State Looks for Comments on its 25-Year Freight Plans

HARRISBURG PA – Three facets of freight – what moves it, where it gets moved to, and how quickly it gets there – have taken on new significance in a world where the words “supply chain problems” wrought economic havoc during the past two years. Now a just-issued document developed for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation takes a look at the state’s freight planning through the next quarter-century.

The document is locally important in part because Montgomery, Berks, and Chester counties rank among the top 10 of the state’s 67 counties for freight-intensive employment, the department reports. Montgomery County is in second place, with 64,100 workers; Berks, in sixth, with 46,100 employed; and Chester, 10th, with 38,200.

The plan also is a requirement of the National Highway Freight Program, which must be met to ensure Pennsylvania remains eligible for about $58.5 million in annual federal funding, the department estimated.

A draft copy of the agency’s “2045 Freight Movement Plan” was unveiled Wednesday (Sept. 21, 2022) for public review and comment during the next 15 days.

PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said the plan reflects the state’s intent to “not only to accommodate the demands of freight transportation, but to help facilitate it.” That can be a challenge, she acknowledged in its introductory message.

“Freight transportation is increasingly driven by highly sophisticated logistics and technology. State DOTs must be positioned to provide the infrastructure, connections, and system operations in ways that align with the dynamic ever-changing freight industry to the greatest extent feasible,” Gramian stated.

The plan covers major topics in detail, including land use, mobility, analytical tools and processes, operations and safety, and environmental stewardship. It also addresses all forms of freight movement, by trucking, freight rail, ports and waterways, air cargo, and the military. It also deals with what the agency describes as “critical urban and rural freight corridors.”

Photo by Joseph Paul via Unsplash, used under license