Category: Funding

MAFC Releases Report Looking at the Impact of Upper Mississippi River Lock and Dam Shutdowns on State Highway Infrastructure

The Mid-America Freight Coalition (MAFC) has released a report on the impact lock and dam closures along the Upper Mississippi River would have on the parallel highways based on the increased truck numbers required to move displaced agricultural products.

The Mississippi River is a critical corridor for transportation of agricultural products and, in turn, is critical to the economies of the states that utilize the river to transport these trade goods. Five of the MAFC region’s states are dependent on the Upper Mississippi River to move the majority of their agricultural products.

Movement through the Upper Mississippi is facilitated through locks and dams, all of which were constructed between the 1930’s and late 1950’s. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) estimates that there are over $1 billion in backlogged maintenance costs for these structures. Given the age and maintenance backlog, a failure at any of these facilities, especially the southernmost, would divert agricultural products to truck or rail.

The report assesses the total impact of such closures and then demonstrates how the cost the closures, or improvements designed to mitigate their impact on the highway side, compare with the cost of improving Upper Mississippi River control structures.

Download the Report.

Eight MAFC States Awarded 2015 TIGER Grant

Eight of the ten MAFC states–Kansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin–have been awarded a 2015 TIGER grant for a Regional Truck Parking Information and Management System.

MAFC researchers supported this TIGER application with a synthesis of the literature and previous efforts to study, test, and implement a range of truck parking information systems across the United States and Europe. They will also participate in the Truck Parking Information Management work team, now established to provide coordination in support of implementation of the grant.

Beyond Traffic 2045

US DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx recently unveiled Beyond Traffic:

…a new forward-looking analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation outlining  the trends that are likely to  shape the needs of our transportation system over the next three decades. Beyond Traffic is offered to the public as a draft to ignite a national conversation about the future of the U.S. transportation system and to objectively frame critical policy choices that need to be made. A final report will be released later in 2015 based on the ideas and public feedback generated by this analysis.

Secretary Fox devoted some attention to freight issues.

How will we move things?

How will we move better?

For more information, visit Beyond Traffic: US DOT’s 30 Year Framework for the Future.

Port Planning and Investment Toolkit

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) recently released a Port Planning and Investment Toolkit.

The Port Planning and Investment Toolkit is being built around modules on planning, funding and executing projects, with the goal of making navigating the best course of action to accomplish your goals easier and more user friendly than ever before.

For more information and to download the toolkit, visit the AAPA Port Planning and Investment Toolkit page.

GAO Report Calls for Focus on Congestion Impacts

The General Accountability Office recently released a report that reviewed trends in freight flows and any related traffic congestion impacts. This report makes two recommendations for the US Department of Transportation:

  1. In order to clarify the federal role related to freight-related local traffic congestion, in implementing MAP-21 and any subsequent reauthorization, in its final guidance on state freight plans, Secretary of Transportation should incorporate additional information to help states define and prioritize local community impacts of national freight movements, including traffic-congestion impacts, and to establish what data could be consistently collected and analyzed in order to prioritize impacts of freight on local traffic congestion.
  2. In order to clarify the federal role related to freight-related local traffic congestion, in implementing MAP-21 and any subsequent reauthorization, the Secretary of Transportation should include in the National Freight Strategic Plan a written statement articulating the federal role in freight-related local congestion impacts, by clearly identifying potential objectives and goals (under the general area DOT has established for the Freight Transportation Conditions and Performance Report of reducing adverse environmental and community impacts) for mitigating local congestion caused by national freight movements and the type of role federal and state stakeholders could play in achieving each objective and goal, and including a written strategy for improving the availability of national data needed to quantify, assess, and establish measures on freight trends and impacts on local traffic congestion.

The GAO also suggests that Congress take the following matter under consideration:

In reauthorizing the federal highway program, Congress should consider establishing a clear purpose for the national freight network and primary freight network that incorporates inclusion of the types of roads where communities are likely to experience significant freight-related traffic congestion, and, as relevant to this purpose, consider revising certain requirements such as the mileage limit of 27,000 miles or changing the requirement from a centerline to a corridor approach.

Full report: FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION: Developing National Strategy Would Benefit from Added Focus on Community Congestion Impacts.

NFAC Recommendations to Improve the National Freight System

The National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC) has released 81 recommendations aimed at improving the national freight system.

The 81 recommendations made by NFAC, now under review by the Department, include suggestions to improve safety and security across the freight rail network, highlight funding needs and challenges, and call for increased streamlining processes and better collection of data and research.  The NFAC also proposed exploring ways to improve collaboration for multijurisdictional freight planning, developing goals related to freight safety, and addressing workforce development needs as the Department develops the National Freight Strategic Plan.

Read the report.

Rebuilding America

The White House recently released a report on transportation infrastructure investment, as well as a plan for increased investments to help rebuild the US transportation infrastructure. As part of this effort to spur Congress to reauthorize transportation funding by September 30, the White House also provided two interactive maps–one for roads and one for bridges.

For more information about this White House initiative and to use the interactive maps to see the state of roads and bridges in your state, visit It’s Time to Rebuild America at

CFP: America's Marine Highways

MARAD has released a call for projects (CFP) for America’s Marine Highways.

Eligible projects should establish new or enhance existing Marine Highway services that reduce landside congestion and increase the use of domestic marine transportation. Proposed projects no longer have to have parallel landside routes. While all applications must be sponsored and submitted by public entities, public/private partnerships are encouraged.

For more information, visit the MARAD CFP. Project applications are due September 30, 2016.

PNRS MAP-21 Section 1120 Survey

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) hosted a webinar on June 3, 2014, to discuss MAP-21’s amendments to the Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS) that require the Secretary of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to develop a report to Congress that includes a comprehensive list of potential projects by October 1, 2014.
Agencies eligible for PNRS are asked to fill out an online survey for each project by June 30, 2014 The list will be used by the Secretary to classify projects and to develop recommendations on financing for eligible project costs.
Topics covered during the webinar include:

  • MAP-21 amendments to the PNRS program
  • Criteria to be used for project classification and eligibility under MAP-21
  • Survey content, instructions, and links to resources

For more information, view the webinar slides or visit the PNRS site.