Cantwell Unveils Report Citing Urgent Need to Improve Freight Infrastructure and Meet Growing Competition

Report Cites Significant and Well-Documented Need to Improve Freight Mobility

Seattle, WA. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) visited Pacific Terminals to release a new report on the economic impacts of failing to invest in freight infrastructure. Cantwell stressed the critical need for freight infrastructure investment to ensure that U.S. businesses remain competitive in today’s rapidly growing, increasingly interconnected worldwide economy.

“An economic shortfall of $1.3 trillion dollars loss in business sales could result due to the lack of infrastructure investment in waterways and ports – over $270 billion lost in exports and over 700,000 fewer jobs by 2020 – unless we make the right investments,” said Cantwell “Freight-dependent businesses provide 1.5 million jobs and $129 billion in GDP for Washington. And freight that moves on multi-modes in Washington could grow by 77 percent, but that’s why we need this smart investment—to make that growth happen.”

Cantwell was joined by Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Johnson, Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick, Maud Daudon, President and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Terminals General Manager Pat Cohn, all of whom stressed the importance of freight infrastructure and the need to establish a national freight strategy.

The report released, Meeting our Growing Competitiveness Challenge by Improving Freight Infrastructure Investment, found that the United States stands to lose $1.3 trillion in business sales from 2012 to 2020 due to sustained deterioration of the inland waterway and port transportation infrastructure. The report also discussed transportation infrastructure investments in the United States compared with global competitors like China and Canada.

“$27 million of freight moves on Washington state roadways every hour of every day. We applaud Senators Cantwell, Murray, and Booker’s ongoing commitment to freight investments. Freight is not glamorous, but it provides the foundation for the United State to compete in the global economy,” said Don Johnson, Commissioner of the Port of Tacoma.

“An efficient freight system helps American goods and services compete,” said Ted Fick, CEO of the Port of Seattle. “The National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act is the multimodal approach we have been seeking.”

“We are locked in a competition with ports around North America that are all vying for the global commerce and family-wage jobs that we have here in the Puget Sound,” said Maud Daudon, President and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Successful regions invest in infrastructure to make freight move more quickly and efficiently; those that don’t will lose market share and jobs.  With 40 percent of jobs in our state tied to trade, we have so much at stake and we must act.  We thank Senator Cantwell—our Freight Senator—for introducing this vital legislation that will help our state’s goods get to markets around the world and maintain our position as a global gateway for trade.”

“Pacific Terminals is a multimodal operation and we are encouraged Senator Cantwell is working on this bill.  It will not only help Pacific Terminals, but the Northwest economy in general.  If we don’t do anything, we will lose business to other international ports.  We need to stay competitive, and this bill helps with that,” said Brad Lovejoy, CEO of Pacific Terminals.

The 2015 National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act outlines a strategy to ensure the United States remains competitive in a global economy and builds off the recommendations issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Freight Advisory Committee. Cantwell introduced the bill to streamline the shipment of goods across all modes and eliminate costly congestion caused by bottlenecks and chokepoints that costs the American economy $200 billion dollars a year. The bill prioritizes investment in multimodal freight improvement projects.