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Primary Freight Network will help move goods, economy

Primary Freight Network will help move goods, economy

From the President and Vice President to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, and many others at DOT, the Obama Administration is working to keep the economy--and the freight that fuels it--moving forward. From ports to rail to roads, America needs a coordinated effort to keep our economic arteries flowing as effectively as possible.

Yesterday, as part of that ongoing effort, we proposed designating a series of highways as a Primary Freight Network.

Designating these sections of highway will help the States direct their road maintenance and improvement resources where they can have the biggest economic impact. As Administrator Mendez said, "By identifying critical freight highways, we will focus more attention on the routes upon which America’s businesses rely."

Photo of truck approaching cargo port

A FHWA analysis looked at the origins and destination of freight loads, shipping tonnage as well as value, and truck traffic volume. As part of our analysis, we also considered regional and local population. From that data, we identified more than 41,000 miles of connected roads throughout the nation that are most critical for moving goods efficiently.

The reality is clear: America's businesses can only grow as fast as we can move the goods they need and produce. By improving our ability to move freight, we expand our nation's potential for economic growth.

As Secretary Foxx said, "To create jobs, remain competitive and strengthen the economy, we must develop a more strategic approach to moving freight."

Photo of trucks on the road

Proposing a highway Primary Freight Network as part of our National Freight Network is a step toward that approach. But it's only a proposal; the next step must come from you.

In its Notice to the Federal Register yesterday, the FHWA invited comment on all aspects of this draft designation including the importance of a PFN; the routes we proposed; the scope and criteria for the highway PFN; and potential uses for the highway PFN.

So if you're a business owner, shipper, commercial truck driver, or someone with an interest in roads or freight, this is your chance to weigh in.

Freight is the lifeblood of our economy; together, we can keep it moving.

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My brother used to drive a freight truck and loved it. This reminds me of that. I would get so bored just driving all day. Thank goodness there are people out there that love it, though. networklogisticsmanagement.com

Identifying critical infrastructure, in my opinion, is key to growing the economy. Without being able to effectively target funds to the places were dollars are most needed, we are capping the level of success any program to improve infrastructure may have. By ensuring that we know where the money needs to go to have the largest impact on the efficiency of the American freight industry will allow our economy to continue to increase the number of goods we move. Also, if it is more efficient to move things by road, as opposed to air, there could be a significant drop in the price of hauling goods. That is good for businesses and consumers alike. I applaud DOT for their work to keep the country moving and will be interested to see how exactly the designation of primary freight networks helps American business.

We have commented in the past on the importance of the Marine Highway to the economy of the U.S. We need more funding to ensure the Marine Highway is viable from an infrastructure and a operatonal standpoint. It is well published that 1 fifteen barge tow is the equivalent of 1050 semi trucks.... Marine is by far the most efficient means of transporting certain material. Quote from Secretary LaHood… “For too long, we’ve overlooked the economic and environmental benefits that our waterways and domestic seaports offer as a means of moving freight in this country”, said Secretary LaHood, speaking to transportation professionals at the 7th Annual North American Marine Highways and Logistics Conference in Baltimore, MD. “Moving goods (people) on the water has many advantages: It reduces air pollution. It can help reduce gridlock by getting trucks off our busy surface corridors.”
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