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13 May 2015

Transportation Funding

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Map-21 Funding to Expire May 31st

The current highway investment bill, Map-21, is set to expire on May 31st. This bill was signed into law in July of 2012 to provide $105 billion in funding for surface transportation programs for fiscal years 2013 & 2014. Map-21 was originally set to expire in September of 2014; however, an extension was granted through May 2015.

It is no secret that many are concerned about our highway infrastructure and lack of funding, from Congress to carriers and shippers alike. How can manufacturers remain competitive in an “I want it now” market while highways, bridges and tracks continue to deteriorate?  Instead of moving forward into the 21st century with plans and funding, we are scrambling to fund resolutions. Making an investment in repairing our transportation infrastructure is making an investment in the future of manufacturers, shippers and the economy. 

If bridges, highways and rail tracks are closed because they are no longer deemed adequate for use, just imagine the chaos of getting your rail cars or motor carrier to your facility for shipping and receiving. Imagine the congestion that will be caused in areas that are already overwhelmed by traffic. On top of that, all of the extra weight and traffic imposed on the useable bridges, highways and rail tracks will wear them down quickly and may eventually put them out of use,
as well.

So how could this affect your shipping costs?

All of these things amount to slower movement and the eventual collapse of transportation infrastructure, but until that collapse occurs, shippers will continue to pay the high cost of extra mileage and fuel as carriers maneuver around closures to pick up shipments. Manufacturers may find themselves losing millions of dollars as they shut down plants because carriers cannot deliver the necessary raw products in a timely manner. Additionally, plants may be forced to halt production because they have created plenty of product but are still waiting on carriers to pick up and deliver product. 

Although the collapse of our transportation infrastructure could take years, the time to approve a long term highway spending bill is now. The effect will be significantly less devastating if we can keep our highways, bridges and rails functional while doing repairs rather than trying to fix them after they are out of commission.

Written by Nicole Bolton

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