There are ongoing discussions about the value of designating existing infrastructure as commercial transportation corridors throughout the United States. These designated highways, in theory, would support national and international trade and commerce efforts. More specifically, they would facilitate over-dimensional cargo in order to support commercial transportation for manufacturing and industry.
The commercial transportation corridors concept would identify, designate, and improve existing roadways to be specifically utilized for commercial transportation. This would empower states and industry to support commercial transportation and advance solutions in project cargo logistics along with the corridors specifically designed and maintained for commercial truck transportation.
Perkins STC is constantly finding ways to improve our working environment as we perform our professional services for our customers throughout the United States and Canada. The safety of the traveling public, our employees, our customer's personnel, and the cargo entrusted into our care is of paramount importance. After all, our families travel the same roads that we do. The processes, proper planning techniques, and the decisions made by our highly trained transportation professionals are critical to protecting all of the above. Likewise, preserving the infrastructure that we use to execute our services is of equal importance in order to sustain and build a solid foundation used to support our business and our families.
Perkins is committed to and devotes a significant effort to encourage a positive process, which allows us to support our transportation systems used in the commission of our work. We do so by supporting and participating in a number of like-minded organizations that work toward positive improvement with private industry and local, state, and federal government. As a contributing member of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA), serving on the Board of Directors Transportation Governing Group, we are constantly working toward a number of potential solutions for issues that we face in our industry.
As for the debate over designated commercial transportation corridors, there are other organizations in existence today that represent a few examples of collective efforts in both government and private industry, including but not limited to, North/West Passage Corridor, I-95 Corridor Coalition, Ports to Plains and Spirit of 54. These organizations are seeing success through the cooperative efforts of private industry and government for the development of commercial transportation corridors utilizing designated transportation lanes.
As of the writing of this article there are no formal commercial transportation corridors that exist in the lower 48 states of the US. At one time the Texas Department of Transportation considered identifying repetitive traffic lanes supporting oversize and overweight cargo as commercial corridors to support the increasing number of these shipments from the various port facilities and manufacturing locations throughout the state to bordering state jurisdictions. Eventually the idea lost steam over funding and other considerations. In Canada, the province of Alberta has a commercial transportation corridor for extreme height and weight combinations to support the oil development and other industries within that province.
It is common for the particular state permit authority to utilize identified corridors used historically to support over-dimensional truck transportation moves for the sake of efficiency in permitting similar combinations. While the data and inventory may be present to establish such designations, there is no evidence that any formal investment or capital enhancement program to improve infrastructure along these routes are currently being implemented.
The greatest obstacle to moving forward with this concept is funding. The commercial transportation corridors concept is being frowned upon by senior leadership in state government and is viewed as a siphoning of money from the overall budget supporting all highways. I would suggest that an argument can be made that by moving commercial traffic to designated and specifically designed corridors could remove the pressure from other public roadways. In theory, this would reduce accelerated wear attributed to the dimensional and/or heavy load lowering maintenance costs on non-designated highways. It could also lend itself to a better management and oversight for the enforcement of rules, regulations, and compliance.
One organization that recently moved forward on this issue is the Western Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (WASHTO). At their semi-annual meeting in Boise, ID a subcommittee was formed consisting of industry and state officials to identify east to west, as well as north to south corridors that would be advantageous for this type of designation. The findings of this subcommittee were then presented to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) committee for further discussion and action.
I can speak for our industry in that we support the idea of designated commercial transportation corridors for dimensional transportation and see this as a significant solution to streamlining efficiencies and for the continued good stewardship of public highway infrastructure.
~Ray Morgan, VP of Sales & Governmental Affairs at Perkins STC
If you have any suggestions, concerns, or information that may help in conjunction with these discussions, please email us at email@example.com. We are happy to introduce all constructive recommendations to the proposal and get them in front of the committees dedicated to drive the progress and innovation of commercial corridors.
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