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Freight Provisions in SAFETEA

Freight Provisions in SAFETEA-LU

Slide 1: Freight Provisions in SAFETEA-LU

Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation

Tony Furst, HOFM Director
September 2005

Speaker Notes:

Good afternoon and welcome to the second special session of Talking Freight on freight provisions of SAFTEA-LU. We scheduled this session as a repeat of the first session to accommodate the large number of people who wanted to participate. We have also added a couple of points in response to questions raised in the first session.

As before, we will highlight the sections of SAFETEA-LU which have direct or indirect consequences for freight. These highlights are drawn from our initial reading of the 1,231 page legislation, and we may have missed something. Please let us know if you find other provisions that we may have missed.

Slide 2: Quick Impressions

Speaker Notes:

If you do a search through the text of ISTEA or TEA-21 for the word "freight," you will find far fewer occurrences than in the new legislation. Many programs have been expanded or created to deal with freight issues.

Slide 3: Freight Provisions (Programmatic)

Speaker Notes:

These sections establish programs that are directly related to freight. We will review them in greater detail in a moment.

Slide 4: Freight Provisions (Finance)

Speaker Notes:

Several sections expand the range of financing mechanisms for freight projects.

Slide 5: Projects

Speaker Notes:

Many of the specific projects funded in the legislation have major freight components.

Slide 6: Commissions / Studies

Speaker Notes:

Future legislation could have even greater focus on freight depending on the findings of several mandated studies.

Slide 7: Related Activities

Speaker Notes:

And there are many other provisions related to freight.

Slide 8: Freight Intermodal Distribution Pilot Grant Program (1306)

Speaker Notes:

Among the freight programs established in SAFTEA-LU is a new intermodal distribution pilot program. While the program is completely earmarked, selection criteria will be developed as required by law. The criteria will be coordinated with those for projects of national and regional significance, and will hopefully provide a basis for the future evolution of freight programs.

Slide 9: Truck Parking Facilities (1305)

Speaker Notes:

The new program of $6.25 million per year for truck parking facilities has potential synergies with the Interstate Oasis program and idling reduction programs. We will be looking at ways to use performance measures such as data from our travel time in freight significant corridors project to assist in the selection of facilities.

Slide 10: Freight Planning and Capacity Building Program (5204(h))

Speaker Notes:

Our freight professional development program now has its own funding to support courses, peer-to-peer exchanges, and other forms of technical assistance.

Slide 11: National Cooperative Freight Transportation Research Program (5209)

Speaker Notes:

A new cooperative research program has been established for freight. We are working with the National Academy of Sciences to get this program up and running soon, using the National Transit Cooperative Research program as a guide for establishing the institutional arrangements.

Slide 12: Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) (1601)

Speaker Notes:

Now to finance/ Eligibility for freight projects is expanded considerably in the TIFIA program.

The last two bullets take a little explanation.

As TIFIA makes loans, a certain amount needs to be allocated for various reasons for administering the loans. Those funds which are budget authority, set aside $122 million a year. In looking at the history of the TIFIA it translates into loan amounts $26 billion per year.

Slide 13: State Infrastructure Banks (SIB) (1602)

Speaker Notes:

The expansion of the state infrastructure program is yet another source of funding options for freight projects.

Slide 14: Private Activity Bonds (11-1143)

Speaker Notes:

The private activity bond is one of the more dramatic elements. In a nut shell this provision enables loans for these projects at a lower interest as the purchasers of bonds don't have to pay federal taxes on the incomes they receive. This places another option in the suite of financing options available to build and operate highway infrastructure.

Slide 15: Rail Transportation Provisions

Speaker Notes:

There are a number of rail transportation provisions. 9002 is a new program that will have regulations established as you see here, but is subject to appropriated funding.

Slide 16: Projects of National and Regional Significance (1301)

Speaker Notes:

Projects of national and regional significance. These can be the big mega projects such as the heartland corridor from Norfolk to Columbus, the CREATE program in Chicago, and Alameda Corridor. The legislation requires that these projects be multi modal and that the department develop an extensive set of eligibility criteria and the like, though as in the case of the pilot program we mentioned at the beginning of the project, the initial set of projects is totally earmarked; however, we believe that the criteria that we developed from this program will help guide it in the future.

Slide 17: National Corridor Infrastructure Improvement Program (1302)

Speaker Notes:

Much like the projects of national significant, there are a number of other specific lists of projects and programs. There's, of course, the national corridor infrastructure improvement program, some of these projects listed here are similar to the projects and some overlap of the projects of national regional significance. One item involves Interstate 81 in Virginia, which adds specific relevance for freight.

Slide 18: High Priority Projects Program and Transportation Improvements

Speaker Notes:

There are high priority projects. Some of the transportation improvements in here also include the Alameda Corridor, rail projects in Vermont, and a number of other specific individual projects. One side note, if you are searching through the text files or the PDF files that come from the government office, some of these project lists are actually bitmap files. So if you use the word search feature, you may not find them. Just look at the table of contents and plow through those 1,231 pages if the word search does not come up with the thing that you thought was in there.

Slide 19: Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program (1303)

Speaker Notes:

Unlike the other earmarked projects, this one distributes funds to the border states in accordance with the formula. And, of course, it's $833 million over five years.

Slide 20: Commissions

Speaker Notes:

Now, the future of the freight programs discussions, which will need to be done prior to the end of SAFETEA-LU at the end of 2009, will depend in large part on the recommendations that are made by national commissions and Congressionally mandated studies to be done in the near term so that we have enough time to discuss the results and develop legislation following. The largest one of these is the national surface transportation policy and revenue study commission, which covers both the condition of performance, highway, rail and other surface transportation systems, but also how to pay for the future needs all the way out to a 50-year horizon. This commission will have to complete its work in the next two years, again, so that we can have enough time to discuss the findings as we look towards the future. There is a very similar commission required on the financing side. The second one you see on this slide. They're looking at ways to try to combine the work of the two required commissions, since they do have some strong overlap. There are a number of specific studies and the intermodal system improvement plan which could help to shape future reauthorization.

Slide 21: Studies

Slide 22: Studies (cont.)

Slide 23: Related Activities

Slide 24: Related Activities (cont.)

Speaker Notes:

The TRANSIMS modeling effort being done is required to have a freight component. A number of very specific changes for truck size and weight, and dealing with either specific industries or types of vehicles or particular parts of the country, and by the way, there are also related provisions in the energy bill.

Slide 25: Related Activities (cont.)

Speaker Notes:

There are a number of very specific changes for truck size and weight, and dealing with either specific industries or types of vehicles or particular parts of the country. There are also related provisions in the energy bill.

Slide 26: Related Activities (cont.)

Speaker Notes:

Looking out at the world that freight operates in the Federal Highway Administration, the greater world of Operations, there is a provision for real-time systems management information, which is part of the congestion relief program. Within two years, we are to establish data exchange formats to ensure the information collected on typically roadside monitor devices such as loop detectors can be shared across jurisdictional boundaries. This could have some interesting links with our freight performance measurements program that many of you have been following, and we look forward to this being a new source of useful, more timely information on freight and other activities.

Slide 27: Related Activities (cont.)

Speaker Notes:

There are a whole host of motor carrier provisions in Title IV, but that's really the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, so we can only provide a few comments. For those interested in modal carriers, look at Title IV. There's a hazardous materials section in Title VII that involved definitions and authorities as to who should be doing what. Particularly now that we have a Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, it helps to clarify a few points.

There are a number of provisions related to data. Motor carrier data, registration information and the like has several provisions in Title IV. There's a transportation safety information system provision in Title V. There are a number of other safety data requirements, not specific to freight, but certainly that can affect freight.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which provides a number of fee freight data programs which is in section 56.01. In all of these slides the number in the parenthesis is, of course, the number in SAFETEA-LU.

Slide 28: Process

Speaker Notes:

Finally, where we are in the process, the Office of the Secretary of Transportation will be putting out the first cut of the legislation implementation plan which will require comment from within the department and once that plan is finalized, we will have our marching orders for how to make these 1,231 pages of legislation into the laws, regulations, actions and spending that is needed to keep the highway and other freight programs moving along. Once we have a chance to look at the draft plan, we will be getting our comments back to OST and when the final plan is out hopefully in the very near future, we will, of course, publish the contents and let you know how all of these various pieces are going.

Slide 29: Questions?

Any Questions?

Updated: 3/29/2011
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