MARC shares concerns about Freight Network Proposal with FHWA

In MAP-21, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to identify a highway primary freight network of 27,000–30,000 miles as one aspect of a national freight policy. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) prepared a proposal for such a network, along with a larger “comprehensive freight network.” The FHWA is seeking comments on the proposal through Feb. 15, 2014.

Semi-on-local-highwayMARC reviewed the proposed networks with our Goods Movement Committee, Total Transportation Policy Committee and other regional stakeholders and recently submitted comments on the proposal to FHWA.  In general, MARC believes the proposal is fatally flawed because:

  • The proposed networks do not provide continuity from coast to coast or border to border.
  • Any national freight highway network should include the entire interstate highway system, which is the true backbone of national freight movement.
  • The data used to develop both proposals appears to be incomplete, inaccurate or outdated for facilities in our region.
  • Agriculture was not specifically factored into the development of proposed networks.
  • Several critical routes in Kansas and Missouri are not included or do not have logical termini:

I-35 from Emporia to Kansas City in Kansas  
This route currently carries more than 25 percent of all truck traffic in the state of Kansas and provides the primary interstate highway connection to the new BNSF Intermodal Facility in Edgerton, Kan. This facility opened in 2013 and replaces the rail/truck intermodal facility in Kansas City, Kan.; it will be a major truck traffic generator for the state of Kansas.

I-49 from Joplin to Kansas City in Missouri
This is the newest interstate highway in Missouri and carries significant volumes of truck traffic. It is not included in the proposed freight network, and is not even represented as an interstate highway on the maps published with the proposal.

I-435 is included in the maps for Missouri but terminates at the Kansas state line. We believe that this segment should be extended west, at least to I-70 in Wyandotte County, Kan., and north, at least to I-35 in Clay County, Mo.

The existing map includes a short section of I-29 but does not have logical termini or independent utility. At a minimum, I-29 should include the segment from I-70 to Mexico City Avenue, as this segment’s average daily truck traffic is more than 25 percent of its total traffic.  This segment also provides access to air cargo facilities at Kansas City International Airport.

  • Several key freight facilities in the Kansas City region are not addressed in the proposed network, including:

The new BNSF Intermodal Facility in Edgerton, Kan.  
This facility opened in 2013 to replace the rail/truck intermodal facility in Kansas City, Kan., and will generate major truck volumes in the state of Kansas.  The current BNSF Argentine intermodal facility is included in the network.  While we would prefer to retain connectivity to both facilities in the national freight network, we believe that it is critical include a direct connection to the new facility.

The CenterPoint-KCS Intermodal Freight Gateway in Kansas City, Mo.
This facility opened in 2008 to replace an existing rail/truck intermodal facility on Front Street in Kansas City, Mo., and will be a significant truck generator for the state of Missouri.

Questions regarding MARC’s comments can be directed to Ron Achelpohl at 816-474-4240.

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