Perl_ArnoldCongressman Stephen Fincher hosted U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica and the Transportation Committee on February 25 for a Transportation Bill Listening Session.

The session was part of a series of cross-country Committee meetings with transportation stakeholders and state and local officials to help inform the Committee’s development of a long-term, job-creating reauthorization of the nation’s highway, transit and highway safety programs.

Panelists offered suggestions on improving the performance of programs and streamlining delivery processes in our infrastructure.

Glankler Brown, PLLC member Arnold Perl served as a panelist at the listening session. A transcript of his comments follows.

Mr. Chairman, our host Congressman Steven Fincher, Committee Members Congressmen Steve Cohen and Jimmy Duncan, and my fellow panel participants:

I appreciate the opportunity to present new ideas and recommendations for positive changes in the law to benefit our national transportation system. Memphis International Airport is fueled by the FedEx Global Super-Hub as well as a passenger connecting hub of Delta Airlines, the premiere global carrier at Memphis International Airport, the economic engine of this region. Memphis International generates an annual economic impact of $28.6 billion a year – the second highest economic generator of any single airport in the U.S.

Equally significant is that Memphis International is the hub for America’s Aerotropolis – a dynamic multi-modal transportation system comprising the 4 R’s – runway, road, river and rail – which are merged into an economic juggernaught unlike any other region in the U.S.

We in the greater Memphis region applaud the Chairman’s leadership in adding Aerotropolis transportation systems to the House FAA Reauthorization Bill. The Amendment offered by the Chairman, which was accepted into the Bill, embraced the Aerotropolis language introduced earlier by Congressman Steve Cohen in the Aerotropolis Act of 2010. Adding this language into the FAA Reauthorization Bill was an important beginning to establishing a coherent federal policy to support Aerotropolis development. The benefits of doing so will trigger economic growth, create jobs and enable America to gain even greater access to the new global economy.

To create “alignment” between the House FAA Reauthorization legislation and any Highway Reauthorization Bill, we respectfully urge that comparable language relating to Aerotropolis Transportation Systems be similarly included in the Highway Bill.

As observed by the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, “our freight network is too often thought of as various single modes that occasionally intersect, when in fact, it is better described as a vast circulatory system for carrying our nation’s commerce across several conveyances in almost every goods movement. The efficient interaction among ships, rail, truck and air lowers logistics costs and maintains cost effective business practices such as just-in-time delivery”.

As the report concluded, to keep pace with our foreign trading partners and support efficient supply chain logistics within our country, we need to create a new multi-modal federally-driven freight strategy in the next surface transportation authorization.

The positive change I advocate here today urges inclusion in the new Highway Authorization Bill of Aerotropolis Transportation Systems. By doing so, it would strengthen its inclusion in the earlier House FAA Reauthorization and would represent an important first step in promoting a new multi-modal federally driven national freight strategy to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in the global economy.

In April 11-13, the Airport Cities World Conference and Exhibition will meet in Memphis following the 2010 conference in Beijing, China. The decision to conduct this global conference in Memphis was influenced by the fact that Memphis is America’s Aerotropolis, where road, runway, rail and river merge. We should leverage nationally the advantage of Aerotropolis Transportation Systems which represent the most dynamic and efficient model for the future.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for reaching out to the transportation community in the greater Memphis region. We stand ready to assist you and the Committee in your quest to make America’s transportation system the envy of the world.

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