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Freight

Planning for Freight in the Alamo Area

Packages at your doorstep, gas at the corner store and produce in your shopping cart--all have one thing in common. Each of these goods moved through a network of highways, railways, waterways, ports, airports, and/or pipelines on its journey to reach you. More than 4 billion tons of freight worth $2.9 trillion is moved throughout Texas each year. Freight-related industry supports 12.6 million jobs and $1.9 million in Gross State Product—representing the second largest economy in the United States and the ninth largest in the world.

The Alamo Area, being at the confluence of two major freight routes—Interstates 35 and 10 - is at the crossroads for freight traveling to and from important ports of entry in Houston, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and El Paso. AAMPO and local, state, and federal partners engage in multiple planning processes and programs to ensure the region is able to continue to provide solid connections and support statewide and national growth.

Freight Stakeholder Workshops

photo from freight workshop

With the passage of the FAST Act, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) initiated and adopted the statewide Texas Freight Mobility Plan. Thereafter, AAMPO was charged with identifying, and sharing with TxDOT, critical urban freight corridors (CUFCs). In 2017, AAMPO hosted a series of stakeholder workshops to assist with the CUFCs identification. Moving forward, with the passage of the new infrastructure act, AAMPO will continue to hosts workshops in support of regional and statewide freight planning efforts. Stay tuned for opportunities to participate in workshops in support of AAMPO’s upcoming freight study in 2023. To view and download the 2017 workshop summary report and materials, click on the links below.

Send comments and questions related to moving freight in the Alamo Area to Clifton Hall at hall@alamoareampo.org.

FAST Act and IIJA

FAST Act

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, enacted into law in late 2015, authorized surface transportation infrastructure funding for fiscal years 2016-2020. It also provided national freight policies with a new emphasis on ensuring the safe, efficient, and reliable movement of freight. Many of these efforts have carried into the current surface transportation authorization bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Specifically, the FAST Act:

  1. Established a National Multimodal Freight Policy
  2. Required the Development of a National Freight Strategic Plan
  3. Created a new discretionary freight-focused grant program
  4. Established a National Highway Freight Program
  5. Encouraged each State to establish a State freight advisory committee
  6. Required each State to develop a State freight plan
  7. Supports an outcome-oriented, performance-based approach to the evaluation of proposed freight-related and other transportation projects
  8. Continued the requirement for DOT to provide Congress with a biennial report on the condition and performance of the National Highway Freight Network

Read more about the FAST ACT Freight Planning and Policy Provisions.


Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), aka the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) (2021)

The IIJA continues several historic policies and programs originally in the FAST Act of 2015. However, the new Act includes key enhancements for freight through discretionary grant programs and other policy changes during the five-year life of the law (FY 2022-2026). The information listed below highlights the funding opportunities and program requirements associated with freight in the Alamo Area. Many of these same grant programs also provide funding opportunities for other areas of transportation. For more information, visit www.transportation.gov.

Funding Opportunities

  • National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program (“Mega”) Grants - Available for projects on the National Multimodal/Highway Freight Networks, including intermodal and rail projects, grade separations, and intercity passenger rail. This grant is intended to fund large, complex projects that traditional funding sources may not be able to fund.
  • Local and Regional Project Assistance Program (“RAISE”) Grants – Available for local and regional transportation infrastructure projects, including passenger and freight rail projects, port infrastructure investments, surface transportation infrastructure projects at airports, and other surface transportation projects. The projects funded with this grant will have significant local or regional impact and seek to modernize the transportation system after decades of underinvestment.
  • Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (“INFRA”) Grants - Added eligibility for projects on the National Multimodal Freight Network, Marine Highway Corridor projects connected to the National Highway Freight Network likely to reduce emissions, and surface transportation projects connected to international border crossings.

Plans and Policy Directives

  • National Freight Strategic Plan – This plan will help guide national freight policy, programs, investments, and initiatives. It will be used to inform State freight plans and identify freight data and research needs. The goals of objectives of the plan, and resulting policy, is to improve safety, security and resilience of the national freight network; modernize freight infrastructure and operations to promote economic growth and quality of life; and prepare for the future by developing data, technology, and workforce capabilities. The plan considers freight’s impact on the natural environment, resilience, economic growth rural, carbon reduction, and underserved, historically disadvantaged communities.
  • State freight plans – FAST Act required States to develop a comprehensive plan for the immediate and long-range freight planning activities and investments. The IIJA outlines 17 requirements for State freight plans. Such requirements include identification of State trends, needs, and issues; description of freight policies, strategies and performance measures; listing critical freight corridors; how the State will meet the national freight goals; consideration for innovative technologies and operational strategies; how pavement deterioration will be addressed; inventory of mobility issues and strategies for addressing impediments; commercial vehicle parking assessments; supply chain volume, commercial ports, e-commerce considerations, and strategies and goals to prevent environmental impacts; and consultation with State Freight Advisory Committee.
  • State Freight Advisory Committees – Guidance expands list of involved and consulted organizations as well as establishing qualification for advisory committee membership.

Local & State Freight Planning

The Texas Transportation Commission adopted the most recent Texas Freight Mobility Plan (TFMP), Texas Delivers 2050, in January 2023. This plan, developed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), focuses on Texas’ freight transportation needs and fulfills new requirements of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The Texas Freight Mobility Plan:

  • Establishes and maintains goals and objectives that align with TxDOT's other statewide planning efforts and with federal transportation legislation;
  • Identifies freight transportation needs and challenges;
  • Outlines policies and programs needed to address them;
  • Evaluates the impact of freight movement on Texas' economy;
  • Identifies freight transportation facilities and investments critical to economic growth; and
  • Serves as an investment guide for freight transportation improvements.

Planning considerations in the freight plan also include:

  • Critical Rural Freight Corridors (CRFC): a state-identified network meeting federal requirements;
  • Critical Urban Freight Corridors (CUFC): an MPO-identified network, defined in consultation with the State;
  • Consideration of significant congestion or delay caused by freight movements and strategies to mitigate congestion or delay; and
  • Fiscally Constrained Investment Plan (project listing): funding to complete listed projects that will be available within the time period identified in the freight investment plan.

Read the full Freight Plan.


Local Efforts

The Alamo Area MPO has also been engaged in the following regional freight efforts:

  • Participating in TxDOT’s Central Texas Grade Crossing Study to improve vehicular mobility at highway-rail crossings.
  • Reviewing strategies to mitigate truck congestion in the Texas Triangle (led by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute).
  • Providing input on the development of TxDOT’s Texas Freight Mobility Plan Update.
  • Identifying freight origins/destinations as well as the Critical Urban Freight Corridors, in the AAMPO area, required by the FAST Act. In April 2017, AAMPO submitted, to TxDOT, 50 miles of corridors identified as critical to local freight. Read more about the process we followed to designate these corridors.

Past Presentations on AAMPO Freight Planning Efforts

Freight Resources

For more information on freight transportation, please visit the following sites:

Note: This page contains links to other internet sites maintained by third parties which the Alamo Area MPO believes may be of interest or use to users but for which the Alamo Area MPO has no responsibility. The Alamo Area MPO makes no effort to independently verify information on Internet sites outside of the "alamoareampo.org" domain, nor does it attempt to exert editorial control over such information. The Alamo Area MPO makes no representations or warranty of any kind as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information contained on such Internet sites. The Alamo Area MPO specifically disclaims any and all liability for any claims or damages that may result from information on Internet sites outside of the "alamoareampo.org" domain.

Stay Informed!