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American Shipper

Anniversary cake for CAGTC

Anniversary cake for CAGTC

Washington Notebook



By Eric Kulisch

   The Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. At its annual conference in Washington on May 11, members were treated to a birthday cake as part of the sandwich buffet lunch.

   CAGTC is headed by Leslie Blakey. The group started with five members to bring national attention to the need for policies and investment that support a multimodal freight system. Today it is comprises more than 60 representative organizations, including state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, port authorities, engineering firms and multistate transportation alliances.



Mort Downey and Metro

   'Any of you who had a problem with the escalators today, send me a note. We'll take care of it.' ' Mortimer Downey, senior advisor to engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff and a former deputy secretary of transportation, in opening remarks to the Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors conference delegates.

   Downey, a former head of the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority, is one of two federal representatives placed by the Obama administration last year on the board of Washington's Metro transit system as a condition for receiving $1.5 billion in federal aid for safety-related capital investments.

   The conference was held at the Phoenix Hotel, one block from the Union Station metro stop where half the escalators were under repair. Metro's escalators are notorious for being out of service.



Truckers compete for motorcycle

   Sharon Banks, who runs Cascades Sierra Solutions in Eugene, Ore., has offered a challenge to motor carriers that participate in the Environmental Protection Agency's Smartway Program: whichever driver attains the greatest fuel efficiency improvement during a six-month period wins a Harley Davidson motorbike.

   The innovative idea was mentioned at the Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors conference by Bruce Agnew, who runs a Pacific Northwest center focused on development and transportation policy.

Washington Notebook archives
  Setting record straight on Maersk Alabama
  Debating driver vs. pilot fatigue (5/16)
  CBP honors Litman for career of service (5/9)

   Smartway encourages companies that provide or hire freight delivery and logistics services to reduce their energy consumption to improve the environment and save money. The program offers transportation companies strategies to operate more efficiently and helps provide low-interest loans and more flexible terms for cleaner burning diesel vehicles. Shippers also take steps to cut their fuel consumption through better planning and loading dock techniques and commit to use certified Smartway carriers for at least half of their delivery needs.

   Cascades Sierra Solutions is a non-profit organization that acts as a broker for EPA funds to help truckers buy new, fuel-efficient vehicles or retrofit existing ones with equipment such as exhaust filtration devices, low-rolling resistance tires, tire-pressure monitoring and inflation systems, and aerodynamic fairings, side skirts, mirrors and cab extenders that reduce air drag. Loans and grants can also be used to purchase technology that powers a vehicle's systems at rest without idling the engine.

   Cascades Sierra applies for state and federal grant funding and then works with banks and manufacturers to combine grants, tax credits, manufacturers' discounts and low-interest financing to make affordable equipment available to truck owners who otherwise may not qualify for conventional lending.

   The organization operates outreach centers at five West Coast truck stops where it provides space for technology vendors to demonstrate their wares to truckers and offers classes to educate truckers about the business and environmental benefits of upgrading their vehicles, as well as improved driver techniques.



Video promotes freight

   The Southern California Association of Governments has produced a video entitled, Freight Works: Southern California Delivers the Goods, as an alternative method for spreading the message to Congress and state lawmakers about the importance of investing in freight-related infrastructure.



Green Transport Conference

   The Cascadia Center for Regional Development in Seattle, which focuses on easing traffic congestion and sustainability, is trying to organize a conference on 'Green Corridors' that will focus on emission-reductions on heavy transportation lanes in the United States, Director Bruce Agnew said at the Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors conference. The goal is hold a conference in California in fall 2012. ' Eric Kulisch

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