DOT, administration target traffic woes

Traffic congestion continues to plague the trucking industry, but the Department of Transportation and the Bush administration have asked for $175 million in the 2008 budget to target the problem, according to information presented by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, speaking in Long Beach CA February 27.

Peters said that a number of ideas to help move freight faster are on the table, including truck-auto separation, rail and waterway corridors, and urban truck bypasses.

"We know that the economic costs of congestion for the freight industry and its impact on productivity exceed $70 billion dollars a year," she said at the Faster Freight-Cleaner Air 2007 conference. "And when businesses factor in their schedule changes, buffer time requirements, substitute deliveries, and lost customers to that total, the price we all pay for congestion climbs higher still.

"Indeed, faster freight means cleaner air –- the organizers of this conference got it exactly right. So an essential part of our strategy for clearing the air here in Southern California and across the country must be relieving the bottlenecks that hamper the free movement of goods across our freight network."

However, Peters pointed out that growing trade volumes add to the pressure on an already strained transportation network, which means more traffic jams, and longer backups.

In another effort to improve the situation, DOT is inviting communities to reduce congestion by spreading traffic flows throughout the day and make better use of existing highways, Peters said.

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