A new bill has been introduced in the House that’s being dubbed the Freight Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2014 (FIRA). The bill would establish a 1% tax to be added to the cost of all shipments of freight cargo within the United States to be paid by the shipper.
The money collected would go to fund “competitive grants” to improve the efficiency and capacity of freight networks. Individual projects would be proposed by planners in different communities and money would be awarded by the Secretary of Transportation based on their estimated impact and cost effectiveness.
“Our nation’s freight transportation system plays a significant role in our ability to grow the economy and compete globally,” said Congressman Adam Smith, the man who introduced the bill. “With our nation’s freight expected to double by 2040, it is critical to start making investments in freight and transportation infrastructure now to keep America competitive internationally for years to come.”
The task of revitalizing the nation’s roadways is not something that can be easily tackled. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that it would take $1.66 trillion to bring our nation’s roadways to even acceptable levels.
The bill has received some support from within the transportation industry, but it is still very much undecided whether or not it will see the light of day.