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DOT's TIGER Strengthening American Freight Rail

Thanks to DOT’s TIGER program, last week was a great one for American rail.  Of the $474 million in funding awarded to 52 projects in 37 states, $146 million of it – or about 30 percent of all funding – went to 17 rail projects in 16 states, extending the program’s four-year reach to 48 states and $808 million in project funding.

Supporting President Obama’s call to “Fix-it First,” I had the pleasure of announcing two of these grant awards in person, and to see firsthand the commitment of state, city, and community leaders to do what it takes to enhance the safety, efficiency and reliability of their freight rail systems. 

Photo of FRA Administrator Szabo with Vermont Governor Shumlin
FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin; photo courtesy Vermont Digger, John Herrick

How does your freight move?

Pie chart showing modal share of freight movement.

In May, $98.6 billion in goods moved into and out of the U.S. across our borders with Mexico ($43.8 billion) and Canada ($54.8 billion). Wondering how those raw materials, parts, supplies, finished goods, and food that fuel our economy got where they needed to go? The pie chart above has your breakdown. Is there an alpha dog in the NAFTA trade pack? Trucking makes its claim with nearly 61 percent of U.S. trade with our North American neighbors.

Freight Shipments Rose 1.2% in May from April

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 1.2 percent in May from April, rising after a one month decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The May 2013 index level (114.3) was 20.6 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession (Tables 1, 2, and 2A).

TIGER to power Port of Northern Montana Multimodal Hub Center

To get agricultural and manufacturing products to world markets, producers need to transport them in shipping containers that are standardized for trucks, trains, and ships. Unfortunately, businesses in Montana can't ship or receive containerized international cargo effectively because the state lacks an inland port capable of accepting and delivering intermodal unit trains.

That's where DOT's TIGER program comes in. This competitive grant program was designed to support transportation solutions that also generate economic growth. And today the program continued its track record of doing exactly that with a grant of $10 million for the Port of Northern Montana Multimodal Hub Center to expand the capacity of Montana’s producers.

“The Multimodal Hub Center will provide Montana with an inland port that will help increase trade and create economic opportunities for its residents and businesses,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Photo of a freight train near Shelby, Montana

California seeks to break freight bottleneck

Devore Interchange project latest in DOT support to improve freight movement

California's Devore Interchange is a critical freight link serving 21,000 trucks each day. It links Interstates 15 and 215; and it connects freight traffic from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with critical points east. It also carries more than one million drivers per week and can back up as far as five miles due to excess volume.

A bottleneck like that doesn't just slow down San Bernardino County; it slows down our nation's economy. So we're pleased to see that California has broken ground on a modernized Devore Interchange that will relieve freight congestion through this critical corridor.

Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau was on hand to help state and local officials celebrate the start of this important project. And he offered three terrific reasons for the $245 million federal investment to see this work through...

Infographic of traffic statistics for the Devore project area

National Freight Advisory Committee moving forward

This morning, the National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC) kicked off its first meeting, and everyone at DOT is excited to see this important effort move forward. After all, our ability to move freight plays an important role in our ability to grow the American economy. A healthy economy requires a transportation network that is always improving the way it circulates freight.

About 48 million tons of freight are transported across America each day, and every little improvement to our freight system can make a tremendous economic difference. That adds up to a daily value of $46 billion worth of new refrigerators, cars, food, raw materials, and machinery bound for factories, markets, and consumers.

Photo of Secretary LaHood addressing first National Freight Advisory Committee meeting

Rhode Island on Forefront of National Freight Network

One of the most important components of a healthy economy is modern port infrastructure to feed our maritime transportation system.  By investing in our waterways, we create jobs, improve economic competitiveness, and build prosperity over the long term.

Today at the Rhode Island Ports Showcase in Providence, Acting Maritime Administrator, Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen spoke about DOT’s commitment to making such investments.

Photo of Rep. Jim Langevin (front), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Acting Maritime Administrator Paul 'Chip' Jaenichen, and ProvPort Chief Operating Officer Bruce Waterson
Rep. Jim Langevin (front), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Acting Maritime Administrator Paul 'Chip' Jaenichen, and ProvPort Chief Operating Officer Bruce Waterson

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