The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed a series of key highways to serve as a highway Primary Freight Network (PFN), as required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The notice appeared in the Federal Register.
"Freight movement is the lifeblood of the American economy," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "To create jobs, remain competitive and strengthen the economy, we must develop a more strategic approach to moving freight, and identifying the highways that are most critical for freight is a key part of that effort."
MAP-21 calls for the secretary of transportation to designate up to 27,000 miles on existing interstate and other roadways, with a possible addition of 3,000 miles in the future, as a PFN to help states strategically direct resources toward improving freight movement. The Federal Register notice identifies more than 41,000 miles of comprehensive, connected roadway that a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) analysis shows would be necessary to transporting goods efficiently on highways throughout the nation to make up the highway PFN.
Through this notice, FHWA invites comment on all aspects of this draft designation, including the importance of a connected highway PFN; the routes proposed for final initial designation of the PFN; the appropriate size and criteria for the highway PFN; and potential uses for the highway PFN.
"Our highways are essential to commerce and the American traveler," said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez. "By identifying critical freight highways, we will focus more attention on the routes upon which America’s businesses rely."
The PFN proposal is based on the origins and destination of freight movement, shipment tonnage and values, truck traffic volumes and population. Under MAP-21, the highway PFN will become part of a larger highway National Freight Network that includes all interstates and other rural highway routes designated by states that make up critical highway portions of the nation’s multimodal freight system.