The Freight Stakeholders Coalition, a longstanding group of the country’s largest shippers and public and private transportation providers, has released its 2009 Surface Transportation Reauthorization Platform. The Coalition’s 17-member organizations represent America’s diverse freight community and believe it is vital for the Federal government to provide a strong leadership role during the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization process.

Cornerstones of the Stakeholders’ ten-point platform are the promotion of freight mobility under a comprehensive national freight program and adequate infrastructure investment for projects of regional and national significance to accommodate the doubling of cargo that is forecasted to take place over the next 20 years. Following are statements of support for the platform from a cross-section of the Coalition’s diverse membership:

‘The businesses, large and small, represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce understand how critical it is to maintain, modernize and expand the nation’s freight transportation system.

Economic recovery and long-term growth are supported by reliable and safe networks that are operated efficiently. Freight may not vote, but members of our organizations do, so Congress and the Obama Administration must make moving the commerce a central focus of any transportation-related legislation,’ said Janet F. Kavinoky, Director of Transportation Infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

‘The number and significance of the many organizations unified around this platform is a testament to the importance and urgency of establishing a freight program with dedicated funding in the next surface authorization bill. A vote for a dedicated freight program and fund is a vote for the future of American commerce and competitiveness,’ said Leslie Blakey, Executive Director, Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors.

“The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is pleased to join the other industry and government members of the Freight Stakeholders Coalition in support of a platform of proposals to make much-needed investment in the nation’s freight transportation infrastructure. The strength of the American economy depends on the ability to efficiently move products domestically and globally with all modes of transportation. AASHTO believes, with the other Stakeholders, that the starting point is the development of a National Multimodal Strategic Plan and that the U.S. DOT must establish a multi-modal freight office within the Office of the Secretary to provide coherence, direction and impetus to the federal freight program,’ said John Horsley, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

‘Investing in infrastructure provides lasting economic benefits that create jobs and support economic development and growth. Our nation’s vast interconnected network of roads, railways, airports, inland waterways, and seaports support and supply every sector of the economy. We need a dedicated and well-coordinated effort that will help sustain future growth and meet the competitive demands facing manufacturers today by modernizing and expanding the nation’s surface transportation system,’ said Robyn Boerstling, Director, Transportation and Infrastructure Policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

‘Recognizing that the U.S. DOT projects demand for freight to double over the next few decades, it is imperative to address our critical surface transportation infrastructure needs starting now. The Freight Stakeholders Coalition principles lay the foundation for an efficient freight transportation system that helps keep America moving forward,’ said Edward R. Hamberger, President and CEO, Association of American Railroads

‘We join today with the freight industry in support of increased freight capacity. We believe that a stand-alone freight program at the national level that empowers states, regions and communities alike to plan for, build and maintain critical freight inf