Transportation and Trade
“Global trade is critical to growing the economy, spurring job creation, and maintaining relationships around the world.”
SUMMARY OF STANCE
California’s transportation system is essential to the flow of goods not just to our state, but to the entire nation; and our nation’s trade relations play a key role in this system. The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles comprise, the busiest port complex in the Western Hemisphere, and are responsible for handling nearly 35 percent of all of containerized goods that come into the United States from other countries. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representative one of my main goals in Congress is to ensure these Ports maintain their efficiency and global competitiveness.
RELATED ACTIONS AND LEGISLATION
Introducing legislation is just one action that a member of Congress can take to address a concern or issue that impacts constituents. House Members can also introduce Congressional resolutions calling on the House (or even the full Congress) as a body to recognize or support a certain event or position on an issue. Members can write letters to government leaders requesting they take certain action, hold hearings with expert panels to address issues, work with colleagues at the committee level on specific issues, or even make direct in-person appeals to other Members or officials in the government. Here are a few examples of how I have taken action on this issue.
National Freight Policy
Our nation’s maritime ports, advanced rail systems, and efficient interconnected highways took careful planning and considerable funding, and they put the United States at the forefront of public, private, and even military transportation. Unfortunately, our once prized system, integral to our country’s economic vitality, is in serious need of an overhaul. We must develop a dedicated revenue stream to protect and enhance our goods movement infrastructure investment.
The United States is one of the most interconnected in the world and I believe we need a national freight policy that connects states and regions in the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally conscious way possible. This policy should fully utilize the competitiveness and emerging technologies coming out of our ports. As a member of the Congressional Ports Caucus, I am working to make California’s Ports among the greenest, busiest, most efficient, and competitive in the country. I am also a member of the Congressional Maritime Caucus, which aims to tailor our maritime policy to meet the challenges of the 21st century by empowering the industry with the tools necessary to increase our gross domestic product (GDP) and expand exports.
This is why I authored and introduced H.R. 1308, “Economy in Motion: The National Multimodal Freight Infrastructure Act.” This legislation will provide a dedicated and sustainable revenue source to fund multi-modal, freight-specific formula grants to states and a multi-modal, freight-specific competitive grant program to local, regional and state governments.
I also cosponsored H.R. 2553, the “National Infrastructure Development Bank Act,” to create a consistent funding source for infrastructure projects through a National Infrastructure Development Bank, and H.R.3040, the “Safe Freight Act,” which would improve railway safety to eliminate the risky practice of single-person train crews.
Another critical piece to the puzzle of achieving a robust transportation system is a well-planned mass transit system. I have always been a strong supporter of mass transit, which provides essential services to millions of Americans and reduces congestion and pollution. I believe that all residents should have access to safe and well-maintained public transportation. Our country needs smart transportation solutions that reduce congestion and break our carbon dependence.
Cycling and Pedestrian Safety
To further ensure the safety of our transportation system, I cosponsored a bike and pedestrian safety bill, H.R. 3494, which would advise the Department of Transportation to create separate performance metrics for non-motorized and motorized transportation in an effort to encourage states to reduce bicyclist and pedestrian fatality rates. I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 3978, the “New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act,” which authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to establish a pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure credit assistance pilot program.
We must always fund unique ways to promote safety and work to increase our options for bus and rail transit, walking, biking, and transit-oriented development. Congress must expand our country’s infrastructure projects and focus on the transportation needs of future generations. Today’s society demands a functioning and robust infrastructure that is capable of creating vibrant, safe, and livable communities for all Americans. I remain committed to making this attainable goal a reality.
As the representative of the Port of Long Beach, promoting trade and growing our local trade-related businesses is one of my top priorities. That is why I introduced an amendment to H.R. 1409, a bill to amend the “Export Enhancement Act of 1988.” My amendment sought to add critical representation from state government trade development agencies on the U.S. Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), which oversees all of the federal export promotion programs spread across the federal government. Adding critical state representation will help ensure that our federal export promotion efforts will better meet California’s unique needs.
CAUCUSES OR MEMBERSHIPS RELATED TO ISSUE
I serve as the Co-Chair of the Ports Caucus which was formed to promote the importance of our nation’s ports with regard to our nation’s economy and the need to secure them by promoting dialogue between Congress, the Administration and relevant federal agencies, as well as important industry officials.
Congressional Maritime Caucus
The Congressional Maritime Caucus is a devoted ally of all components of the maritime industry and aims to tailor our maritime policy to meet the challenges of the 21st century by empowering the industry with the tools necessary to increase GDP and expand exports. The Caucus works to raise awareness among members of Congress on a broad range of maritime-related topics.
Congressional Panama Canal Expansion Caucus
The Congressional Panama Canal Expansion Caucus provides an opportunity for Members of Congress to examine the way our nation’s ports, transportation systems and infrastructure networks are preparing, as well as the economic impacts that will result from the expansion.
For more information concerning my work and views on trade and transportation, please contact me.
More on Transportation and Trade
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today issued the following statement on the passage of the CARES Act, a $2 trillion relief and stimulus package to address the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States:
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today introduced the INFRA Transparency Act to enhance reporting requirements for the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) major discretionary freight infrastructure grant program: Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA).
Original cosponsors of the legislation are Representatives Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Julia Brownley (CA-26), and Harley Rouda (CA-48), who, along with Congressman Lowenthal, are members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) issued the following statement regarding his vote today against H.R. 5430, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act, which would implement the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) today introduced bipartisan legislation which will create a dedicated revenue source to direct more than $100 billion over ten years into rebuilding our crumbling national freight infrastructure and strengthen America's economic competitiveness.
Thank you, Chair DeFazio and Subcommittee Chair Napolitano for your hard work on this legislation.
On Wednesday, Congressional Ports Opportunity, Renewal, Trade, and Security (PORTS) Caucus co-chairs Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Ted Poe (TX-02) led a bipartisan coalition of 36 Members of Congress to call on Congressional leaders to ensure that any federal infrastructure package include resources for America's ports.
"Our national supply chain begins at ports," the Members wrote. "It is paramount that we provide our ports with the resources they need to both maintain and improve their infrastructure and the national freight network." Full letter text is below