Delivering the Goods focuses on finding a funding source for expanding and improving the national freight program established by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. While this was a crucial step forward, the United States still needs to expand the size and enhance the multimodal nature of the program.
This report does not focus on other federal freight policy components, such as safety regulation or work rules, nor does it focus on improving the status of existing trust funds. Instead these recommendations are for funding, which is an issue that all of the previous research and attempts at consensus building in this area has failed to deal with effectively.
To work on the challenging funding problem, the Eno Freight Working Group brought together numerous freight industry stakeholders, experts and thought leaders to develop consensus around a specific recommendation for a funding source for a multimodal freight investment program at the federal level. The group also interviewed, researched, and met with other industry experts to help inform and shape the final recommendations.
After much consideration, the group developed a recommendation for funding the program. It should be emphasized that none of the funding mechanisms evaluated proved perfect – all approaches have challenges. The consensus recommendation is based on the Eno Freight Working Group’s assessment that these options are the most equitable and least onerous, and the need to have a federal discretionary grant program with dedicated funding trumps the downsides of the recommended mechanisms.