FedEx CEO pushes for updates to highway infrastructure

November 22, 2013

Drivers, truckers, urban planners and politicians have long called for updates to America’s rapidly aging highway infrastructure. Now Bill Logue, president and CEO of FedEx Freight, is urging improvements in the country’s highway and air and sea travel networks, as well as decreased government regulation, according to Forbes.

At the annual conference of the National Industrial Transportation League held in Houston earlier this month, Logue said the nation’s existing transportation infrastructure isn’t equipped to meet the needs of today — and certainly not the needs of tomorrow. Explained Logue, “We must begin to address aging infrastructure across every mode of transportation.”

FedEx truck

FedEx joins the many voices calling for an upgrade to U.S. transportation infrastructure. From David Guo.

Referencing a U.S. Federal Highway Administration statistic stating that that traffic volume on roads and highways will more than double from 2010 and 2040, Logue discussed the ever-increasing pressure placed on urban areas. Infrastructure improvements, he said, are “vital to economic growth, the creation of jobs and access to goods and services.”

In addition to advocating for new construction as well as repairs and upgrades to the highway system, Logue also took issue with the Air Traffic Control System, which operates on a design that he said “has not changed since the 1950s.” FedEx is in support of Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), a Federal Aviation Administration program that will operate using satellite-based technology. NextGen is being introduced over stages through 2025, and will permit pilots to choose their own flight course. The program will save an estimated $23 billion in fuel by 2018, according to the FAA.

The infrastructure problem extends to the sea, said Logue. Ports desperately require berth expansion and dredging to keep up with the development of newer, larger containerships — though Logue says that “many of the nation’s ports are already experiencing congestion and delay” already. Lacking funds also affects seaport infrastructure; while the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 was passed to address harbor development, the projects to be funded haven’t yet been outlined.

The problem isn’t limited to American soil, air, and water — transportation networks throughout the world are in dire need of repairs and updates. Take India, where the majority of highways are two lanes. Or China, where infrastructure investment tops 76% of the country’s GDP, but spending is unequal among transit projects. In Brazil, which boasts one of the world’s brightest economies, the roads, ports, and railroads are ranked as some of the world’s worst.

In addition to infrastructure failures, Logue argued that government regulation — such as the Hours of Service restrictions which regulate truckers’ hours — is infringing on his company’s ability to business. (Hours of Service limit truckers’ hours, aiming to prevent accidents and encourage highway safety. According to Logue, the regulations are expected to cut productivity by between two to 10 percent.)

Another regulation to come under Logue’s fire was the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration initiative that, in the government’s terms, aims to “improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicles.” Logue claims that these regulations would increase driver shortage, increase costs, and reduce shippers’ choices. “Fedex is committed to safety most of all,” he said. “But we need to educate [the public] about the real-world impact of these changes.”

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Category: Infrastructure, Road safety

About the Author ()

Katy is a writer, reporter and editor who, in addition to writing for RoadTrafficSigns, has worked with the United Nations Development Programme, Hamptons magazine, Hearst Corporation, The Daily Mail, People Magazine, and a variety of other publications and nonprofits. After graduating with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and distinctions on her thesis and in the consumer journalism seminar, she moved to Milan, Italy. In Italy, she worked as a writer and consultant for an international magazine, editing and translating text and reporting on such events as the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the annual design fair. A born and raised New Yorker, she has lived in three of five boroughs, relying quite a bit on public transport until getting her driver's license at the admittedly belated age of 21.

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