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Identifying Freight Resources 5-27 Small/Medium MPO Case Studies Brownsville MPO, Brownsville, Texas Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Committee, Duluth, Minnesota Lancaster County Transportation Coordinating Committee, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Michiana Area Council of Governments, South Bend, Indiana Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, Oklahoma City Pima Association of Governments, Tucson, Arizona Polk Transportation Planning Organization, Bartow, Florida Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, Roanoke, Virginia San Joaquin Council of Governments, Stockton, California Southwest Michigan Commission, Benton Harbor, Michigan Susquehanna Economic Development Association--Council of Governments, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council, Syracuse, New York Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Toledo, Ohio Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Whatcom Council of Governments, Bellingham, Washington

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5-28 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Small/Medium MPO Case Study Brownsville MPO Brownsville, Texas MPO Overview The Brownsville MPO covers the Brownsville area of Cameron County at the southern tip of Texas, across the Rio Grande from Matamoros, Mexico. A separate planning organization, the Harlingen-San Benito MPO, handles transportation planning for the northern part of the county. Brownsville and the southern Texas region are characterized by high population and economic growth rates that have been further spurred by the North American Free Trade Agreement (inaugurated January 1, 1994). Fast population growth over the past 10 years has been accompanied by strong increases in employment. Brownsville, like the rest of the Rio Grande Valley region, is predominantly Mexican-American. Although the region has seen an expansion in economic opportunity in recent years, it remains one of the poorer parts of the United States. Consistent with its growth and geographical advantages, Brownsville has witnessed growing freight traffic, in terms of both trucks and rail, since 1994. Brownsville serves as the deep water port for Monterrey--often recognized as Mexico's leading industrial city and home to major multinational corporations. As such, there is a continual stream of trains and trucks originating from northeastern Mexico (including Monterrey). These trains and trucks cross into the United States at Brownsville as they make their way to the port, about 8 miles northeast of the city center or to other destinations in the U.S. interior. Brownsville also is a popular location for firms that supply Mexico's maquiladoras (assembly facilities generally located in close proximity to the U.S. border) and is a center for warehousing and distribution related to the movement of goods to and from Mexico. Freight planning is integral to the overall transportation planning process at the Brownsville MPO. Projects ostensibly designed to improve passenger vehicle flows will take freight into account. The MPO has two standing committees: a technical committee and a policy commit- tee. Freight-related interests, including the Brownsville Economic Development Council, the Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport, the Brownsville Navigation District (Port of Brownsville), and the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce all have seats on the MPO. While no private company is on the MPO board, private interests are represented by these other entities. Transportation Issues The Rio Grande Valley and Laredo, about 190 miles to the northwest of Brownsville, repre- sent the center of an hourglass that connects interior Mexico to the south with the U.S. indus- trial heartland to the north. As such, they are a funnel (and chokepoint) for a huge volume of trucks and railcars that make the massive scale of trade between the two countries possible. The Brownsville MPO cannot plan effectively without considering freight issues because these loom so large in daily life on the border. The issues include Separation of rail from vehicular traffic. After a 28-year effort, Brownsville just completed the relocation of 10 miles of rail line, allowing rail traffic to bypass its downtown and head directly to the port. However, another project must be completed, the "West Rail Project," to completely separate rail from Brownsville's urbanized area. Pavement damage from trucks. Mexican trucks, sometimes weighing as much as 120,000 lb, transit Cameron County's roadways, causing pavement damage, particularly at intersections. In response, overweight trucks are now charged a $30 fee by the Brownsville Navigation Dis- trict for travel within a specified overweight truck corridor. The revenues are earmarked for

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-29 pavement improvement projects (e.g., replacing asphalt pavement at intersections with con- crete). This overweight truck corridor was established several years ago by legislation adopted by the Texas State Legislature. Rapid growth and young population limit resources. Although increased trade with Mexico has resulted in much larger volumes of truck and rail traffic, fast growth and a young popula- tion translates to many infrastructure needs in Brownsville and Cameron County. Meeting the basic infrastructure demands associated with this growth can limit the availability of fund- ing for freight transportation projects. With fast growth forecast to continue, concerns are future mobility and how to afford freight-related projects (needed for safety and for the efficient move- ment of goods). Auto and truck conflict on FM 511. Farm-to-Market road (FM 511) is used as a connector from the port for trucks going to U.S. 77 (the principal northbound artery out of the region). Also, trucks that cross at the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios use this route from Mexico to the Port of Brownsville. Large truck volumes create safety issues with automobiles. TxDOT has designed separate FM 511 truck lanes (for future construction if funding can be obtained) to deal with this aspect of freight movement. Limited MPO staff and resources. The Brownsville MPO has only three staff members (two technical; one administrative). While this is a limitation, it also encourages the MPO to leverage and coordinate expertise and resources with other entities (e.g., city engineering department, Cameron County, TxDOT, and the Port of Brownsville). Incorporating Freight into Transportation Planning Activities and Developing Freight-Specific Initiatives Within its jurisdiction, the Brownsville MPO must respond to transportation needs that have local, regional, state, and international impacts. Freight planning is included, explicitly or implic- itly, in all the MPO's plans (LRTP, TIP, and metropolitan transportation plan [MTP]). A recently completed project, the Veteran's International Bridge (a.k.a., the Tomates Bridge), responded to needs to improve safety and the movement of trucks from Mexico to the Port of Brownsville. Before the May 1999 opening of the Veteran's International Bridge, trucks had to share the Gate- way International Bridge, in the heart of Downtown Brownsville, with about 8,000 to 10,000 pedes- trians per day. Also, truck traffic at the B&M International Bridge at the other end of Downtown Brownsville posed many safety problems, as well as noise and inconveniences. The new Veteran's International Bridge at Los Tomates diverts truck traffic east of the city's CBD and provides trucks originating in Mexico with a direct route to the port. Commercial (truck) traffic is no longer per- mitted at the two downtown bridge locations. Another success is the Brownsville Railroad Relo- cation Demonstration Project that relocated 10 miles of railway from the downtown area, improving safety and mobility. A combination of factors, approaches, and principles allowed these projects to be planned, programmed, and completed. These factors are now being applied to future projects. Secure land for future transportation uses. One way to prevent plans from being shelved is to ensure that the land needed for future transportation improvements is secured. Cameron County funded a corridor study to examine how to more directly connect U.S. 281 to the Port of Brownsville. While the connector remains in the planning phase, the county, with assis- tance from the MPO and the port, has worked on ensuring that plats in the areas that will be affected by the proposed roadway conform to the plan. This county study was once termed the FM 1732 Realignment Project. The connector has since been renamed as the proposed U.S. 281 Connector. On this and other projects, the Brownsville MPO staff exerts meticulous care to make sure that the transportation improvements specified in the LRTP can be built. They "sweat the details" in the review of subdivision plats to make sure they do not conflict with the regional transportation plans (RTPs) they have developed. Right-ofway dedications

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5-30 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas are exacted by virtue of the local subdivision ordinances that make reference to the MPO's Thoroughfare Plan. In 2001, the Brownsville MPO's Metropolitan Area Boundary (MAB) was enlarged in sub- stantial terms. Accordingly, the small communities of the Town of Rancho Viejo and the City of Los Fresnos were added to the MPO's study area. Due to recent annexations by the City of Brownsville, much of the vacant land near these smaller communities is found within the Brownsville Extra Territorial Jurisdiction, so the proposed subdivision plats go to the Brownsville authorities for review and approval. However, the enlargement of the MAB presents new challenges to the MPO staff in terms of coordinating planning efforts with these other communities. Plan funding for LRPs. The Brownsville MPO has identified projects to be built through 2029. The funding streams for each of these projects also has been determined. Leverage projects with a residential focus to benefit freight. Capacity improvements and new roadways ostensibly designed to benefit personal vehicle traffic associated with new residential subdivisions west of Brownsville also help with the flow of truck traffic. The Brownsville MPO encourages truck-friendly designs (pavements and geometries) on these roadways. Situate MPO so it can do freight planning proactively. Freight planning in Brownsville was initially driven by the urgent need to remove trucks and railcars from the downtown area. Through the completion of the Veteran's Bridge and the Brownsville Railroad Relocation projects, the Brownsville MPO has largely achieved this goal. Today, the MPO can be more forward thinking and address potential problems with freight movement before they arise. Use of Freight Data and Analytical Tools The Brownsville MPO uses data on truck and rail flows to monitor border crossing trends. Upward trends can indicate growing traffic volumes and possible capacity issues at the border crossings as well as increased truck and rail congestion in the MPO region. Downward trends have the opposite effect and presage potential economic problems because much of the Brownsville economy depends on trade with Mexico. The MPO would like to have more infor- mation about the commodities, particularly hazardous materials, being carried across the bor- der, but the trucking companies have been very reluctant to release that information. Obtaining information about the origin and destination of goods moving across the border has proven to be even more difficult. Development of Partnerships The Brownsville MPO is an agency housed within the Brownsville city government. The city and the Cameron County governments, and their elected officials, are champions for transporta- tion planning and the securing of funding in the region. This is important as the city and county can become involved in the politics to secure special funding, while the MPO cannot. While the region's first stop to secure project funding is through TxDOT, they also will go straight to Wash- ington because the Lower Rio Grande Valley's infrastructure and border crossings are critical chokepoints with national implications on the flow of commerce. The completion of the Veteran's Bridge has demonstrated that cooperative efforts breed success and has stimulated interest in additional projects. Currently, the City of Brownsville, in partnership with Cameron County, is trying to secure federal funding for the West Rail Relocation Project. The MPO also has a strong relationship with the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, which is a voting member of the MPO. The chamber includes shippers, manufacturing, and distribu- tion interests in its membership and this relationship is a means for ensuring that freight needs are defined and addressed by the MPO. The MPO holds meetings at the chamber, the chamber is a frequent visitor to the MPO, and the chamber has been involved in the planning of the East Loop Highway that will bring trucks directly to the Port of Brownsville from the Veteran's

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-31 Bridge, bypassing the need to use State Highway 4. The chamber has ensured that stakeholders attend key meetings (the chamber reconfirms attendance and the MPO presents the issues) and that the community realizes the importance of transportation projects. It also has encouraged truck-friendly roadway designs and is now advocating an examination of the use of separate truck lanes on the proposed East Loop Highway. To foster a regional approach to transportation planning, the Brownsville MPO has worked with IMPLAN in Matamoros. A past cooperative effort involved software sharing to allow data sharing on their computers to improve coordination. These efforts have resulted in a coordinated binational land-use plan. This plan involved the careful lining up of truck routes, including map- ping and the alignment of infrastructure on both sides of the border. In terms of a communications strategy both to maintain credibility and gain support for its plans, the Brownsville MPO strives to maintain an image as an unbiased broker of information. This removes any perception of hidden agendas and helps the community reach consensus in its transportation planning efforts. Act as an unbiased broker of information. The Brownsville MPO develops trust, facilitating the participation and cooperation of a wide range of entities on transportation projects by act- ing as honest broker of technical information. On some issues the MPO staff does not provide qualitative answers, but strives to operate transparently, always adhering to established guide- lines and rules. This approach gains the MPO respect, an especially important attribute when the community is faced with controversial or critical decisions. Identify and involve stakeholders. Stakeholders need to be identified and brought into the freight-planning process. The Brownsville MPO staff does not assume what other parties want. Stakeholders need to tell the MPO about issues and needs, and then the MPO can respond. Stakeholder involvement fosters responsibility and helps with implementation. Funding agen- cies are more responsive when they hear from a business or someone that would be positively affected by a transportation improvement. The Brownsville MPO assists stakeholders in artic- ulating transportation needs. The other entities undertake the expense of traveling to Austin or Washington as part of the effort to secure project funding. The MPO considers the victories a result of a coordinated group effort.

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5-32 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Small/Medium MPO Case Study Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Committee Duluth, Minnesota MPO Overview The Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Committee (MIC) was created in 1975 by the governors of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as the designated MPO for the Duluth-Superior urban- ized area working cooperatively through the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC). The ARDC and NWRPC are multicounty planning and development organizations operating in Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively. While the ARDC and NWRPC cover a region about the size of South Carolina, the MIC's jurisdiction is in the immediate Duluth-Superior area. Although the MIC's jurisdiction has a population of only 146,000, the area's role as a trans- portation hub for a large region translates to higher freight volumes than many more populous MPOs. At the extreme western end of Lake Superior, Duluth's economic legacy is tied to its port, the busiest on the Great Lakes, handling about 40 million tons of cargo per year. Historically, the port's highest volume commodity has been iron ore (taconite), mined in the nearby Mesabi Range, and shipped to steel facilities located throughout the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway region. Beyond locally sourced taconite, the port ships other bulk products, including limestone, coal (arriving on unit trains from Wyoming's Powder River Basin), and grain from the Upper Midwest and Great Plains of the United States and Canada. In the past decade, the region has experienced relatively slow population and employment growth compared with the nation's growth. Diversifying from an economy based on mining and transportation, Duluth has become the retail and healthcare center for the vast northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin region. The city also is the gateway to Minnesota's North Shore, a major tourism corridor that stretches almost 150 miles along Lake Superior from Duluth to the Canadian border. The growing retail and tourism industries also have ramifica- tions for the movement of freight in the Duluth-Superior area. Consistent with its role as a major port, intermodal transfer point, and retail center, Duluth handles significant truck and rail traffic. Stronger world demand for iron, led by growth in the Chinese market, has stimulated a recent increase in mining in the Mesabi Range. Port-related rail and truck traffic (iron, as well as coal and grain), combined with trucks serving Duluth's retail industry and travelers bound for the North Shore, create freight flow and traffic challenges in the geographically constricted Duluth-Superior area (the city developed in a narrow band between Lake Superior on the east and a steep ridge on the west). With unusually large volumes of truck, rail, and ship traffic relative to its size, freight planning is well-integrated into the transportation planning process at the MIC. This includes land use, port access, initiatives to separate truck traffic from autos in retail areas, and road network con- nectivity. The MIC has a Harbor Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC) that brings together municipal, state, federal, environmental, and private stakeholders with an interest in keeping the port competitive while strengthening the amenities that support the development of other eco- nomic opportunities in the region. Through HTAC and other initiatives, the MIC actively encour- ages and seeks private inputs to improve freight flows in the ARDC/NWRPC region. Transportation Issues In many respects, the Duluth-Superior economy is dependent on the competitiveness of its port. Goods must be able to flow into and out of the port efficiently (in terms of time and cost) and safely for the port to remain competitive. The port also must have the capacity to store goods

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-33 before (or following) shipment. These port-related needs must be accommodated in conjunc- tion with the region's significant tourism and retail-related traffic. Freight issues (many of which are now being addressed with programmed infrastructure improvements) include Separation of trucks from vehicular traffic. Several factors contribute to the conflict between trucks and autos in the Duluth area. The busy port draws a steady flow of trucks for loading and offloading. Tourist traffic is strong because of Duluth's location between Minnesota's North Shore and large population centers to the south. Trunk Highway (TH) 61 on the North Shore is shared by tourists and trucks, many of them originating in Canada. Scheduled freighter service between Thunder Bay and Duluth, which kept many trucks off TH 61, was canceled in the 1980s for regulatory reasons rather than for lack of demand. Finally, as a regional retail center, trucks share the same roads as cars entering and exiting shopping centers located west of the city. Landside access to the port. Truck and rail access to the port has been an issue, with rail cross- ings and trucks limited by road geometries and rail crossings. Competition from other ports. More iron ore destined for the Far East is being carried by rail to ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Duluth has to maintain and improve efficiency, including the reliability of freight flows to and from the port, to increase competitiveness. Rail crossings. Rail is a critical mode in Duluth, transporting large volumes of all three of the port's leading commodities: iron ore, grain, and coal. Rail crossings reduce speeds, cause delays, and are a safety issue. Terrain. Much of Duluth is sandwiched between Lake Superior to the east and a ridge to the west. This constricts vehicle flows, including trucks, to a handful of north-south corridors and even fewer east-west passages through the hills. Port security. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the port area in Duluth is having to con- form to strict (and sometimes costly) security directives mandated by the Coast Guard. Incorporating Freight into Transportation Planning Activities and Developing Freight-Specific Initiatives Within its jurisdiction, the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Committee must respond to transportation needs that have local, regional, bistate, and international impacts. The MIC, through its own initiatives and through cooperation with other entities is involved with a range of freight planning activities in the Duluth-Superior area, including a Port Land Use Plan, Truck Route Study, Freight Movement Study, Rail Study, Landside Port Access Study, and a Freight Terminal Study, all completed since the late 1990s. Freight planning is included, explicitly in the MIC's LRP. The MIC's freight planning process is getting tangible results in the form of new projects (several close to completion or programmed) to remedy identified deficiencies. A programmed project to improve access to the port via Arthur Avenue will add capacity for trucks, improve geometries, reduce rail crossings, and allow longer trains to reach port facilities. Another programmed project, the Midway Road Project, will rehabilitate a major connector route that allows truck traffic to bypass the downtown area. This will include climbing and turning lanes so trucks can negotiate the hills more easily without slowing down traffic. In 2007, construction is set to begin on a loop access road that will eliminate much of the retail auto traffic from making numerous turning movements on the trunk highway near the Miller Hill Mall (a large retail complex on the western side of Duluth). This will ease congestion, improve safety, and help preserve TH 53's role as an intrastate connector. The MIC's engagement with others involved in transportation planning and the gover- nance of the Duluth-Superior area, combined with its own approaches to data collection, analysis, and community involvement have allowed the MIC to address the Arrowhead region's freight plan- ning needs effectively. Considerations that have contributed to this success include Be a freight champion. Champions for freight planning can change depending on the project or issue. Sometimes the MPO spearheads efforts, at other times it can be the Port Authority or city

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5-34 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas hall economic development staff. These groups worked together to move the Arthur Avenue project forward and to secure federal dollars. Separate and organize modes in LRP into "people moving" and "goods moving" categories. Include freight in corridor plans. Make level of effort in freight planning proportional to need. In Duluth about half the MPO's effort relates to freight planning, but this can fluctuate depending on need. Include factors related to freight in evaluation criteria. Freight-related criteria, including "project need and benefit," "impact on network mobility," and "multimodalism" account for 70 points of a 100-point project evaluation system. Using this system, the Arthur Avenue project to improve landside access to the port emerged as a priority after scoring highly in project need and benefit. Stay abreast of training opportunities and dedicate funds so staff can attend. The MIC's staff attends relevant classes and seminars, including freight workshops (e.g., FHWA/NHI), GIS training, access management training (for cars and trucks--organized by MNDOT), as they become available. The costs for these training opportunities are covered in the MIC's annual budget. Benchmark freight planning to stay abreast of advancements in the field. The MIC learns from and shares its freight planning experiences with others. This provides new ideas and allows the MIC to gauge what it already is doing well and what it can improve. The MIC inter- acts with other MPOs by attending Transportation Research Board conferences (including one that is specifically geared for smaller MPOs, the "National Conference on Transporta- tion Planning for Small- and Medium-Sized Communities") and American Planning Asso- ciation events (MIC observes what other panelists have to say and, in some cases, presents its own experiences). When possible, given staff time considerations, the MIC does its own case studies on topics that are of growing interest (e.g., other MPOs' experiences with truck route ordinances). Set aside funding for "plan implementation." For each plan completed by the MIC, a por- tion of the budget is set aside to provide resources for follow-up activities to ensure that the recommendations are being implemented and remain relevant to the needs of the area. This funding allows the MIC to evaluate progress, determine what still needs (or does not need) to be completed, and change course, if necessary. As part of this process, the MIC revisits stake- holders to determine if the recommendations still address important needs and to understand if anything has changed that may affect the plan. Use of Freight Data and Analytical Tools The MIC uses surveys to better understand the needs of carriers and shippers in the region. While this is an effective approach for gathering information (2001 Truck Route Study and the Port Land Use Study currently under development), the MIC wishes it had a more comprehen- sive list of shippers, especially smaller ones, in the region so its survey coverage could be expanded. The data and analytical tools used by the MIC include purchased Reebie data for detailed commodity and mode data, port-level freight shipments, rail frequencies (not commodities), GIS for geometries of intersections (in-house capability that is regularly updated), average daily traffic counts for trucks and autos (provided by MNDOT and WisDOT), proprietary economic forecasts (e.g., Woods & Poole), accident data, survey data, and stakeholder input (partnering-- collaboration is needed to move projects forward and data, insights, and concerns from stake- holders are also needed in developing freight plans). The MIC's forecasts are hybrids that combine proprietary and public (e.g., state demographer) sources. The MIC would like more geographically detailed (place-level) freight data than what cur- rently is available (county-level) from private providers of transportation market data. The lack of geographic detail available in the purchased datasets combined with the high acquisition costs

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-35 limit the applicability of these data. Individual shippers and freight generators in the Duluth- Superior area generally do not reveal specific information concerning their freight volumes. The MIC does not do any truck modeling for its freight planning and does not believe that it would be an effective use of resources given the size of the MPO and other priorities. However, freight proximity (i.e., suitability of land for freight-intensive purposes) is a factor integrated into the agency's land-use planning models. Development of Partnerships The MIC coordinates with a number of agencies as part of its freight planning efforts. These include city and county governments, two state transportation agencies, and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. The cities and counties are the implementers of significant portions of the MIC's plans, so relationships must be maintained to bring projects forward. The inclusion of city coun- cil members on Study Advisory Committees gives the city councils a sense of ownership on trans- portation projects and helps the projects through the approval process. The MIC also has developed strong ties to state transportation agencies. These ties, fostered by consistency in staffing (limited turnover), have increased the MIC's participation in state projects. The MIC has been invited to present its studies to other MPOs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The MIC works closely with District staff to coordinate information gathering and program projects. The MIC also was a contributor to MNDOT in their effort to develop a statewide freight study. The inputs of freight stakeholders (facilities, carriers, and businesses) are brought into the decision-making and planning processes through the HTAC, which is an advisory body of the MPO. The HTAC includes representatives from the grain, iron, coal, cargo, and harbor services- related industries. As a group, they support a thriving port, including dredging and maintaining industrial land uses, while seeking a balance with other uses (recreational and residential) that help to diversify the economy. Citizen groups and the HTAC talk together, share information, and reach consensus, sharing common goals of cleaning up the harbor area and keeping it com- petitive. A balanced approach is needed because the port is a significant economic generator although total tonnage is lower today than in decades past. Another committee, the more broad- based Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), formerly included trucking and rail members (now represented on the HTAC). The involvement of freight interests on the TAC ended because the time spent on nonfreight obligations (pedestrian, bike, and transit) generally dominated meet- ings and the HTAC provided an adequate venue for addressing goods movement. The Minnesota and Wisconsin DOTs are members of the HTAC and TAC. In addition to the HTAC, specialized advisory committees are set up to guide specific initia- tives. The Duluth-Superior Truck Route Study, completed in 2001, included trucking compa- nies as well as law enforcement agencies. It was helpful to get both perspectives on this study and provided truckers and law enforcement an additional venue for learning more about how the other operates and to improve collaboration. To successfully gather input regarding transportation needs, the MIC goes directly to the region's businesses and other stakeholders for face-to-face meetings. This approach works far bet- ter than expecting shippers to be present at public meetings to express their concerns. The MIC attends trade meetings (e.g., International Shipmasters Association, Propeller Club, Grain Eleva- tor and Processing Society, Duluth-Superior Transportation Association, and Superior/Douglas County Development Association) that bring together stakeholders (shippers, industry) that have economic concerns about the movement of goods in the Duluth-Superior area. At these meet- ings, the MIC learns about issues, trends, as well as the future vision of companies operating in the area, including what the companies need in terms of water, rail, and road infrastructure. It also provides a venue for shippers and carriers to vent any frustrations they may have regarding transportation in the region. The criticisms voiced by participants are almost always constructive.

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5-36 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas The MIC's outreach approach keeps shippers engaged in the transportation planning process, helping to address their needs and ultimately improving the flow of goods in the region. Beyond the trade meetings, the MIC also makes site visits to collect data and information from companies. The information gathered from these types of interviews has contributed to the pro- gramming of freight-related projects (Arthur Avenue) as well as land-use planning for the port area (maintenance of industrial uses, environmental stewardship, and the conversion of property to other uses) that will have a bearing on the volume and location of future freight movements. The long-term land-use planning process involves many stakeholders, including environmental concerns, with the goal of creating a defensible plan, formed through consensus, that will satisfy a range of needs. Through HTAC, trade meetings, and site visits, the private sector makes recommendations con- cerning transportation priorities in Duluth-Superior. Although the private sector does not have a formal vote in the evaluation and selection of specific projects (other than indirectly through the HTAC), the evaluation criteria used by the MIC can encourage the passage of solid freight proj- ects that help the flow of goods in the region. Freight-related criteria, including project need and benefit, impact on network mobility, and multimodalism account for 70 points of a 100-point sys- tem and have helped such freight-specific projects as the Arthur Avenue reconfiguration gain approval.

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-37 Small/Medium MPO Case Study Lancaster County Transportation Coordinating Committee Lancaster, Pennsylvania MPO Overview The Lancaster County Transportation Coordinating Committee (LCTCC) has 22 voting mem- bers serving the needs of the nearly 500,000 residents of Lancaster County. Located in the South- eastern portion of Pennsylvania, Lancaster County is one of the fastest growing areas in the Commonwealth (adding about 4,000 people per year). Fueling this growth are very strong man- ufacturing, agricultural, and tourism industries, combined with proximity to Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. Lancaster County can be accessed by the Pennsylvania Turnpike (two interchanges in the county), and several U.S. and state highways. Norfolk Southern provides Class I rail services and there is also short-line rail service. Public transportation is provided by Amtrak and bus service, but public transit is not a viable option for most residents and visitors. Concerned about the growth in heavy truck traffic in the region, the Executive Director and Deputy Director of Transportation Planning applied for and received federal Borders and Corridors funding to conduct a freight study. The corridor was defined as Delaware and Pennsylvania 41, U.S. 40, and Pennsylvania 287 which form a nearly straight line between the Port of Wilming- ton and Harrisburg. The perception was that freight traffic used these local roads to avoid tolls on the PA Turnpike for shipments between the Port and Harrisburg. This perception was driven by the large number of "banana trucks" (Chiquita and Dole logos visible on the trailers) and the knowledge that the Port of Wilmington is the number one ranked East Coast port for fresh fruit imports. The study sought to develop strategies for diverting this through traffic to other routes or, especially, to the railroads. One of the first things tackled by the LCTCC was establishing a steering committee. This was a multijurisdictional, public-private assembly of key regional stakeholders. It included Two state DOTs (Pennsylvania and Delaware); Six MPOs (Lancaster, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission [DVRPC], Wilmington Area Planning Council [WILMAPCO], Chester County, Tri-County, and York); FHWA; Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority; Trucking industry; Railroads; and Consultants from other major studies in the region. The committee tried to recruit at the vice president or government affairs level, but a key cri- teria was to attract members who would participate in the meetings and review draft reports. One of the primary results of the Wilmington-Harrisburg Freight Study (WHFS) was to assemble data about the movement of freight along the corridor. A surprising result was that the Port of Wilmington was responsible for a relatively small percentage of the trucks on the road (between the highly visible banana trucks were numerous unmarked trucks.) Another surpris- ing result was that two-thirds of the trucks originated or terminated along the corridor. Armed with this information, the WHFS steering committee was better able to devise strategies for deal- ing with freight movement in the region. Based on this experience, the LCTCC advises other MPOs to develop a good understanding of the movement of freight in their regions. This can clarify trends and correct misperceptions.

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-75 MPO staff can then serve as a resource for local communities and other interests grappling with freight issues. Finally, small- and medium-sized MPOs would really benefit from guidance on freight plan- ning. The needs of small- and medium-sized MPOs are very different from the large MPOs and they have much more limited resources (it should be recognized that 90 percent of all MPOs fall into the small and medium category). Further, they are faced with freight issues to some degree. Freight movement is widely dispersed across the country and significant impacts can be found in communities of all scales. Having clear guidance on freight planning from the federal level would be beneficial.

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5-76 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Small/Medium MPO Case Study Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments Toledo, Ohio MPO Overview The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) handles transportation planning for a bistate area, including three counties in Ohio (Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa) and one in Michigan (Monroe). The Toledo area has always had a significant amount of freight movement, because it is located along major highway corridors, is a large freight rail hub for east-west movements, is a leading Great Lakes port, and is located adjacent to the Detroit metro region, a huge generator of domes- tic and international freight. As the hub for BAX Global, Toledo Express Airport ranks among the busiest air cargo hubs in the country. Toledo also is situated at the center of one of the most manufacturing-intensive parts of the United States, stretching from the Chicago-Milwaukee area in the west to the Cleveland-Pittsburgh area in the east. The greater region is home to the U.S. auto industry (and a host of suppliers), steelmakers, and food producers. Today, the Toledo MSA has a population of about 620,000 people and is growing more slowly than the United States or the State of Ohio. Jobs are concentrated in manufacturing related to auto assembly (Chrysler has a plant in Toledo) and automotive parts. Incorporating Freight into Transportation Planning Activities FAC. Freight has been incorporated into TMACOG's transportation planning activities since 1984. In 1984, the TMACOG formed a Railroad Task Force to address some of the rail grade crossing issues in the region and to provide a forum to discuss the local impacts of rail opera- tions and consolidations (at the time, many of the region's railroads were restructuring or con- solidating their operations). The Railroad Task Force consisted of both public and private sector freight stakeholders and was designed to be a "four-legged stool," with members representing Private sector shippers and carriers, Public sector planning agencies, Local governments and communities, and Economic development agencies. It is important to note that economic development agencies have long been a key partner of the TMACOG. In fact, economic development to some degree drives transportation planning deci- sions in the region (i.e., if a transportation improvement can be shown to create jobs, it is a go). The Railroad Task Force provided input and advice to the MPO during development of the 2010 LRTP (completed in 1989), which included a freight rail element and in the 2025 LRTP update (completed in 1996), which included air and rail freight elements. In 1998, the Railroad Task Force was reorganized as one of several standing committees to the Transportation Council of the MPOs. Unlike many MPOs, which have separate technical advi- sory and policy committees, the TMACOG's activities are guided by a Transportation Council which consists of elected officials, county commissioners, and citizen representatives. This coun- cil receives input from six standing committees: TIP, LRTP, Rail Passenger, Freight, Bike/Ped, and Data/Modeling. The freight committee, whose membership also was expanded to include other modal representatives in addition to rail, meets approximately four times per year and the group's steering committee meets more frequently (to set agendas, etc.). This set up minimizes the time requirements of the full group and ensures that their meetings are focused and useful. Project Prioritization. The region's economic development agencies have long been a part- ner of the TMACOG in its transportation planning activities. While the MPO does not have a

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-77 specific prioritization process or quantifiable criteria for projects to be included in the TIP, the MPO does require project sponsors to make statements about the project's potential impact on the transportation system, economic development, and community livability. Potential trans- portation improvement projects that provide an economic development benefit (creating jobs, improving efficiency, etc.) are looked on favorably. MPOs should not look at "freight projects" versus "passenger projects." Rather, MPOs should understand their transportation and eco- nomic development issues first and include projects in their TIP that address those issues. Developing Freight-Specific Initiatives Rail Corridor Study. One of the key regional issues identified by both the Railroad Task Force and its successor, the freight committee, was delays caused by at-grade rail crossings in the region. The MPO approved a Railroad Corridor Study to identify where grade separations were most needed. This study recommended grade separations, crossing closures and other improvements to major rail corridors in the area to improve safety and reduce congestion at crossings. The study addressed six specific corridors: Corridor 1, CSX east of the Maumee River; Corridor 2, Conrail/Norfolk Southern, western Toledo to Swanton; Corridor 3, CSX through Perrysburg; Corridor 4, Norfolk Southern in Maumee area; Corridor 5, Norfolk Southern through City of Oregon; and Corridor 6, (former) Conrail east of the Maumee River. The TMACOG took a rather unique approach to this study by forming six individual "study teams," one for each of the corridors. These study teams consisted of railroads, shippers and local businesses, school district reps, and other neighborhood groups. Each of the study teams met individually to address the issues and needs of their specific corridor. This approach ensured that all stakeholders were represented and resulted in a high degree of cooperation and coordination among the various interests represented. Development of Partnerships Freight Listening Sessions. The TMACOG has been very successful in engaging the private sec- tor freight community in the planning process through the Railroad Task Force and its successor, the freight committee. The TMACOG also has developed a continuing process that allows it to identify freight transportation issues of the region and provide that input to the freight commit- tee through freight transportation listening sessions. These sessions are programmed annually into the MPO's UPWP. Typically, the MPO tries to conduct four to five sessions per year (about one per quarter). The MPO has one staff member that will contact a manufacturer or carrier and set up an in-person interview. The interviews focus on identifying freight-specific issues that affect the operations of the interviewee. Interviewees often cite quick fixes, such as inadequate left turn signals, poorly maintained access roads and so forth. The interviews are summarized and pro- vided to the freight committee for information and action. The MPO has successfully identified several projects as a result of these sessions, including the rehabilitation of an access road to a major chemical manufacturer on the outskirts of town. It is unlikely that this improvement would have been included in the TIP had it not been identified during these sessions. Other Partnerships. The MPO's Railroad Corridor Study, its freight committee, and the reg- ular completion of freight listening sessions are good examples of ways to develop partnerships with the private sector freight community and incorporate freight issues into the metropolitan transportation planning process. The TMACOG has also worked to develop partnerships with other MPOs in the region, most notably the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), the MPO for the nearby Detroit region. The economies and transportation systems of the TMACOG and SEMCOG are closely linked, essentially components of a single regional

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5-78 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas system. While SEMCOG has only recently begun to do active freight planning for the region, the technical planning staff of both MPOs meet twice a year to discuss issues and coordinate plan- ning efforts. In addition, the TMACOG's Transportation Council and SEMCOG's Technical Advisory Committee meet jointly twice a year. This kind of interregional coordination allows both MPOs to take a more regional view of transportation and helps them better understand the impacts of one subregion's activities on the other. The TMACOG is also working with its counter- parts at SEMCOG and Michigan DOT to coordinate regional ITS architecture development to ensure compatibility of ITS deployments. Success Factors and Recommendations for Other Small- and Medium-Sized MPOs Do not create an "us versus them" mentality. TMACOG stressed that it is important to look at regional transportation issues (whether they be freight- or passenger-related) and their impacts on the region (whether they be mobility, safety, or efficiency-related, regardless of freight or passenger). It is critical not to have a mindset of "freight versus passenger." Rather, the MPO should be identifying issues and coming up with solutions for all the region's trans- portation issues and not pit constituencies against one another. The MPO is the best place to "localize" freight transportation issues. Freight movements in Toledo and in many other metropolitan areas are increasingly national and global in scope. However, these movements have clear local impacts, in terms of air quality, grade crossing delays, congestion, and overall community livability. The MPO is the single best place for all freight stakeholders (industry, government, community) to gather, identify issues, and develop consensus-based solutions. Know your area. It is crucial to understand your area's economic structure (leading indus- tries, economic drivers) and its transportation issues. There are several ways to further your understanding of your region. The first is by talking to the freight community (either by lis- tening sessions or some other way). Another effective method (currently being employed by the TMACOG) is to develop a freight transportation inventory of either physical transporta- tion facilities or freight services in the area. The TMACOG did this in 1994 and is updating it now. The inventory (called the Freight Transportation Access Directory) lists common carri- ers, rail carriers, freight brokers, freight forwarders, and other freight service providers. The TMACOG believes that this is an excellent way to identify potential stakeholders and under- stand the types of freight services available in an area. Stick with it! Engaging the private sector is pivotal to the success of a transportation planning program and requires commitment and perseverance. TMACOG staff encourages MPOs to keep trying to engage the private sector even though it will often be frustrating. Over time, suc- cessful relationships will be formed. Designation of NHS Intermodal Connectors provides an opportunity to start a freight planning program. Many of the issues identified during the TMACOG's freight listening ses- sions involve poorly maintained or inadequate intermodal connectors. Federal aid is available for designated NHS intermodal connectors.

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-79 Small/Medium MPO Case Study Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Harrisburg, Pennsylvania MPO Overview Part of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, the Harrisburg Area Transportation Study (HATS) addresses transportation concerns for Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry coun- ties in South Central Pennsylvania. This area has become a transportation hub, largely due to the intersections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), I-81, and I-83. Norfolk Southern Railroad also has invested heavily in the area and considers it their North Atlantic Hub. The result has been an explosive growth in the number of warehouses and distribution centers in the region, espe- cially around the intersection of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-81 in Carlisle. Incorporating Freight into the Transportation Planning Process HATS has four staff members involved in transportation planning, including one that is des- ignated as the goods movement planner; however, these are not full-time transportation posi- tions, because each has to divide his/her time among several disciplines, such as zoning and other regional issues. HATS also has a Technical and Coordinating Committee that provides guidance. Ex Officio members of this committee include Norfolk Southern Railroad, the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, and Amtrak. The HATS LRTP was just updated last year. It included a freight section, which focused on truck and rail traffic and existing conditions. It did not provide much in the way of planning or future recommendations. The TIP is focused on highway and transit issues. Projects are ranked using criteria, including safety, congestion, and air quality. The TIP is more of a qualitative process and not based on a detailed benefit-cost analysis. Most TIP projects are submitted by PennDOT and the local municipalities. These projects are almost exclusively driven by passenger transportation needs. There are some projects on the HATS TIP that benefit freight transportation, but they are not strictly freight. MPO staff believes that the current TIP process is not conducive to freight needs and would like to attract more private sector involvement into the identification of TIP projects. MPO staff mentioned a freight rail project, the Lemoyne Connector, that was in the region but not on the TIP. This led to an interesting discussion about how the private sector would attempt to initiate freight projects. Staff felt that the current process encouraged private compa- nies to approach PennDOT and the local municipalities for funding and approval. The MPO would only be contacted as a courtesy. The Lemoyne Connector was approved and funded in just such a manner. Developing Freight-Specific Initiatives HATS was one of the participants of the Wilmington-Harrisburg Freight Study. This effort, led by the Lancaster County Planning Commission, combined Federal Borders and Corridors with local funding to examine the movement of freight along a corridor connecting the Port of Wilmington, Delaware, and Harrisburg with a goal of diverting some of this heavy truck traffic from local roads. HATS has initiated its own freight study, the South Central Pennsylvania Goods Movement Study, to build on the Wilmington-Harrisburg effort, to better manage the growth of freight traf- fic and warehouse development, and to better address the high number of accidents on the local interstates involving heavy trucks. PennDOT is providing most of the funding with a local match in the form of in-kind services.

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5-80 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Development of Partnerships One of the goals of the South Central Goods Movement Study is to assemble a freight task force that can be perpetuated. This task force would be modeled after the Goods Movement Task Force at the DVRPC. The DVRPC Goods Movement Task Force meets quarterly and typically draws 60 to 70 attendees representing a broad spectrum of freight concerns in the greater Philadelphia area (trucking companies, Class I railroads, short-lines, ports, air freight, Penn- DOT, NJ DOT, DelDOT, MPOs, shippers, concerned citizens, consultants, etc.). DVRPC solic- its freight projects from task force members for potential inclusion in the TIP. Like the DVRPC example, HATS is attempting to build a multijurisdictional, public-private task force of freight stakeholders that will identify freight projects for possible inclusion in future TIPs. Members of this task force would include Norfolk Southern Railroad; Trucking Companies; PennDOT; Amtrak; Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority; Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association; and Shippers. Success Factors and Recommendations for Other Small- and Medium-Sized MPOs MPO staff believes that MPO freight planning is moving in the right direction. The strategy at HATS is to engage the private sector through development of a Goods Movement Task Force, modeled after the successful program at DVRPC. MPO staff also believes it is important to get a sense of what is occurring with freight in a region. This requires the MPO to move beyond its traditional methods because understanding freight movement requires looking outside the boundaries of the MPO region. This is especially true for HATS, which has to plan for warehouses and distribution centers that act as intermedi- ary points for goods originating and terminating outside its region. Finally MPO staff believes that current resources are just too limited to give freight the atten- tion it deserves. There is definitely an interest in freight issues, but there is a lack of resources and expertise at the MPO level to sufficiently address them in the transportation planning process.

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-81 Small/Medium MPO Case Study Whatcom Council of Governments Bellingham, Washington MPO Overview Whatcom Council of Governments is the MPO for Whatcom County in Washington. The county is the northernmost county in Western Washington and lies at the border with Canada. According to the 2000 Census, the population of Whatcom County is 166,814, which is a 23.4 percent increase over the 1990 population. The largest city in Whatcom County is Bellingham, a small city of approximately 67,000 residents. Aside from Bellingham, What- com County is primarily a rural county that includes major recreation sites in the Mt. Baker area. In 1990, approximately 59 percent of the population lived in urban areas. By 2000, most of the population growth had occurred in the urban areas (67.7 percent of the population lived in urban areas). Employment in Whatcom County grew by 31 percent between 1990 and 2000 with the largest growth occurring in the trade and service sectors. Manufacturing represents 12 percent of total employment. Agricultural employment in the county actually dropped between 1990 and 2000. Whatcom County's economy and transportation picture is most strongly influenced by its position within the I-5/Highway 99 corridor between the Puget Sound (Seattle) region and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (Vancouver). Whatcom COG's principal freight issues arise as a result of its location as a border community serving the active trade flows between British Columbia and Washington. There are four major border crossing facilities in Whatcom County, three of which--Pacific Highway (Blaine), Lynden, and Sumas--are commercial cross- ings. Bellingham also contains a small seaport facility and a small commercial airport. There is a free trade zone at the Bellingham Airport. Freight Transportation Issues--Cross Border Transportation The most significant freight-related transportation issues stem from the border crossings. These have both an economic and transportation component. There is a community of stake- holders whose livelihood depends on the border and this group of stakeholders is very focused on making the border work. A substantial number of these stakeholders are focused on passen- ger transportation issues that relate to the economic linkage between the Whatcom County econ- omy and that of the Lower Mainland. Whatcom County includes significant recreation and shopping destinations for Canadians traveling to the United States and there are a small but sig- nificant number of workers who commute across the border. But Whatcom County also is home to a number of businesses, including customs brokerages, cross border motor carriers, trade- oriented businesses, and various other trade support activities that are focused on freight move- ments across the border. The region's border crossings have experienced significant trade growth and economic integration stemming first from the bilateral trade agreements between the United States and Canada and subsequently from NAFTA. Communities in the more rural parts of the state also look to the growth in trade-related traffic as a source of potential economic develop- ment. The hope is that by investing in freight support infrastructure it may be possible to grow trade-related service businesses in these parts of the county. The growth in trade-related truck traffic also has significant transportation implications for Whatcom County aside from the economic issues. Between 1991 and 2000, truck traffic through the Cascade Gateway almost doubled and grew from 3.7 percent of total traffic crossing the bor- der to 11.5 percent of total traffic. This has had an impact on capacity needs on the rural road- ways connecting to the border, traffic operations in the vicinity of the border crossings, and pavement maintenance issues throughout the corridor. Improving the all-weather performance

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5-82 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas of the roadway system for trucking is a major transportation priority in Whatcom County and represents a significant cost element. Other Freight Issues While cross border issues have been the most significant freight transportation issues facing Whatcom COG, there are other freight-oriented issues. These include the following: Economic development. This would include using the cross border and through freight traf- fic as sources of potential economic development for the region as well as freight issues asso- ciated with natural resource development, key issues in the predominantly rural county. Weight limits and all-weather roads. The fact that the Canadian truck weight limits are higher than those in the United States has focused attention on the issue of weight limits. In addition, because of the impact of winter weather on road conditions, especially in high truck volume corridors, road maintenance and condition are factors of concern. Incorporating Freight into Transportation Planning Activities Through the 2001 LRTP development, Whatcom COG did not take a strong leadership posi- tion on freight issues aside from the International Mobility and Trade Corridor (IMTC) project (see the Development of Partnerships subsection in this module for more detail on the IMTC and how it was developed). In 2001, the LRTP did not have a freight element. Freight was dealt with to a minor extent in the MPO policies. This included policies to facilitate freight trans- portation from an economic perspective. For the most part, the LRTP policies echo policies in the local comprehensive plans, emphasizing things such as improvement of all-weather road conditions. The City of Bellingham has focused much of its transportation planning on con- nectivity among neighborhoods, spending little time or effort specifically on freight. The county has a slightly higher level of interest in freight issues as a source of economic development. The county has set aside land for an intermodal freight site but there has been no action on this yet. There also have been proposals for economic development of industrial sites along the water- front (for deep water access) as well as a proposal for a cross-county highway corridor that would bring Canadian grain down to the United States for shipment to China. The latter idea does not seem to have materialized. The MPO believes that in the next LRTP update there should be a freight chapter, but it has not developed one yet. The MPO board makeup has changed and the new board seems more interested in freight issues. There may be an opportunity to use the IMTC experience as a spring- board for a more comprehensive look at freight issues in the region. The hope is that the MPO can develop freight policy that can guide the local comprehensive plans, not the other way around. Developing Freight-Specific Initiatives Whatcom COG's most notable achievements in the area of freight planning have come about as a result of its position as a border community. These activities have integrated both passenger and freight border issues in a comprehensive program. In the 1990s, Whatcom COG took a lead role in helping to form a binational, multiagency, public-private coalition called the IMTC to deal with trade and transportation issues in the Cascade Gateway region. The IMTC has been a model of an effective multijurisdictional, public-private partnership that has undertaken several projects with at least some freight focus: Cross Border Travel Study. This study recognized that the available data on both freight and passenger movements across the border were incomplete and did not provide enough detail to allow for effective transportation planning. The major focus of this study was a roadside intercept survey of both passenger vehicles and trucks at the four border crossing facilities. The intercept surveys were conducted over several days (both weekend and weekday), in both

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-83 directions and at each facility, in the busy summer season, and in a more average autumn period. Information collected for trucks included the type of truck, the commodity carried, the origin and destination, the type of facility at origin and destination, and the reason for using that specific crossing. In addition, vehicle classification counts were conducted at each survey location. The data were analyzed to determine general origin-destination patterns and to determine the potential for various infrastructure and operational strategies. The study also included a series of logistics process surveys of shippers, carriers, and customs brokers to obtain information on how the logistics process of these companies worked and how border operational characteristics affected logistics decisions. Rail study. A cross border rail study was conducted that again focused on both passenger and freight issues. The freight element of this study evaluated the potential for modal diversion from trucking to rail through service improvements in the Cascade Gateway corridor. Poten- tial commodities that could be shifted from truck to rail were identified. Installation of FAST approach lanes at Pacific Highway. To obtain traffic operational bene- fits from the existence of FAST lanes (preclearance commercial vehicle lanes), the IMTC obtained funding to build separate approach lanes that would provide for flow benefits to the FAST participants. Construction of truck-auto separations at Sumas/Abbottsford. This keeps trucks and autos completely separated on approach to the border and allows for smoother traffic operational features. Cross Border Short-Sea Shipping Study. In cooperation with Transport Canada and with additional funding from the U.S. Maritime Administration and the FHWA, the study is being conducted in two phases to evaluate the potential of short-sea shipping to divert cross border freight movements from truck to waterborne movements. Other projects that impacted border freight operations included the construction of truck stag- ing areas at Pacific Highway and Sumas, which will streamline truck processing, and the devel- opment of a cross border model, which can be used to evaluate alternative improvement projects. Use of Freight Data and Analytical Tools Whatcom COG currently is engaged in a project to develop travel demand modeling capabil- ity. The COG had a crude travel demand model without a truck or freight component that fell into disuse. The MPO had become interested in developing a forecasting capability to address border traffic issues and was able to develop interest in the idea of cross border travel demand modeling amongst a group of border region stakeholders (the following subsection describes the IMTC). This created the opportunity to pursue federal funding from both the U.S. and Cana- dian governments and the Washington State DOT (WSDOT). To justify the expenditure of local funds needed to match the federal grant, Whatcom COG agreed to incorporate within the mod- eling project the development of a substantial update of its regional Whatcom County model. The modeling project incorporates three elements: (1) the cross border model, (2) the Whatcom County model, and (3) the border simulation model. The cross border model and the border simulation model include freight elements while the county model does not. Development of Partnerships The clearest area of success for Whatcom COG has been the creation and nurturing of the IMTC. This is one of the nation's best examples of a successful multijurisdictional partnership. That it was implemented and nurtured largely through the efforts of a relatively small MPO is a testament to what can be accomplished under the right set of circumstances. The IMTC is a U.S.Canada coalition of government and business entities that jointly identifies and promotes improvements to mobility and security for the four border crossings between Whatcom County, Washington State, and the Lower Mainland of the Province of British Columbia.

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5-84 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas The goals of the IMTC project are to Coordinate planning of the Cascade Gateway as a complete transportation and inspection sys- tem rather than as individual border crossings; Improve traffic data and information for this region; and Identify and pursue improvements to infrastructure, operations, and information technology. The history of the IMTC is an interesting example of how an effective coalition can be created. In the mid-1990s a group of primarily public sector stakeholders had begun to meet to discuss border transportation issues. These were transportation agencies from both sides of the border. In the beginning, there was a sense that traffic across the border was growing rapidly and this was one of the major transportation issues facing the border region. Stakeholders identify themselves with the border and this is a primary driver of many issues in the region. It has also created the basis for continuing efforts at cross-border dialog. Before the IMTC, the transportation agencies seemed to feel intuitively that there was a need for a forum or a place to conduct a dialog about cross-border transportation issues and there were leaders in the various transportation organi- zations who were ready to champion this idea. But there wasn't really a galvanizing issue around which other stakeholders could be brought together. Then the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) came out with a border system plan for developing the facilities at the four regional border crossings. The plan was issued without much consultation with stakeholders. Border stakeholders needed to somehow coordinate their response to the system plan and this provided a catalyst to get the organization going. The Bellingham Chamber of Commerce already had a regular "border business luncheon" and the transportation agencies reached out to this group as business representatives and the IMTC began. The transportation agencies already had begun working on terms of reference for a coali- tion so this served as a good starting point. There were several other factors that helped push the creation of the IMTC. First, a private non- profit policy research institute in the Seattle region, the Discovery Institute, had put together a program called the Cascadia Project to promote public and business policies that would encour- age trade and economic development throughout the Western British Columbia and Pacific Northwest region. The Cascadia Project became interested in forming a group like the IMTC and used its political and business connections to help support the nascent coalition building. At the same time, Congress was moving toward the reauthorization of the surface trans- portation bill that became TEA-21 and there was talk of a Borders and Corridors program. Moving ahead with the creation of the IMTC positioned the region to move quickly and effec- tively to compete for funds available through this program. The original program and grant requirements from FHWA also helped focus the coalition on information gathering as a key first step in establishing both the rationale and priorities of programs and projects. Before the availability of the federal grant money, the COG was able to convince the WSDOT to provide small grants of seed money to get the ball rolling. These funds allowed Whatcom COG to hire a ded- icated staff person to coordinate the IMTC activities. Staff support was critical to preparing information for the early meetings that kept them focused and allowed all of the key organiza- tional work to be conducted in anticipation of the more significant federal grant money that came later. How the IMTC Works. The IMTC has a three-tiered organizational structure: The Steering Committee consists of approximately 40 agencies who meet monthly and make suggestions to the Core Group. These agencies include organizations from all levels of gov- ernment from both countries, transportation and inspection agencies, industry organizations, and private companies.

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Identifying Freight Resources 5-85 The Core Group consists of more than 60 agencies (including the Steering Committee) and meets quarterly, serving as the decision-making body of the IMTC. The General Assembly consists of the Core Group plus general border stakeholders--businesses, organizations, and agencies that depend on a functioning border-crossing system. More than 200 participants meet semiannually to provide feedback and gain information on evolving border policies and operations. Success Factors and Recommendations for Other Small- and Medium-Sized MPOs There are a number of factors that have been critical to the success of the IMTC and that should be considered when using it as a model for other small- and medium-sized MPOs: A well-defined group of stakeholders with a clear set of common interests. It was important to discuss the border culture to help stakeholders see that they had a common set of interests. This discussion may also have created a blurry line between freight and passenger transporta- tion stakeholders, which might have made it easier to organize the partnership than it would have been if the focus had been solely on freight issues. Ironically, it may turn out to be easier in small- and medium-sized MPOs to find this commonality of interest and community around freight interests than in larger, more diverse communities. A clear recognition of how freight issues are linked to the economy. The economic integra- tion at the border was definitely recognized by the border region stakeholders. A catalyzing issue. While there already were efforts underway to bring the key public stake- holders together at the border, the GSA border system plan created the impetus to bring a vari- ety of other stakeholders to the table to act quickly. There was an issue at stake. A tiered organization that brings decision-makers together at one level and provides a working support group together at the staff level. The structure of the IMTC includes vari- ous levels but ensures that very high-level decision-makers from both the public and private sector have a time and a place to come together. Meeting with peers keeps this group together and ensures that actions are taken as a result of the discussions. But the IMTC also has work- ing subcommittees and groups at the staff level that plan and monitor projects and activities in a collaborative fashion. There is a process for prioritizing project lists and for negotiating the funding participation of all of the partners. No clear single institutional owner. While Whatcom COG provides all of the staff support for the IMTC, the coalition is not seen as a creation of the COG. Because IMTC's primary purpose is to act as a forum and planning entity, it is important that all participants believe that they have an equal voice in the discussions and that they are free to act within their own jurisdiction as necessary. Dedicated staff. An important contributor to the success of the IMTC has been the ability of Whatcom COG to provide dedicated staff to the program. This ensures that the information needs of the coalition are attended to and that follow-up actions receive support. Staff sup- port has been possible through funding that comes largely from Federal Borders and Corri- dors grants and other TEA-21 earmarks. In addition, the IMTC has focused much of its project efforts at developing a good information base for collective planning. The individual imple- menting agencies can then act as necessary. The Borders and Corridors funds, accompanied by local matches from the various participating agencies, pay for consultant studies to develop this information base.