WASHINGTON D.C. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) expects to open up a pool of $800 million for freight project grants “in the next several days,” according to Victor Mendez, Deputy Secretary of Transportation – part of $4.5 billion worth of freight project funds authorized by the FAST Act passed last December to be made available through 2020.
Speaking at the American Assn. of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) annual Washington Briefing meeting, Mendez stressed that such funding will be critical as a 30-year strategic study by the DOT predicts major increases the U.S. population and freight flows in the coming decades.
“By 2045 there will be 70 million more Americans and a 45% to 50% increase in the amount of freight traffic in our country,” he said.
“We have a challenge ahead of us,” Mendez added. “The question is: are we up to it? We have a real transportation infrastructure deficit and we are at a real critical moment. If we want to pass along the first-class transportation system we grew up with to the next generation, we need to start making improvements to it now.”