2010 Ohio Conference on Freight Delivered
About 190 people from 14 states and two Canadian provinces attended the 2010 Conference on Freight in Toledo. They heard some inspiring presentations from innovators, and got some sobering news about federal programs. Several themes emerged from speakers at the two-day conference held in September.
- Real multimodal integration of freight transportation has happened. One concrete sign of this integration is the new ODOT Office of Maritime, which advocates for Ohio’s 716 miles of navigable waterway. Other examples include rail and truck intermodal facilities - from the Rickenbacker Inland Port near Columbus, to the Airline Junction Yard in Toledo, to the National Gateway Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal in North Baltimore.
- Partnerships are now the matter-of-fact way that new initiatives happen. No business can afford to go it alone in the development of new facilities, and no single mode can work in isolation anymore. A tour and report on the National Gateway Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal in North Baltimore described the $175 million in private investment, and $98 million in TIGER funds from federal stimulus programs. Speakers talking about the Rickenbacker Inland Port near Columbus stated that the single greatest accomplishment in that enormous undertaking has been the partnerships among counties, state agencies, planning organizations, and chambers of commerce and other business groups. Bob Fredman, senior program manager at the Battelle Institute, noted that with these partners, the only possible outcome is success.
- One reason that partnerships are essential is that governments - federal, state, and local – are too financially stretched to be the sole agent behind transportation innovation. This was another theme of the conference. Representatives from ODOT, economic forecaster Stuart Hoffman of PNC, and academic researchers all talked about how business has to take up the effort that the government initiated with stimulus funds. In a speech opening the conference, ODOT’s Scott Varner stated that ODOT met every deadline and didn’t lose a dollar of stimulus money to another state, but that the state was relying on Ohioans' history of business innovation. Stuart Hoffman of PNC agreed that business needs to take up the effort to improve the economy by making investments.
Presentations and other follow up information are posted here.
Orlando Gotay, Deputy Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S. DOT; Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur; and TMACOG President Tony Reams at the 2010 Ohio Conference on Freight.
The Dana Conference Center in Toledo was the venue for the 2010 Ohio Conference on Freight. Attendees visited the exhibitors between workshops.
Jack Basso of AASHTO gave a sobering picture of the state of federal finances and the status of federal programs. He called for citizens to face reality and force their representatives to act.