Senate committee takes positive steps for freight, multimodalism, performance and safer streets

The Senate Commerce Committee this morning passed a bill to create and implement goals and objectives for the overall transportation bill, update our federal freight transportation policy, and an amendment to help ensure that federal dollars help build streets that are safe for all users.

As a refresher, there are four committees that share most of the responsibility for the bill in the Senate, with the Commerce Committee covering safety and freight, as well as a few other components. Today’s bills (including others not mentioned) represent the majority of this committee’s contribution to the overall Senate transportation bill.

Many components of Senator Lautenberg’s FREIGHT Act, which we’ve been supporting since its introduction in 2010, were passed out of committee as a part of S. 1950 today. It would create a coordinated national policy for freight and ports across the country.

The FREIGHT Act was combined with a separate bill about performance goals and objectives to become the Surface Transportation and Freight Policy Act. These two proposals both had language on measuring performance – one focused on the freight system and the other on the entire surface transportation network.. The combined bill melds performance goals and objectives from both bills to see if we’re really spending money wisely across our whole system, not just freight.