectives, environmental objectives, and land-use objectives are just some of the related areas that can be impacted by transportation. Finally, we all have to remember that 'freight has no conscience' and if we cannot provide an efficient and competitive transportation network in Maryland, our constituents will seek one elsewhere. Transportation is about connectivity. Transportation is about access to home, jobs, health care, education, movement of goods and services, and recreation which can lead to higher quality of life. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to participate with other public and private stakeholders to try and make a better future for Marylanders. Thank you for your time.

Questions & Answers

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Sharon. We will now go ahead and move into the Q&A session. We do have a few questions. I encourage people to keep typing questions. Will and Paul, how many members are on your freight stakeholder advisory group?

Will Gayle
Well, there are 10 permanent members, but there's also between 5 to 10 regulars from various freight sectors that continuously are invited. Usually at a meeting, we will have between 20 and 30. Maybe 25 private sector are present and of the actual members of FSAC, there are usually 10 and those are really kind of carryovers from even back from 2006. So, they have been with us or quite some time.

Jennifer Symoun
Alright. The next is more of a comment- but Will and Paul, if you have comments about another factor to consider out of freight advisory committee is the military and for our MPL we have a military representative on are committed to say the very large military presence; any thoughts from presenters about that?

Paul Oberle
Jennifer, the thing I would say is that yes, it really depends on the kind of representation you want to have on your committee is really dependent upon who are at the major carriers, who are the major freight producers, the best term for the shippers, manufacturers, what not within your region but they play a significant role or have significant freight and transportation needs within your state or MPO and in some areas of the military is going to play a significant role in terms of the amount of goods movement taking place within the region. I think that's -- in certain regions that would definitely be appropriate.

Jennifer Symoun
Thanks! Another question for Chip, Paul and Will- Given freight transportation is a significant contribution to air pollution and greenhouse gases how could state Freight Advisory Committee's interaction with state transportation planners consulted with state air quality agencies, this could be particularly important for development of performance measures; Paul or Will any thoughts on that?

Paul Oberle
I'm going to say that we do have a presence with the governor's climate action and I would say there's a bit of a cross-pollination that goes on between what we are doing with the freight initiative in that. I am nowhere near an air quality expert, but we do have a presence on the governor's board and it is probably one of those issues were I could dig and get you some more information; it is not readily available to me today.

Jennifer Symoun
Chip?

Chip Millard
I'm not sure how to best answer the question, but what I would say that if you want to have different state transportation planners or state air quality agencies involved in the committee and think that is appropriate, that is definitely something you can do. One thing I will say though is that I know different carriers, especially the railroads and some of the larger truck carriers, are looking at different ways to reduce their environmental footprint in terms of reducing emissions. Many truck carriers are looking at or are starting to use alternative fuels, hybrid vehicles, or electric vehicles, and some railroads have been testing what are called GenSet locomotives, which are basically reduced power, lower emissions locomotives that are used in rail yards and don't consume as much diesel. So there are different efforts being conducted by carriers to try to reduce emissions. I realize the second part doesn't really answer your question, but the carriers' different emissions reduction initiatives are something that can be discussed or may be worth discussing.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. Next question for Will and Paul does Maryland have formal bylaws for committee membership?

Paul Oberle
We do not have any formal bylaws on the committee. So I guess that would be one thing to keep in mind, obviously, but we have been able to be flexible with that even though we don't have any rules or bylaws.

Jennifer Symoun
Next question also for you how do you integrate input regarding highway projects into your agency highway investment plan?

Paul Oberle
By highway investment plan, I am going to assume this is capital programming process. And not that we have a particularly complex system here in Maryland, but we have a long history of needs that have been identified and as Sharon mentioned 80% of our budget has lately gone to maintenance activities. We haven't been spending a whole lot on new initiatives. What I will say is, that our local elected officials have a major say in priorities. In fact, they will dictate their priorities with formal announcement letters to the department, which next project the department will be working on. If the question goes more to selection of freight projects, I will say that our State Highway administration has developed its own freight implementation plan with an inventory of projects that are truly identified as freight projects. To -- as a candidate list, and these projects continue to be vetted and we even use our freight stakeholder advisory committee to engage in that discussion and get further emphasis to different free priorities. That, still comes down to what the local elected officials have dictated to us and the availability of funds to start those projects.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. Next question also for both of you, do you have any advice on how to inspire a state DOT to make their State Freight Advisory Committee more active or transparent? I am thinking of situations for the group was formed as part of the process of creating a state freight plan but then not kept active or visible cents.

Paul Oberle
Well I think we probably had the same experience after we achieved our initial goal of getting our plan up and running, we kind of went into the doldrums with engaging the committee. But, there has been a reenergizing, if you will, freight is recognized as a party here within the Maryland Department of transportation and, just every tool we have as a valuable resource in having this committee up and running like I said since we have folks who have remained with us since 2006, like Sharon, it has just given us, since we now have an actual freight office here in the department so it has given us a new emphasis to just engage or reengage them. Like I said there are plenty of things to talk about and interchanges across these conference tables have proven to be very beneficial. I can't give you a hard and fast recommendation to put a spur in anybody's transportation part -- department to get this on, it is just here, just an internal recognition we have a great asset and we want to continue to use it.

Will Gayle
This is Will, I would also add that leveraging actually what is going on in federally can help spur that. You see that with MAP-21 there are freight provisions where before MAP-21, it wasn't at top of mind. Also, using other federal things going on like in Congress with House Transportation Committee having those special freight panel, using updates from that to spur people within your DOT or just your previous outreach attempts with the private sector as a way to bring people back together either formally or informally would be a good way to reach out to them or good excuse, for lack of a better term, to reach out to them and reconnect.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you.

Chip Millard
Jennifer, I actually have a comment in response to the question, if we can back up again. What I would say to Abby with her question is that I think it is important to identify what are its freight goals. The issue of what different issues are occurring with freight in the state, whether it's truck traffic, truck parking, intermodal facilities or port growth, whatever it may be, is that thinking about what each participant's goals are in terms of trying to address freight transportation. What are their goals in terms of addressing congestion, roadway capacity design, or appropriate freight facility locations, to use three examples? I think the other thing I would add is that it's important when trying to engage is you have to keep in mind that freight transportation is really a critical component of economic development. If we didn't have our highway system or trucks operating on the roads, or railroads being able to ship goods, or marine carriers, air cargo carriers, and pipelines, if we didn't have the freight system infrastructure our economic vitality would be negatively impacted. I think that's important to keep in mind when thinking about State Freight Advisory Committees and working to keep them engaged.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you Chip. Do reimburse travel expenses for members or serve lunch, dinner etc., expenses with your meetings?

Paul Oberle
We do not. That the advantage of being a small state. I think it generally has been due to budget cutbacks and so if we have a carton of coffee in a dozen donuts, we are doing well, but we do not reimburse travel and meals.

Jennifer Symoun
And how do MPL and RPO group split into the advisory committee or internal Freight Advisory Committee?

Paul Oberle
We don't have a formal in inclusion process for the MPO. BMC is the Baltimore MPO Baltimore Metropolitan Council. The department is in regular contact with them we have had individual members in the past we don't currently have a BMC member of the committee but the collaborate pretty much on every venture we take and certainly included in the committee meetings and invited to them and like I said I believe we have had a BMC staffer on the committee in previous years but we just don't have one currently.

Jim Cheatham
This is Jim Cheatham let me out a little bit about also, on the flipside of that, the MPO's particular the large, very large ones, probably have their own Freight Advisory Committees I know some of the work into that with the states so it also works they will have freight flows through the areas and a consult with a state advisory committee. Keep that in mind as you are in certain areas most of them do probably or probably here in the near future will start to sort we look to consider how freight works within their own boundaries.

Chip Millard
This is Chip Millard and I concur with what Jim just said. In many cases I'd say it's broader coordination that ideally does take place between the state DOT and MPOs. I will speak from my own personal experience; prior to coming to Federal Highway I worked for the Harrisburg MPO, and those of you familiar with a little bit of geography know that Harrisburg is the state capital of Pennsylvania. I had an opportunity to deal with a lot of PennDOT statewide initiatives and they were pretty good in terms of outreach to different entities, including MPOs, in terms of trying to have participation. So I think it really varies and part of what Jim just said about MPO's actually having their own committees means the MPOs can provide the states a different perspective within State Freight Advisory Committees that is a little bit more localized in nature, especially with regard to land use impacts or more localized impacts that occur in an area. The states need to think about how much input and how much interaction they would like to have in terms of having MPOs involved.

Jennifer Symoun
The next question, Paul and Will first the terms of a Maryland experience and Benjamin Chip rebound state advisory committees been used to select state studies and projects and what are the outcomes of this level of involvement?

Paul Oberle
I will say mostly getting back to our funding issues, most of our major projects have had legs, they have been around and we are poised and ready to go I am talking about highway widening, major capacity improvements that type of thing. Also membership on our committee, Maryland motor struck association we have a terrific problem with truck parking in the state and these folks have been invaluable in determining where we should be looking, investigating and locating new truck parking facilities so that is one example where we get direct impact on the committee. There have been other projects related to our railroads, and major, major project here in the city was intermodal container facility, this was a CSX initiative to offload containers and get them to a rail line that had double stacking capacity because we have issues with that in Baltimore. So, we had representation from CSX on the committee and that was -- I will say the FHA -- FSAC -- was a major political process to get the project completed. But, it was certainly in exchange of information and a general awareness made to the committee of what was going on, what is happening, the kind of decisions were being made. I won't do they have direct decision-making but, it is certainly -- information the supply gets fed into the system and we worked out that way.

Jim Cheatham
This is Jim I would agree with that, pretty sure the actual decisions made by the state, MPO whoever but they may in turn have listened to the advice certainly of the advisory committee, and have a great deal of input but the actual decision, a long and what they do is probably certainly what the states handles.

Chip Millard
This is Chip Millard. I actually had in mind an example from Pennsylvania when I referenced allowing the Freight Advisory Committee to have direct input into selecting projects or studies. I was fortunate enough to attend a couple different meetings for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Freight Advisory Committee, the MPO that represents the Philadelphia area, and I remember at one of the meetings I attended DVRPC had some different studies they had identified as candidates to potentially funding. They allowed the Committee members to vote on their top three choices for the studies to receive funding. I thought that was really a good idea because it provided the Committee members an opportunity to not only discuss and hear about regional needs but also have input on what the regional needs should be.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. The next question check I think you have the answer, does FHWA have an account and how many states have formal advisory groups?

Chip Millard
We have worked with our field offices, what we call our Division Offices, to conduct a state freight program assessment, which included State Freight Advisory Committees information in the assessment. At the time of the last assessment, conducted in 2011, there were 13 states that indicated they had either an established freight advisory committee or were in the process of creating a committee. Since that 2011 survey was conducted, at least two other states, Texas and California, have started forming a State Freight Advisory Committee.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. Paul and Will, how closely does your Freight Advisory Committee work with economic development agencies in the state?

Paul Oberle
Well I am probably going to get myself in trouble for saying things that may be inaccurate but, our Department of business and economic development I would say first and foremost probably has our marketing. We interface with them probably on a project basis mostly if we are affecting a growth area for particular concern they might have redevelopment and then it might bump into a port related activity or something along those lines but in terms of our committee there hasn't been much interface with economic development group. A kind of comes up on an as needed basis and more on a project basis. If there is transportation related to the property that may be peaked will have competing interest in and what they like to see the poverty used for we would like to see it for a freight purpose that is where the interface would come in but generally, on the daily operations of what we do here and in and certainly with MIDI related activities, we just don't have that much relationship with him. So I will just leave it at that. And if I hear anything from the business and economic development people I will be sure to share that with you in the future.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. Next question- why freight goals can be attributed to the Freight Advisory Committee, what projects have been delivered and has the process accelerated the delivery?

Jim Cheatham
Certainly their input to the actual freight plan has been a very positive benefit. I think a lot of operations to is -- has increased our awareness of dimensions -- as I mentioned the parking issues have been very important to the community, we did establish a truck parking lot or overnight lot on I-95 south of Baltimore and that probably is a good indication of where the committee was able to help us focus our energies. That is one example of a concrete project we've got on the ground. At this point again it is just -- if you want to translate input into projects given the budget constraints, but it is really the body of information that we are getting from them. Certainly we get to hear too about policy, cost of operating trucks in the state with increasing gas tax, increasing tolls but, all that just feeds into the overall body of knowledge we have picked up from them.

Jennifer Symoun
The next question -- Paul and Will: has Maryland added any alternative stakeholders, and Jim and Chip if you are aware of any other states that have done so?

Paul Oberle
We have not added any bike pedestrian alternative modes, stakeholders to the committee at this time. I will say there are advocates of the bike pedestrian interest in freight movement.

Will Gayle
One issue is in selecting members a lot of it is we reach out to other departments and do although we have talked about how much interaction we had with people before. And that just hasn't been something that anyone has brought to us. For right now that just has not been identified as anyone stepping up to be part of that.

Jim Cheatham
I would say if they could elaborate? Where are you going with the question? I will be that at that. We haven't had much interest from the bike pedestrian community.

Chip Millard
This is Chip. I was going to say that to my knowledge bike-pedestrian groups typically are not involved directly with freight advisory committees. Sometimes state DOTs or MPOs have separate committees that are focused on bicycle and pedestrian transportation needs. One thing I will mention is there may be the opportunity to include public transportation providers on freight committees. I don't mean to put Will or Paul on the spot, but in Maryland two of the three commuter rail lines in the state operate on freight rail lines owned by CSX. There may be opportunities where public transit providers could potentially be involved in the committee but I don't know if there are any specific examples where that is the case.

Jennifer Symoun
Just following up on that question, mentioned Oregon has begun discussions with their Freight Advisory Committee about adding a bike pedestrian member to help facilitate better discussions and needs. Here's a question for all speakers. What, feedback have you experienced the benefits expressed by the private sector freight advisory cancel members so Paul I will put that to you first --I'm sorry I apologize about that.

Paul Oberle
That's okay. Thanks Jennifer. I touched on in my presentation but a lot of the value we found in the committee as I alluded to earlier is the free flow of communication and ability to have a lot of constituents at the table exchanging views the press personally, find a better understanding of freight trains and how they may impact our business given us a better understanding of the resources available to support our freight and that works out what resources MDOT has economic development has and some of the other agencies in the state but last and not least it gives us an idea whether the public and private sticklers are doing to address their freight concerns so we can study those, digest them and figure out if there is ways we can adopt best practices in our own business.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. Paul and Will have you heard feedback from other members?

Paul Oberle
Well probably not as a singly assured that things I'd say we care from our tracking people most of all and we do get input regularly from the two major railroads so I will say yes it's working and that capacity.

Jennifer Symoun
Jim or Chip?

Jim Cheatham
I would agree with both of them I think the big piece, other part of that is it gives them a voice they can also learn what is going through actually the direction to the states before the MPO was proceeding or looking up they have a voice in how things go I think would be the other board factor in this.

Jennifer Symoun
One more question. In Maryland how has the Freight Advisory Committee interacted with advisory committees from surrounding states?

Paul Oberle
I would say there has been kind of a upper-level conversations we haven't really had too many discussions or traded representation probably a good suggestion for as to [Indiscernible] to Delaware, Pennsylvania and find out but to be honest I haven't had a ton of interaction other than I just -- meeting announcement, project announcement, hearings going on, more or less a public announcement level paying but I will take it -- level paying I will take it as a suggestion to trade information with them more so than what we are doing now.

Chip Millard
One thing I would note is Maryland and for that matter some surrounding states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic belong to the I-95 Corridor Coalition, which is a multi-state organization that includes members from all of the states that I-95 passes through. I think that group formed to primarily address operational issues but it also focuses on freight operations and freight truck movements. I know there are some other similar multi-state efforts taking place around the country that are also freight focused.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you all for attending today's seminar. The recorded version of this event will be available within the next few weeks on the Talking Freight website.

The next seminar will be held on June 19. More information about the topic of this seminar and a link to register will be available soon. I will send a notice out through the Freight Planning LISTSERV once it is available.

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

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Updated: 06/21/2013
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