By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– On May 30, 2013, SANBAG had the distinct privilege of hosting the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation as they held a hearing on “How Southern California’s Freight Transportation Challenges Impact the Nation.”
The Panel members expressed their appreciation for the freight issues faced throughout the Southern California region, agreed that the federal government had a significant role to play in building capacity and mitigating the impacts of freight movement, and stated they were impressed at the way the state and local governments have stepped up to fund infrastructure projects in the region. They also appreciated the region’s unanimity in their message to the panel about a federal funding role and the need for a dedicated trust fund.
The questions from the Panel members primarily centered on what revenue sources would be used to fund goods movement projects, what projects would be prioritized for funding, and how Congress can best mitigate the impacts of freight movement on local communities. With respect to future funding sources for goods movement, a variety of potential sources were discussed, noting that Congress needs to focus on who benefits from the investments versus who is paying. They also discussed streamlining project delivery, remaining competitive with the deepening of the Panama Canal and also goods coming in from Canada and Mexico, California’s experience with the Goods Movement Action Plan, and the need to include input from environmental stakeholders as well.
It was indeed an honor for SANBAG to host such a prestigious panel and event and be able to showcase the needs of our region. We were also able to have a brief meeting with the Panel members before the start of the hearing to communicate SANBAG’s goods movement impacts and project needs in greater detail.
This six month panel is expected to finalize their work in the late fall and submit a report to Congress on how to address the nation’s freight challenges in the next transportation reauthorization bill.