Project Database
Project Search » Intermodal » Project Database Details
TITLEAnalysis of Multi-State Jurisdictional Models



YEAR FUNDEDYear 16 - FY 2008

Year 16 Budget:$94,877



The I-95 Corridor Coalition, in conjunction with FHWA’s Office of Freight, coordinated and conducted a roundtable to receive and document expert opinions on institutional arrangements to improve freight corridor performance.


Procurement Agency:  University of Maryland
Project Contact: Marygrace Parker
Freight, Mobility, Safety & Security Coordinator
I-95 Corridor Coalition
Phone: (518) 852-4083

TITLEAnalysis of Multi-State Jurisdictional Models


Project Start: May, 2009
Expected Completion: July, 2011 (task closed)

Year 16 Budget:$94,877


The purpose of the Roundtable was to obtain advice from a group of national experts about potential multi-state institutional arrangements to improve freight corridor performance. A draft paper describing eight different options for institutional arrangements was sent to the Roundtable invitees before the meeting.


View Scope of Work

Report Name
Multi-State Freight Corridor Study Final (December, 2009) View Acrobat icon


  • Roundtable Summary
  • Articles, as needed, for various publications


Twenty-three invitees attended the Roundtable. The background paper, distributed prior to the Roundtable, described approximately 80 illustrative examples of institutional options, which were grouped into eight types:

  • interstate compacts
  • joint services agreements
  • special districts and authorities
  • voluntary coalitions
  • non-profit corporations
  • commercial companies
  • federal corporations
  • federal agencies

The paper also described seven capabilities that these institutions might be expected to provide for helping to improve the performance of multi-state freight corridors. They included ability to address:

  • multi-state geographic scope of systems and projects
  • multi-modal scope
  • strategic planning and goal-setting as a matter of public policy
  • management of and accountability for broad-scale, modally integrated systems to achieve the measurable “outcomes” set by public policies 
  • implementation of projects and operational improvements
  • financial needs
  • reliable organizational effectiveness

Finally, the paper suggested several principles that could be used to determine which institutions might be most appropriate to meet multi-state transportation needs under differing circumstances, and illustrated how these principles might be applied in one sample case.


As a basic point of consensus, the group agreed that it is urgent for the nation to place greater emphasis on improving multi-state corridor performance for freight movement in order to keep the United States competitive in the global marketplace. The group further agreed that the U.S. DOT could provide the needed leadership to define and designate multi-state transportation corridors and provide intermodal coordination through such activities as federally induced collaboration. Though not tied directly to a specific type of institution, this is consistent with federal funding of existing voluntary corridor coalitions. The other institutional models were felt to be too situational to produce a consensus.

Highlights of the Roundtable participants’ concluding comments follow:

With respect to what needs to be done next, the key thoughts expressed were:

  • Several participants belonged to organizations that had developed proposals for inclusion in the pending Surface Transportation reauthorization legislation. As expected, they were committed to working to get their positions reflected in the new legislation. They were all very concerned about finding a new sustainable financial foundation for the program. Other themes differed among the participants.
  • Among the other comments made by individuals were:
    • More money is needed to support collaboration across political boundaries to “induce collaboration”
    • More planning should be done at a mega-region scale
    • Freight planning should be elevated to a larger scale than individual states (because most states are too small to encompass freight flows)
    • The powers and roles of Corridor Coalitions and how they should be designated and incorporated as more formal players need to be defined
    • Greater capacity to support freight analysis and planning should be built
    • More emphasis should be placed on mitigating environmental impacts and achieving positive environmental outcomes
    • Transportation decision-making should be moving more toward being based on performance measures and evidence and less on political prerogatives
    • U.S. DOT should be given a stronger leadership role, including a role for port and inland waterway planning within DOT 
    • An office of intermodalism should be rebuilt within DOT

With respect to new insights heard at the Roundtable, the following were mentioned:

  • “Induced collaboration” struck some as a new concept or a unique phrasing of an essential practice.
  • The amount of consensus about what should be included in reauthorization seems to be greater this year than in previous reauthorizations. Partly this may be because of the two formal national commissions established by SAFETEA-LU to study the matter. These two official studies spawned several other studies by groups that felt impelled to contribute their own studies to the mix of advice prepared for Congress.
  • The extent of the consensus that U.S. DOT should provide greater leadership was surprising to some, since this would reverse a generation-long trend in the other direction. It led to a warning to be careful about how this shift is referred to so it will not cause an unnecessary backlash against big government.
  • On financial matters, there was a warning to expect some push back on federal spending in reaction to the stimulus package and other big-ticket spending bills being enacted in this Congress. The current surge in spending may create an unfavorable climate for transportation reauthorization. Couching transportation funding in “private style” terms, rather than in traditional public finance terms, may be wise.
  • Although the case for urgent attention to freight corridor improvements is very strong, that message is not getting through. This case needs to be made more compellingly.


Original Project Budget: $150,000
Coalition funding: $35,000
USDOT/FHWA funding: $115,000

Final Project Expenditures: $94,877