WASHINGTON, DC: April 07, 2017. Testifying before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security this week, FedEx Freight president and CEO Michael Ducker said the American Society of Civil Engineers ranked the condition of U.S. roads 19th in the world - worse than Namibia.
According to the World Bank, Namibia's GDP was US$11.49 billion in 2015. By comparison, U.S. GDP in the same year was US$18.03 trillion.
Noting more than 40 percent of major U.S. highways in urban areas are congested, Ducker said without improved surface infrastructure and "wise policy decisions" from Washington, FedEx and other companies could not continue to help grow the U.S. economy and increase jobs.
Citing government statistics, he said the U.S. transported 18.1 billion tons of goods in 2015, worth US$19.2 trillion, with 70 percent of all domestic freight moved by truck – 10.5 billion tons.
Ducker called for the establishment of a "holistic modern transportation system" combining physical and digital infrastructure enhancements with sound transportation policies, including incentives for improved safety and fuel efficiency – all underwritten by "stable and sustainable sources of funding" for the Highway Trust Fund.
Together with the American Trucking Associations, FedEx says it supports federal investment in highways, primarily funded by user fees. The trucking industry – which currently pays more than 40 percent of federal highway user fee revenue – supports an increase if there is a perceived value in the form of road and bridge improvements.
Ducker said the sources of revenue should be easy and inexpensive to pay and collect; have a low evasion rate; be tied to highway use; and avoid creating impediments to interstate commerce.
FedEx is part of Americans for Modern Transportation (AMT), a diverse group of shippers, deliverers, and retailers working to improve transportation infrastructure and policy.
AMT supports increasing the national standard for twin trailers from 28 feet to 33 feet that would allow a carrier to increase the volume carried up to 18.6 percent before having to add incremental trips.
Ducker said a 2015 U.S. Department of Transportation study had shown that if the standard had been adopted in 2014, it could have already resulted in three billion fewer miles traveled, saved US$2.6 billion dollars in LTL costs, and provided congestion-relief savings for all motorists of nearly US$1 billon.
"Fewer trucks on the road also means significant saving on fuel and emissions," he added. "By increasing the length of twin trailers by just five feet, fuel consumption is reduced by 255 million gallons every year, with a concomitant annual reduction of 2.9 million tons of CO2 emissions."