Following President Obama's State of the Union Address on Jan. 25, the International Warehouse Logistics Association said it welcomes a national discussion on the need for America's infrastructure renewal.
"The attention given to the woeful state of America's infrastructure of public highways, bridges, airports and waterways is a welcome change from the pork-barrel earmarks of spending by political influence," said Joel D. Anderson, president and CEO of IWLA, which represents the nation's commercial warehouse and third-party logistics providers.
However, Anderson said that America's commercial warehouse operators, who are the users and payers of these systems, have two basic questions going forward:
1. Will the projects be merit-based, emphasizing the high priority of targeting freight corridors to alleviate congestion, improve freight velocity and support the creation of sustainable jobs in the supply chain, manufacturing and retail industries?
2. Will the process be transparent versus the historic practice of secret, backroom negotiations leading to earmarks for legislators' pet projects and boondoggles, most of which offer no positive long-term economic benefit?
"Our national infrastructure trust funds like the Highway Trust Fund literally center on the word 'trust,'" Anderson said. "We are committed to the renewal of our crumbling infrastructure and as users we are willing to help pay for these projects. Unfortunately, recent history informs us that we should hold our applause until we see that this process is transparent and includes projects that actually improve trade and commerce instead of offering political bridges to nowhere."
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