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Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act"

Freight Planning and Policy Provisions

Program purpose

The FAST Act includes several provisions to improve the condition and performance of the national freight network and to support investment in freight-related surface transportation projects.

Statutory citations

FAST Act § 8001; 49 U.S.C. 70101-70103, 70201-70204

Freight Policy and Strategic Plan

National Multimodal Freight Policy

The FAST Act establishes a national policy of maintaining and improving the condition and performance of the National Multimodal Freight Network (“the Network”), described below, to ensure that the Network provides a foundation for the U.S. to compete in the global economy. The FAST Act specifies goals associated with this national policy related to the condition, safety, security, efficiency, productivity, resiliency, and reliability of the Network, and also to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of freight movement on the Network. These goals are to be pursued in a manner that is not burdensome to State and local governments. [49 U.S.C. 70101]

National Freight Strategic Plan

Within 2 years of enactment, the FAST Act requires DOT to establish (and publish on its website) a national freight strategic plan. DOT will develop (and update) the plan in consultation with State DOTs, MPOs, and other appropriate public and private transportation stakeholders. [49 U.S.C. 70102]

The national freight strategic plan will include—

Within 5 years of completing the national freight strategic plan, and every 5 years thereafter, DOT must update the plan and publish it on its website. [49 U.S.C. 70102]

National Multimodal Freight Network [49 U.S.C. 70103]

Goals of the Network

The FAST Act directs DOT to establish a National Multimodal Freight Network to—

Establishment of Interim Network

Within 180 days of enactment, DOT must establish an interim Network, to include—

Designation (and redesignation) of final Network

Within one year of enactment, DOT must designate a final National Multimodal Freight Network. Within 5 years after initial designation, and every 5 years thereafter, DOT must redesignate the Network.

When designating a final Network, DOT must solicit input from stakeholders, including multimodal freight system users, transportation providers, MPOs, local governments, ports, airports, railroads, and States through a public process. [49 U.S.C. 70103(c)]

Other Freight Provisions

State freight advisory committees

The FAST Act requires DOT to encourage each State to establish a State freight advisory committee, to consist of a representative cross-section of public and private freight stakeholders. The role of a State freight advisory committee is to—

[49 U.S.C. 70201]

State freight plans

To receive funding under the National Highway Freight Program (23 U.S.C. 167), the FAST Act requires each State to develop a State freight plan, which must comprehensively address the State’s freight planning activities and investments (both immediate and long-range). A State may develop its freight plan either separately from, or incorporated within, its statewide strategic long-range transportation plan required by 23 U.S.C. 135. Among other requirements, a State freight plan must—

The State must update its freight plan at least every five years, and may update its freight investment plan more frequently than the overall freight plan. [49 U.S.C. 70202(e)]

Transportation investment data and planning tools

Within one year of enactment, the FAST Act requires DOT to begin developing new tools (and improving existing tools) to support an outcome-oriented, performance-based approach to the evaluation of proposed freight-related and other transportation projects. [49 U.S.C. 70203]

Freight conditions and performance report

The FAST Act continues the requirement for DOT to provide Congress with a biennial report on the condition and performance of the National Highway Freight Network. [FAST Act § 1116; 23 U.S.C. 167(h)]

February 2016

Page last modified on February 8, 2017
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