On the Heels of Cantwell’s Landmark Freight Provisions, Senator Applauds Additional Investments in President’s Budget Proposal

Senator: “Smarter freight means a stronger economy”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today applauded the freight investments in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal, which includes $2 billion for a multi-modal freight program, $1.1 billion in funding for states through the National Highway Freight Program, and $850 million for the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Program—the grant program Cantwell secured last year.

The President’s proposed budget comes on the heels of Cantwell’s landmark freight legislation—which passed as part of the long-term transportation bill, and created the first-ever multimodal freight grant program to provide funding for railway, seaport, and highway projects, as well as on-dock rail systems that help speed the movement of goods through U.S. ports. Senator Cantwell championed the grant program as part of her National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act.

“America’s economy depends on fast freight, and the President’s proposed budget clearly demonstrates freight must be a national priority,” said Senator Cantwell.“Smarter freight means a stronger economy. With an estimated 20,000 jobs created for every billion dollars invested in freight, the additional resources announced today would be a huge boost for jobs and our economy.”

Cantwell has long been a leading advocate for strengthening the nation’s multimodal freight strategy and in 2012 she helped launch the National Freight Policy Council.

Multimodal freight is critical to Washington state. Forty-four percent of Washington state jobs are dependent on freight. The American Society of Civil Engineers has said that a failure to adequately invest in our infrastructure could cost the country more than 875,000 jobs.

Without targeted investment in our multimodal freight infrastructure, the United States could lose out to its Canadian competitors. Canada has dedicated $1.4 billion to upgrading its national freight network, specifically focused on the Pacific trade gateways.