Marine Transportation System

Say It Again, Solon

In Marine Highway, MTS Policy, Surface Transportation Policy on October 5, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Some things are worth repeating. Especially on the subject of putting our waterways and waterfront to greater productive use.

Here’s a for-instance — excerpts from a recent statement by Rep. John Mica (R-FL), the ranking minority member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, as submitted to the America’s Marine Highways website.

  • “As construction costs rise, and as the resources to address our growing infrastructure needs become stretched thinner by the day, it is…important that we use all of our transportation assets more wisely and effectively.
  • “I have advocated for the development of a national strategic transportation plan that considers our various modes of transportation as components of one comprehensive system, drawing on the strengths of each mode, rather than as separate unrelated transportation systems.
  • “The nation would clearly benefit from the greater use of coastwise trade on our nation’s marine highways as part of a national transportation strategy” …. “Marine highways are energy efficient and can yield positive environmental benefits.
  • “If waterborne routes are to be fully used, industry must develop new options that are better suited for moving higher value and more time-sensitive goods.
  • “However, there are still roadblocks that may limit the establishment of new waterborne transportation routes. Chief among these is the imposition of the Harbor Maintenance Tax on cargo carried by vessel between U.S. ports.
  • “Of course, all proposals to better use our transportation system faces challenges…. Financing ships without the commitment of cargo is not easy. Obtaining a commitment for cargo without existing ships and an established schedule is not easy. Financing and permitting for the expansion of port facilities is never a simple or easy task….  However, these are challenges we can and must overcome.”

John Mica is an influential Member of Congress who is playing a key role in the crafting of the replacement for SAFETEA-LU, along with his counterpart Chairman Jim Oberstar, another supporter of the marine highway.   Mica is one of a small number of legislators who has spoken in terms of national strategic transportation planning, modal components being of a single transportation system, and the importance of developing the marine highway…all in the context of surface transportation policy.

That’s worth repeating…and reading in full.  With any luck his colleagues of the House and Senate will listen.   Pbea

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