U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA) is making another run freight-focused funding legislation with the help of Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) via the National Freight Network Trust Fund Act of 2015; a bill similar to one she sponsored last year that aims to provide in her words “a guaranteed, dedicated funding stream” for improvements to the roads and rails over which move goods to and from U.S. ports.
The Hahn-Poe bill creates a National Freight Network Trust Fund and would deposit 5% of all import duties – equating roughly $2 billion annually – collected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at U.S. ports of entry into the Fund to be spent only on freight transportation.
“Funding the nation’s freight network is essential to the economy of my district around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and also to the national economy, and I am happy we have found a way to do this without imposing new costs on businesses or taxpayers,” Hahn said in a statement. “This legislation instead dedicates a small percentage of funds already collected as freight enters the nation to improving and modernizing the freight network.”
“Our nation’s transportation infrastructure is not keeping up with our competitors worldwide,” added Poe. “[This bill] will create a dedicated funding stream for the road and rail infrastructure that leads to and from our nation’s ports.”
A transportation panel within the House of Representatives recommended in 2013 among other things that a freight-dedicated fee of some type be implemented, though that and other freight-focused funding initiatives haven’t gained any legislative traction to date.