AASHTO Sends Supply Chain Advice Letter to USDOT

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials sent a 21-page letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation on October 18 containing advice on how to improve the nation’s supply chains and transportation industrial base.

[Above photo by the Georgia DOT]

“AASHTO believes that the safe and efficient movement of freight by air, highways, rail, and water is essential to a successful U.S. economy,” the organization said in its letter.

“State departments of transportation strive to deliver the most effective and efficient transportation network as they continue to pursue investments that enhance the multimodal freight system,” the organization said. “We are committed to working with USDOT in securing and strengthening America’s supply chains.”

AASHTO also encouraged USDOT in its letter to review existing State Freight Plans, which provide “comprehensive plans” for identifying multimodal challenges, policies, programs, investment strategies and data needed to provide efficient, reliable, and safe freight transportation for that state and region.

The organization also encouraged USDOT to review the National Freight Strategic Plan – unveiled in September 2020 – that guides national freight policy and investment and provides a framework for better national multimodal coordination.

Advice included in AASHTO’s letter includes:

  • Prioritizing formula-based federal transportation funding as it provides state DOTs with greater flexibility to deliver projects – including key freight projects – more efficiently, and it better supports data-driven investment decisions to meet national performance targets.
  • Increasing the flexibility and transferability of funding between the various federal programs, which will better enable states to target scarce resources into the most beneficial freight programs and projects.
  • Expanding the definition and designation of the road and track mileage within the Primary Highway Freight System, National Highway Freight Network, and the National Multimodal Freight Network.
  • Expanding funding for the National Cooperative Freight Research Program or NCFRP to give the states the ability to focus solely on freight research needs for the challenges such as truck parking, lack of supply chain data, technological advancements, last-mile delivery impacts, private sector coordination, and emerging freight-related issues.
  • Develop a National Transportation System Security and Resilience Plan to identify the major natural and human-caused threats to transportation system performance.
  • Develop interoperable, reliable, and consistent infrastructure, a cohesive national vision, collaborative partnerships, funding, and clear policy in the support of the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles or CAVs, including for freight operations.

“We also acknowledge that many of these recommendations are addressed in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) currently pending in Congress,” added AASHTO in its letter. “We look forward to working with USDOT on implementing these beneficial changes upon enactment of the IIJA.”

Related articles