Report: Transport funds needed

Jill Dunn | July 09, 2010
A report said 50 percent more trucks will be needed to haul freight in 20 years. (Courtesy of Virginia Department of Transportation)

Transportation investment well beyond current levels is needed just to maintain today’s transportation system, according to a new report.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials released “Unlocking Freight” July 8, which warned of highway gridlock and a shortage of train trackage in the future. In a decade, an additional 1.8 million trucks will be on the roads and in 20 years, 50 percent more trucks than today will be needed to haul freight, the report said. Trucks will continue to move 74 percent of freight.

Pennsylvania, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas have 88 percent of the most heavily used truck routes, with the segment of I-40 through Tennessee and Arkansas accounting for nearly one-third of the busiest truck miles.

Greater investment, better planning and more highway and rail capacity are needed to address this growth. The capacity of the Interstate Highway System needs increasing by 15 percent and 14,000 lane-miles of the National Highway System should be improved to Interstate standards, the report said.

Recommendations relating directly to trucking include:
•        Add 14,000 lane-miles to NAFTA corridors.
•        Add 8,000 lane-miles of truck-only toll facilities.
•        Add 400 lane-miles to provide access to port and intermodal facilities.
•        Develop a National Multimodal Strategic Freight Plan.
•        Ensure funding eligibility for intermodal connectors.

The study also advocates increased collaboration between states and railroads on public-private partnerships and federal investment tax credits to finance growing needs on the freight rail network.

The study can be read in full at http://expandingcapacity.transportation.org.