By Lauren Schapker, vice president, legislative affairs, ARTBA

ARTBA is calling for increased investment in the National Highway Freight Network as the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S.DOT) prepares its National Freight Strategic Plan.

“Currently, trucks on the Interstate Highway System move almost 70 percent of all freight by value,” ARTBA stated in its Feb. 10 filing to the agency. “That percentage only stands to increase as e-commerce and domestic energy markets grow…To improve U.S. competitiveness, a high-quality national highway and bridge network is essential.”

The strategic plan was required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) surface transportation law and reinforced under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015, which also required that the plan have a multimodal focus.

ARTBA’s comments urge U.S.DOT to position the freight network as a primary focus of federal-aid capital investment, suggesting that data-driven metrics be included in the strategic plan in order to track bottlenecks and system performance. ARTBA also reminded the agency that research conducted by University Transportation Centers can serve as a resource throughout the plan’s development.

ARTBA has participated in discussions with agency officials throughout the development of the draft strategic plan, which was released in 2015.