Nadeau to highlight national impact of the bi-state metro region as a major freight hub
ST. LOUIS – Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau was in the Gateway City today for the last in a year-long, nationwide series of 24 roundtables to discuss the freight economy.
The “Beyond Traffic 2045 Roundtables on the Freight Economy” were a response to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s “Beyond Traffic” report that lays out transportation challenges in the next 30 years, including an anticipated 45-percent increase in freight traffic.
“This report was offered to ignite a vital national conversation about the future of our transportation system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Current trends, including a rapidly growing population, drive home the point that we need to plan for the future now. These kinds of exchanges are a vital element to understanding how to prevent gridlock and create a safer, more reliable, and more efficient transportation network in the years ahead.”
At the St. Louis roundtable, Administrator Nadeau met with regional business leaders and local officials to discuss the economic opportunities and impacts of freight, including elements of national and state freight plans. He also invited state and local leaders to share ideas on improving freight movement for the region.
“It is fitting that our conversations culminate in a city that is both strategically located and enjoys a robust transportation network,” said Administrator Nadeau. “St. Louis was a gateway for the nation in the 19th century, and is poised to do so again for the freight community in the 21st – important to both national and international markets and representing a premier freight hub in our nation.”
The St. Louis metro region’s transportation system offers four interstates – I-44, I-55, I-64 and I-70 – and is at the nexus of the nation’s key north-south and east-west corridors. The completion of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in 2014 to carry I-70 traffic has relieved congestion on downtown streets.
Nadeau held the roundtables in cities that reflected the freight economy, generally defined as a network that fuels the movement of food, energy, fabricated goods and raw materials that keep citizens employed, communities healthy and the nation globally competitive.
Nadeau added that investments in freight lead to jobs and lasting economic benefits for years to come. In addition, the shippers, manufacturers and distributors that move goods and raw materials—and are at the heart of the supply chain—rely on a strong infrastructure to cut operating costs, run more efficiently and become more competitive.
FHWA will share the information gathered from the roundtables with key partners to help them plan and invest in the future of freight transportation.