5/31/2012 1:00:00 PM
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Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to create a multimodal freight initiative within the Department of Transportation.
â€œThis initiative office should report directly to you, include a special assistant designated with specific responsibility for freight movement and endeavor to improve federal freight policy, planning, and investment across all modes,â€� Cantwell wrote in a letter to LaHood on Thursday.
Freight is projected to grow by as much as 27% by 2040 but the nationâ€™s economic potential is hindered by traffic bottlenecks, Cantwell said, noting that congestion costs the economy $200 billion a year.
Strengthening the federal role in freight mobility could mean system-wide benefits that help the recovering economy â€œaccommodateâ€� increasing export and import trade, she wrote.
A freight initiative should aim to increase DOTâ€™s ability to â€œprioritize and expediteâ€� transportation projects without added staff and expense, Cantwell said.
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