Marine Transportation System

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Friedman on Nation Building at Home

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2008 at 2:02 pm

“As I sat in my seat at the Bird’s Nest, watching thousands of Chinese dancers, drummers, singers and acrobats on stilts perform their magic at the closing ceremony, I couldn’t help but reflect on how China and America have spent the last seven years: China has been preparing for the Olympics; we’ve been preparing for Al Qaeda. They’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks. And we’ve been building better metal detectors, armored Humvees and pilotless drones.” Thomas Friedman column: “A Biblical Seven Years” NYT, August 26, 2008

Bang-for-the-Buck Facts: 1) We buy ourselves many levels of long term security by investing in essential infrastructure.  2) There are limits to how secure from terrorism we can make ourselves.  Pbea

Friedman on Nation Building at Home

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2008 at 3:18 pm

USDOT Secretary Mary Peters released her proposed “Transportation Infrastructure Reform Act,” a surface transportation reform proposal.  Given the status quo, which is to say a transportation system of diminishing quality and capacity, this suggested change of direction deserves at least one read by decisionmakers in Congress.  But Peters’ views this past year have found few congressional heads nodding in agreement and thus a small audience for recommendations from a lame duck administration.

“many different answers…will form the working components of a future American transportation system”

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Horizon Lines chief Chuck Raymond points to the need for changes in Federal transportation policy that includes marine highways and a tiered port structure.  He sees a marine highway system consisting of the inland waterways, long haul coastwise Ro/Ro service, and a “coastwise container feeder network” to give freight and international cargo water route alternatives to the congested highway system.  His article appeared in the July 2008 issue of

“many different answers…will form the working components of a future American transportation system”

The Next TEA Must Be “New”

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2008 at 8:17 pm

…this transportation bill should not be a “reauthorization” of the existing approach but should be a “new authorization” replete with new policies and funding strategies. Steve Van Beek, Eno Transportation Foundation

Steve’s piece is a succinct discussion of why the next surface transportation authorization bill must be more than a “reauthorization” of existing program and policy and what it will take to get a bill done in Congress.  Warmed up SAFETEA-LU won’t satisfy a nation starved for 21st century transportation and infrastructure.

The Next TEA Must Be “New”

The GAO on Designing User Fees

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2008 at 12:54 am

“As new priorities emerge, policymakers have demonstrated interest in user fees as a means of financing new and existing services. User fees can be designed to reduce the burden on taxpayers to finance the portions of activities that provide benefits to identifiable users above and beyond what is normally provided to the public. By charging the costs of those programs or activities to beneficiaries, user fees can also promote economic efficiency and equity. However, to achieve these goals, user fees must be well designed.” GAO Report of May 2008

The GAO on Designing User Fees

A Transportation Crossroads

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2008 at 7:42 pm

“…an urgent reality: If the U.S. government continues with its current transportation policies, it will undermine the social and economic security of our workforce and accelerate global climate change."  Washington Post Op-Ed by Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

A Transportation Crossroads

Norfolk Southern’s GREEN MACHINE

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2008 at 1:55 pm

This page on the railroad’s “Carbon Footprint Analyzer” webpage gives shippers a way to compare the carbon footprint of their current, non-rail shipping practices to those if they were to use trailers on rail or railcars.

Norfolk Southern’s GREEN MACHINE

GAO: Restructured Federal Approach Needed…

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2008 at 10:54 pm

“Surface transportation programs need to be reexamined in the context of the nation’s current unsustainable fiscal path.”

“Modally-stovepiped funding can impede efficient planning and project selection…”

“With the sustainability and performance issues of current programs, it is an opportune time for Congress to more clearly define the federal role in transportation and improve progress toward specific, nationally-defined outcomes.  (I)t may be necessary to shift policies and programs incrementally or on a pilot basis to gain practical lessons for a coherent, sustainable, and effective national program and financing structure to best serve the nation for the 21st century.”

GAO: Restructured Federal Approach Needed…

“Setting up a new federal mode-neutral discretionary program…”

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2008 at 3:19 am

“The nation currently lacks a rational, robust program structure for prioritizing and providing financial support to high value investments in new infrastructure capacity. [I]t is time to replace the modally-oriented program delivery structure designed around…earlier purposes with one suited to the challenges of today and tomorrow. A mode-neutral federal discretionary program is needed to select and support infrastructure investments aimed at critical chokepoints in surface passenger and freight transportation system. … It makes no sense to try to address the challenges of a major urban corridor with separate modal programs, each with its own evaluation criteria and program requirements.” Ron Kirby, Director of Transportation Planning, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, April 9, 2008

“Setting up a new federal mode-neutral discretionary program…”

Paying for the Roads: Finely Tuned Fees

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2008 at 1:12 pm

“So what do we do? How do we escape the trap we’re in: an obsolete and counterproductive transportation policy that has led to clogged roads and broken-down highways, and a political system that seems incapable of dealing with these problems? ”

An opinion piece by Owen D. Gutfreund in the NYT  

Paying for the Roads: Finely Tuned Fees