The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has said that more multimodal funding is US ports’ top priority.
In a statement to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, AAPA said that of the US$11bn in dedicated freight funding over five years provided by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) act, only US$1.13bn is multimodal eligible.
Currently, US$200m of multimodal eligibility is left in the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) account.
At the moment, freight programs are funded out of the highway trust fund which means that eligible projects are primarily highway focused but AAPA argued that although highways are important to the freight network, ports are multimodal facilitators.
Earlier this year, the association identified more than US$20bn in multimodal needs for public port authorities alone over the next decade.
AAPA said that the next reauthorisation bill will need to address increasing funding needs and identify a multimodal funding source or sources in order to fully leverage the success of the FAST Act freight provisions.
It believes that all freight programme funding should be 100% multimodal and that a first step to accomplish this would be to lift the multimodal cap on the INFRA program.
The association supported the repeal of the multimodal cap on the discretionary grant program created in the FAST act.
To address the funding shortfall, AAPA said it supported raising the gas tax as well as a waybill fee concept.
As part of the FAST act, states are required to complete state freight plans to continue receiving their freight formula funding.
95% of the states have submitted multimodal state freight plans to date to the US Department of Transportation, which AAPA believes signals that the states recognise the value and have the demand for multimodal projects.