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Mid-America Freight Coalition

Wittwer Named MVFC Facilitator

The Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition (MVFC) has a new facilitator with years of experience in regional freight transportation research. As MVFC completes its third full year serving a 10-state Midwest region, former CFIRE director Ernie Wittwer believes that members must continue outreach and peer collaboration efforts to meet multimodal regional freight needs in the 21st Century.
A new plank in the MVFC platform is a strong emphasis on educating and informing policymakers, industry stakeholders and the general public on the basics of freight, its importance to regional economies and the value of public-private partnerships in balancing economic competitiveness and infrastructure investment with environmental protection and efficient uses of traditional and renewable fuel sources.
“One of my goals for next year is to put more energy into private sector participation in our ongoing activities,” Wittwer told the CFIRE Executive Committee at its August 13 meeting. “They have the most to gain from what we’re doing.”
For 2009, Wittwer believes performance measures for freight could provide an impetus for federal funding reauthorization. “With an uncertain supply of federal dollars, it helps to show how transportation research funds have been used to effectively address current and future issues,” he concluded.

MVFC Work Plan

We are pleased to tell you that at the July 8 meeting of the Mississippi Valley Conference Board of Directors in Kansas City, the board unanimously approved the extension of the Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition (MVFC) for two years and theworkplan for the 2008-2010 cycle.  At that meeting, Dr. Teresa Adams presented updates on the current projects and activities of the MVFC and outlined the planned efforts.

We appreciate that hard work and assistance to help make this possible.
This executive committee decision continues the Coalition at the same basic level it has operated since 2006.

Proposed Financial Plan

Year State Pooled Fund (per state) CFIRE (University of Wisconsin)
2008-2009 $25,000 $125,000
2009-2010 $25,000 $125,000
TOTAL $50,000 $250,000

We look forward to having all ten states of the MVC region financially supporting the program activities for the first time.  With the ongoing activities in each of the states (i.e. the Kansas Freight Plan, Wisconsin’s Truck Size and Weight Study, the I-70 Dedicated Truck Lanes Project, and many others), now is the time to proceed with regional freight project activities and information.

The staff here at the Center are committed to providing service to the states of the MVFC.  One exciting new initiative for us is to bring on a new staff member to coordinate the coalition activities, expand member services, and improve communication with the committees. With the growth of the CFIRE and MVFC programs, we look forward to being able to provide enhanced and timely services to you all.

2008-2010 Projects

As expressed by the states through the Technical Committee back in March/April, further refined and improved, and now approved through the MVC Board of Directors and MVC Executive Committee, the MVFC projects for 2008-2010:

  1. Outreach Materials: Within the region and elsewhere, the general public and policy makers lack awareness of multimodal freight, its importance to our economy, and the fragility of our freight transportation system. This project will develop and disseminate outreach materials and media kits to promote awareness and understanding of freight operations and to communicate the importance of freight and multimodal networks to the economic competitiveness and well-being of the region. Each state’s freight outreach plan will be considered in the course of this project in coordination with state members of the Technical Committee. Budget: $90,000
  2. Develop Regional Recommendations for Reauthorization: This project will craft a regional message for federal reauthorization. The message will be a broad policy level recommendation to help position and define the region by emphasizing its strength, uniqueness, and importance. Development of the message will build upon the coalition’s analysis of the National Commission’s report and will complement not duplicate efforts by AASHTO, the Midwest Governors Association, and others. Depending on the advice of the states, discussions on revenue may be included in the project. Budget: $80,000
  3. Transportation Profiles for MVC Commodities and Industries: This project will focus on exports and other outbound traffic of products grown or manufactured in the MVFC region. Selected key agricultural and industrial products will be used to demonstrate the flows of commodities in the region and a standard profile template will be developed for the industries and commodities. This project will also analyze trends and potential regional economic benefits of modifications in size and/or weight restrictions. Budget: $200,000
  4. Performance measures for evaluating multi-state projects: This project will develop freight focused performance measures for multistate corridor projects. The project will build upon measures being developed for multi-state alliances and interstate corridors such as the dedicated truck lanes corridor project, theNorthwest Passage, Lake Michigan Interstate Gateway Alliance, and other Corridor of the Future projects. The research team will explore the transferability of measures across different multi-state efforts and recommendations for establishing performance measures for multi-state freight projects. Budget $110,000
  5. Critical Sections and Resiliency of Freight Corridors in the MVFC: This project will identify key nodes and sections, including intermodal connectors, on the MVFC freight network. The project will define and assess impact on the freight transport system if capacity is partially or completely lost. This project will involve risk assessments and include key components of the roadway infrastructure and intermodal connections.  Budget: $185,000
  6. Member Services for the MVFC Pooled Fund Activities: The MVFC member states will receive core services such as the coordinating annual meetings, supporting the website, quarterly reporting, newsletters, coordinating peer groups, and facilitating the Mississippi Valley Traffic Operations Coalition. Budget: $85,000

Corridor of the Future Proposal

On October 20, 2006, the Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition submitted a proposal for the Upper Midwest Corridor to be named a “Corridor of the Future” by the USDOT. Up to five Corridors will be selected through the Corridors of the Future Program. The MVFC was pleased to submit this proposal on behalf of the states in the Mississippi Valley region and hopes to continue working with the states during the application stage of the Program. An excerpt of the Proposal is posted below, followed by a link to the full document (10 pages).


The Upper Midwest Corridor is multimodal, following the path of I-80/90/94. The proposed multimodal Corridor of the Future follows the path of I-80/90/94 through the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Although the Corridor is defined by I-80/90/94, the connected transportation system in the region is multimodal, including:

  • Major north/south US Interstates 35, 39, 55, 65, 69, 71, and 75
  • Canadian Highways 401, 403, and QEW
  • Local, regional, and Class I railroad facilities
  • The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System
  • The Illinois, Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers
  • Intermodal terminals and ports

    The primary and secondary Interstate routes of the Upper Midwest Corridor are detailed in Figure 1. In addition to the seven states hosting part of the I-80/90/94 infrastructure, the Corridor’s level of mobility has significant impacts on Kansas, Kentucky, and Missouri to the south, and Manitoba and Ontario to the north.
    The states in the Upper Midwest came together to develop a vision for future movement of freight in the region comprised of three main elements: cooperation across state and international bordersmultimodal systems operation, andadequate systems capacity. The vision defines a future in which demands for transportation can be met by cooperating with each other and the affected provinces of Canada to efficiently use all transportation modes.
    The Upper Midwest Corridor lies at the heart of the nation. Major cities on the Corridor include Minneapolis/St. Paul, Madison, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Gary, Detroit, Toledo, and Cleveland. At its core is Chicago, the nation’s third largest city and the home to the nation’s busiest airport and the nation’s busiest rail gateway, accounting for one-third of the nation’s freight rail traffic.
    There is a significant opportunity to greatly improve trade, efficiency, and reduce economy-restricting congestion in this Corridor. The Corridor is an important connection between other significant trade routes and travel paths. The I-80/90/94 Corridor provides key connections to the North/West Passage I-94 corridor to Seattle and the NASCO Corridor of I-29 and I-35. These routes connect the Midwest to Mexico and the Pacific Northwest. I-94 through Detroit connects the United States to Canada, the nation’s largest trading partner, in a series of extremely important border crossings. The corridor also serves to connect the auto industry and I-75 to important markets. The southern part of the Mississippi Valley region includes the important I-70 corridor, with its connections to the NASCO and I-95 corridors as well. The interconnected nature of the United States transportation system is reliant upon all parts of the system to function appropriately. The Upper Midwest Corridor is essential to the entire nation.
    Link to entire Upper Midwest Corridor Proposal (10 pages)