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22 For highways, the most conservative forecast of the Today, regulation of freight externalities is common in National Surface Transportation Revenue and Policy Study terms of freight's contributions to highway crashes, air emis- Commission (the National Commission) indicates that the sions, and hazardous waste releases, and also in terms of con- nation needs to be investing at least $199 billion annually trol of contraband at borders, even to the control of invasive in transportation through 2020. Today, the nation is spend- species released in ballast water of international merchant ing from all sources $86 billion. The National Commission vessels. The freight network's vast size, its enormous com- report's forecasts that at current levels of investment, delay plexity, its fixed facilities, and its mobile rolling stock are so per traveler on urban principal arterials would increase by integrated into society that impacts are felt in many areas of 20 percent by 2020, by 50 percent in 2035, and double by health, safety, and the environment. 2055. Since more people will be traveling in a growing popu- The measurement of freight performance, therefore, lation, total hours of delay on principal arterials would double requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach. Its by 2035 and quadruple by 2055, the commission forecasts.8 measurement must include areas of travel speed and reliabil- The National Commission reported that the current ity, economic costs, environmental impacts, health and safety 18.3 cents-per-gallon federal motor fuels tax would need to effects, and its influence upon security. increase by an additional 40 cents to meet highway invest- ment needs. It estimated that the nation is spending only 40 Movement Toward Measurement percent of what is needed to sustain and improve the highway network. Despite the daunting complexities of freight system per- FHWA's 2006 Condition and Performance Report notes than formance measurement, it appears likely that efforts to mea- an increase in capital outlay of 87.4 percent above current sure and manage the freight system will be attempted. The levels would be required to reach the projected $131.7 billion National Commission11 strongly endorsed a performance- level, which provides the optimum highway investment level, based federal transportation program. The Government according to its complex modeling.9 For transit, the 2006 Accountability Office (GAO)12 did as well. Various Congres- Condition and Performance Report says the average annual sional proposals related to reauthorization of federal trans- cost to improve both the physical condition of transit assets portation programs include new provisions requiring the set- and transit operational performance to targeted levels by ting of targets and measurement of progress. The American 2024 is estimated to be $21.8 billion in constant 2004 dollars, Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 73.0 percent higher than transit capital spending of $12.6 bil- (AASHTO) has formed a series of committees and task forces lion in 2004.10 to recommend a set of national transportation performance Although there are no similar forecasting processes for the metrics.13 Several states, including Washington, Iowa, and marine system, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Minnesota, have added a handful of freight-related perfor- reports that the average age of the channels, locks, and dams mance measures to their suite of performance metrics. that comprise the Marine Transportation System is in excess In addition to increased efforts to measure the freight sys- of 50 years. No infrastructure condition assessment system tem, it appears likely there will be increased federal efforts to exists for the national network of ports. However, the top 20 improve the freight system. AASHTO proposes a seven-point U.S. ports have experienced substantial increases in container freight position for the upcoming transportation program volumes driven by the increasingly globalized economy over reauthorization. The position includes defining a national the past 20 years. Localized congestion, along with impacts freight system, investing more heavily in it, and improving such as emissions caused by idling ships, trucks, and trains, planning for it.14 The GAO called for a clear definition of the has created significant localized air quality concerns. federal interest in the freight system. That definition should In addition to measuring the performance and condi- then be used, the GAO concluded, to improve federal invest- tion of the freight network, the externalities of freight sys- ment, policy, and planning efforts for the freight network.15 tem performance also have attracted significant societal attention. From the nation's earliest days, it was regulating Research Approach imports to collect tariffs, to discourage certain imports, and to protect the health and safety of the public. Through- The research approach sought to identify the major per- out the nineteenth century the nation and its states pro- formance measurement interests of freight system stakehold- moted expansion of a freight network of canals, ports, rail- ers and to suggest a measurement framework that satisfied roads, highways, and navigable river channels. Soon after their diverse needs. At the same time, the research approach the expansion of each mode came various regulations to sought to balance a desire for measures against the reality that promote competition, protect public safety, or to control performance measurement can be expensive, intrusive, and monopolistic practices. complex to sustain.