Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Intermodal Mood

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Intermodal Mood

Article excerpt

Intermodal, as in Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, is a buzzword thrown about these days by people who talk about transportation. Surprisingly, not many people realize the word means the connection of more than one mode of moving goods and people, such as bus to trolley, car to train, truck to airplane or boat to truck.

The word is used more and more to convince the federal government to fork over money for projects that have little connection to transportation.

But a dichotomy is developing within the industries as two groups work to convince both the public and the Oklahoma Legislature of the need for more money for transportation. One group, the Oklahoma Good Roads and Streets Association, has embraced the intermodal concept and even has convinced five other organizations to join a coalition to ram a request for $120 million in new transportation money through the Legislature. It's probably not going to happen, even though the groups involved represent every facet of the industry and represent a large block of voters. The money is just not there, unless budgets for other programs are cut. But, when it comes to corrections or schools, transportation takes a back seat. In fact, transportation funding takes a back seat to just about everything, according to William D. Fay, president of the American Highway Users Alliance of Washington, D.C., because the glamour, the excitement -- even the controversy -- is no longer there. Building a better infrastructure for this nation has nonpartisan support from government at all levels. This very support is transportation's Achilles heel, because "since there's no real controversy, no one thinks to put it high on the priority list during negotiations (between parties) for legislation," he said. Fay disdains the use of the word "intermodal," saying that the "only people who say intermodal are those from other transportation systems that want to get their grubby mitts on highway money. …

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