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Assessment of Multimodal Freight Bottlenecks and Alleviation Strategies for Upper Midwest Region
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Assessment of Multimodal Freight Bottlenecks and Alleviation Strategies for Upper Midwest Region
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    Final Report
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    The freight that passes through the Mississippi Valley Region is high volume and has a substantial impact on the economy of the region. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)-sponsored Commodity Flow Survey, trucks carried almost 2.5 billion tons of freight across the highways of the ten states of the Mississippi Valley region in 2002. During that same year, the region’s rails moved 540 million tons of freight, and the region’s waterways moved approximately 250 million tons of freight. Efficient movement of freight through this region is critical to the economic competitiveness of the nation. The Upper Midwest Freight Corridor Study, completed by the Midwest Regional University Transportation Center (MRUTC) and six states, revealed that major bottlenecks exist in all modes of the freight transportation system throughout the region. According to the 2005 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored report “An Initial Assessment of Freight Bottlenecks on Highways”, more than 60 highway-related freight bottlenecks exist in the region. Three of the largest bottlenecks in the country are in Chicago and total over 38.4 million annual hours of delay for all vehicles. With current estimates indicating that by the year 2020 a 62% and 44% increase in the amount of freight carried on the nation’s highways and rail, respectively, it is clear that steps must be taken to improve the efficiency of the freight network. Bottlenecks also account for long delays at the ports of entry, intermodal freight terminals and yards, and locks and dams. These delays result directly in additional expenditures for shippers, carriers and for the public in general. Furthermore, as global economic competitors have invested heavily in their transportation infrastructure, the transportation cost advantages historically held by the United States are beginning to decline. Bottlenecks in all modes are significantly increasing the cost of transporting goods through the region, which in turn is contributing to the decline of the nation’s transportation cost advantage. The Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition (MVFC) Executive Committee agreed at its July 10th, 2007 meeting that addressing regional freight bottlenecks is one of the most significant projects for the coalition to undertake.
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