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OCR for page 21
Freight Transportation Decisions and Considerations 21 Areas Where Public and Private Interest Diverge In areas where public officials are responding to broader social and equity issues, the narrower profit motive of the private sector can drive the two sides apart. Environmental and land use planning issues regarding the private freight system have been the source of many disagreements between the two sectors because objectives and incentives dif- fer. Public sector agency resources dedicated to freight transportation in these areas have been limited, because freight transportation has not generally been a high priority. The mismatch between public sector jurisdictional geography and the need to operate across global supply chains in the private sector leads to conflicting objectives. Operations of the freight system by the public sector have not always adequately taken into account the needs of the private sector. For example, truck use on the roadway network has been constrained, which increases costs and, in some cases, exposure because of circuitous routing. This has especially been the case in congested urban areas with severe passenger transportation and environmental challenges. In these difficult situations, the accommodation for private freight operational needs has often been limited, at times without the full consequences of these operational limitations being understood. Consequences for Public Sector Officials The interdependencies and overlapping responsibilities highlight the importance of decision making in both sectors. Decisions cannot be made truly independently and there are limits on each sector's ability to pursue its own objectives. Compromises must be achieved between the public sector's goal to provide infrastructure to help reach the potential of the entire economy and the private sector's goal to use publicly provided infrastructure to optimize time and cost Freight Does Vote: functions for its own gain. Loss of access to cost- In the private sector, profitability and efficiency drive internal decisions, but costs are not effective freight solely in the private sector's control because some costs are driven by public policies and regu- transportation can lations. Conversely, public sector costs for infrastructure operations and maintenance depend chase business in part on how much the private sector uses that infrastructure. away--costing jobs, reducing tax rev- When there are conflicts between the two sectors, a common public sector misperception is enues, and resulting that "freight doesn't vote" and that consequences from acting against private freight desires will in adverse selections be limited. Frequently, the public sector does not fully understand that there are instances when of alternative freight freight does vote. This voting does not take place at the ballot box but rather through the shrink- facility locations and ing, removal, and relocation of facilities and the jobs associated with them. The end result in such route choices. jurisdictions is a curtailment in services and loss in revenue.