Principles for a U.S. Public Freight Agenda in a Global Economy

The changing nature of the American economy—particularly increased overseas manufacturing and “just in time” delivery supply chain operations—directly impacts America’s infrastructure needs especially when it comes to the movement of goods by freight, be it by truck, train, ship, or plane.

In this paper, the authors argue that, rather than the Balkanized approach of the past, a systems-based and multimodal agenda for the nation’s freight needs, involving regional coordination, public-private partnership, and federal funding recognition of the same is necessary to maintain America’s competitiveness and economic well-being. Their argument is also accompanied by a broad overview of the freight system as it exists today, the multiple stresses affecting it, and a set of guiding principles and policies to meet these challenges.