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US Senators Introduce Bill to Create National Freight Transportation Policy; Seeking a 40% Drop in Freight-Related CO2 by 2030

US Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) this week introduced legislation that would establish a national freight transportation policy. The legislation would direct the federal government to develop and implement a strategic plan to improve the nation’s freight transportation system and provide investment in freight transportation projects.

The goals include reducing congestion and delays; increasing the timely delivery of goods and services; reducing freight-related transportation fatalities; and making freight transportation more efficient and better for the environment.

The “Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010” (S.3629) would establish the US’ first comprehensive national freight transportation policy and create a new Office of Freight Planning and Development within the Department of Transportation (DOT) that would coordinate efforts to improve the efficiency and operation of all modes of the national freight transportation system.

The Secretary of the DOT would be directed to develop and implement a long-term national freight transportation strategic plan that meets the goals of the FREIGHT Act, and issue biennial progress reports, which would include any challenges to implementation and any requested policy and legislative changes.

The major goals established by the FREIGHT Act are:

  • Reduce delays of goods and commodities entering into and out of intermodal connectors that serve international points of entry on an annual basis.
  • Increase travel time reliability on major freight corridors that connect major population centers with freight generators and international gateways on an annual basis.
  • Reduce by 10% the number of freight transportation-related fatalities by 2015.
  • Reduce national freight transportation-related carbon dioxide levels by 40% by 2030.
  • Reduce freight transportation-related air, water, and noise pollution and impacts on ecosystems and communities on an annual basis.

The FREIGHT Act also would create a new competitive grant program for freight-specific infrastructure projects, such as port infrastructure improvements, freight rail capacity expansion projects, and highway projects that improve access to freight facilities.


  • Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010 (S.3629)



Why does the federal government have to insert itself into anything and everything? Havn't the feds created enough laws with massive new meddling in our lives over the past couple of years? Why can't this be done with tax incentives? Why create more elaborate laws requiring bigger bureaucracies and adminstration costs and higher taxes to support them?


Maybe it is because the private sector will grind every penny of profit at the expense of safety. The oil well blow out, the coal mine explosions and on and on. You expect the private sector to do the right thing? They will do what is profitable and the heck with any and all other considerations.


Too much belief in competition and not enough in collaboration. The government therefore becomes the arbiter. I agree with ejj, tax incentives are best, but there needs to be some plan ("Industrial policy") to guide the tax policy.

In addition, if the US were to promote MegaRail or tube transport, then you are into interstate trade regulations, right-of-way issues and huge capital investments. There is no way to avoid Government involvement at some level.


Why does the federal government have to insert itself into anything and everything? Havn't the feds created enough laws with massive new meddling in our lives over the past couple of years?

Why does the referee have to insert himself into every football game or boxing match? Wouldn't it be more fun if we just let the fighters go bare knuckles and kill each other?

I remember a quote I heard 5 years ago: "The guys on Wall Street all complain about too much regulation but not one of them would step into an unregulated cab or go to an unlicensed doctor."




Where was Santelli when the previous administration accumulated $6 trillion of debt in 8 years?

Henry Gibson

The fastest way to make US freight transport more energy and CO2 efficient is to require trucks to travel at 45 miles an hour or even just 60.

The US government could put a 50 dollar tax on imported oil and become also the only importer. This would reduce the deficit. Then it could sell nuclear power from CANDU power plants that could be built in under five years. This power would replace coal fired power, and the coal could be used to make automobile fuel without a net increase in US CO2 release. The US government owned coal to gasoline plants would not be sabotaged by the oil lobby CO2 complaints and a profit would be guaranteed by the high import duty. The inefficiencies of government operation is easier and less expensive to deal with than oil price increases due to speculation.

Plug in hybrid electric cars would reduce the need for gasoline. Modern high temperature nuclear reactors will provide heat energy to get CO2 out of rocks and hydrogen out of water, and they will be combined into jet fuel/diesel. The CO2 depleted rocks will get more CO2 from the air over time and be reused. There can be an infinite source of diesel, meaning no peak oil. There is enough uranium in the ocean for a billion years or so of energy and there is more on the land. There is three times as much thorium which also has been used in reactors. If as much money had been spent of discovering how to fission lead as has been spent on the fusion of hydrogen, it might be also now practical, but there is enough uraniumm and thorium so that it is not needed. There is only a peak energy supply on the earth if we try to pretend that there is.

Uranium and thorium do not have to be renewable if on the earth if there is enough until the sun expands and vaporizes the earth in five billion years.



The bank bailout and auto industry bailouts were complete crocks of sh&t. The fear mongering about the credit markets seizing up was just that - fear mongering. The banks and car companies should have gone bankrupt with no government loans.

richard schumacher

You're mad about the bank bailout, therefore the government should not try to develop a rational energy policy? Thanks for sharing.


A good biomethanol program could help farmers throughout the world. The saying in this book goes "when you give a man a fish, you put his fisherman neighbor out of business."

It is better to use biomass for methanol, which will be a another revenue stream for the farmers. Each acre produces not only wheat for food, but wheat straw for fuel. Reducing the pricing power of OPEC has SO many advantages, we will wonder why we did not do this decades ago.


Rational energy policy does not have to include meddling in anything and everything by the government. Enough of the taxing and spending, enough regulation of the universe.


A bit of coordination and focus goes a long way. It was once said that leadership is "getting people to do what they wanted to do anyway". In that case, a bit of organization greater than the "free" market can go a long way,

fred schumacher

A modern economy cannot operate without transportation. Public transportation infrastructure has been the domain of government since the days of the Persian Royal Road 2,500 years ago. Afghanistan is a good example of a country with inadequate public transportation infrastructure.

Professor of energetics Vaclav Smil has argued that diesel is the most important fuel in the world. Without it, the movement of goods stops. Petroleum based diesel will not always be with us, since it comes from a finite source that is running out. We need to plan for the future, and there is no way to do that without government input.

I would hope that national freight transportation legislation focus closely on improving rail. Electricity is the easiest form of energy to produce sustainably, and rail can be completely electrified, unlike truck transport.


Nuclear power is dead in the USA as long as we refuse to reprocess our waste and keep playing politics with yucca mtn. the French reprocess and they store all of the waste under 3 feet of concrete in a 40 by 40 meter room that you can walk over the stored waste. for the lifetime energy consumption of an average American the reprocessed high level waste volume would fit in side a 500 ml bottle...let that sink in the lifetime energy consumption if provided by nuclear power with reprocessing the high level waste would fit in a 500 ml water bottle and only need to be stored as borasilicate glass for 2 centuries not millions of years. why because nuclear waste is not waste its 95% fuel. candu reactors can use spent fuel directly and burn it down to less than .02% U235 before waste disposal its called the DUPIC cycle.I also support the Candu program 5 years first pour till power output 1500$kw capital and 1,5 cent O&M costs the Chinese are building 5 i believe and all are on time on budget it has been shown that with 2 cent a kilowatt power fuel can be made from the coelectrolosis of co2 and water with the co2 coming from air capture at $2 a gallon this is a no brainer build candu's and synfuel on the same energy plant location this saves on the transmission losses

Stan Peterson

Annually there is a contest among the congressional Pages to determine the dumbest legislators. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are always finalists in these contests. Frank Lautenberg is seldom a finalist, but no one calls him anyhing other than a dim bulb. Why would we want to entertain any so-called solution from such "geniuses" as these?

The Texas Geologist prefers the Candu reactors; I prefer the perfected, safer and more passive Gen III+ LWRs. In addition, ground breaking for about 30 odd new Gen III+ LWRS will occur in the US in the next 12 months, after a decade of planning and preparation. This will almost double the proportion of electricity from clean nuclear power in half a decade. Lots of very old, dirty, Coal plants will finally be able to be retired and scrapped.

But both reactor types have developed methods for "Actinide Burning" that tranmute the 1/2 of 1% of thewaste, an solve and eliminate the long-lived, radioactive waste problem.

Although the professional Cassandras and left-wing Luddites would never admit the possibility.

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