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SEATLLE, WA: U.S. Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx wants to solve America's infrastructure problems with the publication of a draft 'National Freight Strategic Plan'.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, freight shipments in September 2015 reached an all-time high and were 30.4 percent above the low of April 2009 at the beginning of the Great Recession.

"With an increasingly competitive and complex global marketplace and a deteriorating transportation infrastructure that is unfortunately showing the effects of age and underinvestment, the need for us to have a national freight plan could not be more urgent," said Foxx.

drone deliveryFoxx has also announced a task force to recommend by November 20 a registration process for drones (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). The group will comprise representatives from the manned and unmanned aviation industries, the federal government and other stakeholders.

"Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system," Foxx said. "It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground."

With Wal-Mart planning to introduce delivery by drone, the next 30 years with see the population of the U.S. grow by 70 million people, and freight traffic increase 42 percent by 2040.

To cope with this expansion, the Foxx freight plan wants the 'Grow America' Act to provide US$18 billion over six years through two dedicated, multimodal freight grant programs.

Other proposals include identifying major trade gateways and multimodal national freight networks to help planners and private sector stakeholders; and the facilitation of multijurisdictional and multimodal collaboration with port authorities, private sector stakeholders and agencies in Canada and Mexico.

Foxx also wants the Department of Transport (DoT) to develop and deploy more advanced freight data resources and promote the measurement and analysis of transit times for different commodities "from a multimodal, origin-to-destination perspective".

The DoT will also support the adoption of new technologies including autonomous vehicles to allow safer and more reliable freight transportation and provide support for the next generation freight workforce as part of president Obama's 'Ladders of Opportunity' initiative.

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