Monday, July 6, 2015

WA Senators Working On Bill To Provide Money/Planning For Freight Movement

Washington’s two senators are working on legislation to drive more planning and funding to freight. Sens. The Spokesman-Review reports that Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, are sponsoring a bill called the National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act.

The legislation would be a plan for reducing freight bottlenecks and congestion across the country, and increase funding for grade separations, to build bridges and tunnels to separate roads from rail.

In a news release, Cantwell said the U.S. must improve its freight infrastructure to remain competitive. Freight delays cost the U.S. economy about $200 billion a year, according to Cantwell.

The bill would authorize spending $2 billion a year through 2021 on multimodal freight projects.
There is also a smaller amount of money for upgrading short-line tracks where they intersect with mainline tracks.

The bill doesn't have bipartisan sponsorship, but is supported by the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, which is a lobbying arm for government transportation planning organizations, ports, engineering firms and government transportation agencies.

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.