House passes long-term transportation bill
NRF released its thoughts regarding the House recently passing a long-term transportation bill that is critically important to America’s retailers. H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, includes major reforms that would strengthen the nation’s freight infrastructure, a key priority for an industry that moves hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise each year.
“Long-term surface transportation reauthorization is needed to address the growing bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the supply chain resulting from a lack of infrastructure investment,” Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French wrote in a letter to Congress supporting the bill. French said the legislation would “provide long-term stability to the nation’s surface transportation programs.”
“While we are happy to see a renewed focus on freight movement, we are disappointed that the House did not pass amendments on truck productivity or port performance,” French said after the vote. “We continue to believe that these provisions would help retailers and other freight stakeholders improve efficiency throughout their supply chains.”
The six-year roadmap for transportation infrastructure investments includes establishment of a national highway freight policy and creation of a $725 million grant program to jumpstart major highway and freight projects, both priorities sought by NRF and other members of the Freight Stakeholders Coalition. Among NRF-backed amendments that failed to pass was a measure requiring the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to track port data as part of efforts to prevent a repeat of the slowdown at West Coast ports that ended earlier this year.