U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx received a report this week from the Department of Transportation’s National Freight Advisory Committee making 81 recommendations to improve the performance of the nation’s freight transportation system.

These recommendations will be used to inform the development of the DOT’s National Freight Strategic Plan. The NFAC was established in June 2013 by then DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

The recommendations, now under review by the department, include suggestions to improve safety and security across the freight rail network, highlight funding needs and challenges, and call for increased streamlining processes and better collection of data and research, according to the DOT. 

The NFAC also proposes exploring ways to improve collaboration for multijurisdictional freight planning, developing goals related to freight safety, and addressing workforce development needs as the Department develops the National Freight Strategic Plan

Together, these recommendations highlight the need for increased transportation investment and greater certainty to support the kind of research and planning such projects would require. 

Earlier this year, Secretary Foxx submitted the GROW AMERICA Act for consideration by Congress, providing funding for the nation’s road and bridge program for the next several years. 

“This act will make critical investments to help improve the safe and efficient movement of freight across all modes of transportation; highway, rail, port, and pipeline; by providing $10 billion over four years for targeted investments in the nation’s transportation system to improve the movement of freight and by giving shippers, transportation providers, and freight workers a real seat at the table for making investment decisions,” the Transportation Department said.

The department also belives the GROW AMERICA Act will also better align planning among the federal government, states, ports, and local communities to improve decision-making and help improve the U.S.’s long-term competitiveness by taking steps to achieve President Obama’s goal to reduce the time it takes to break ground on a new transportation project.

A copy of the report can be found on the DOT’s website.