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Establishment of Interim National Multimodal Freight Network

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking

Establishment of Interim National Multimodal Freight Network

Finch Fulton
U.S. Department of Transportation
25 October 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 205 (Wednesday, October 25, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 49478-49480]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-22315]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. DOT-OST-2016-0053]


Establishment of Interim National Multimodal Freight Network

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST), Federal 
Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Maritime Administration (MARAD), 
Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), and U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of reopening of comment period and extension of 
deadline.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: DOT is extending the deadline and comment period for materials 
related to the Interim National Multimodal Freight Network (Interim 
NMFN), as established in a notice published on June 6, 2016 at 81 FR 
36381. The original notice asked for comments by September 6, 2016. The 
reopening and extension of the comment period is based on input 
received from DOT stakeholders that the September 6, 2016 closing date 
did not provide sufficient time for submission of comments to the 
Department, as well as an analysis that some comments submitted by 
States did not include the required statutory certification. DOT agrees 
that the comment period should be reopened and extended. Therefore, the 
comment period on the establishment of the Interim NMFN is reopened.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 22, 2018 to 
receive consideration by DOT with respect to the final designation of 
the NMFN. Late-filed comments received after this date will be 
considered to the fullest extent practicable. Comments may be submitted 
by all interested stakeholders.

ADDRESSES: To ensure that you do not duplicate your docket submissions, 
please submit them by only one of the following means:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., W12-140, Washington, DC 
20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (202) 366-
9329.

[[Page 49479]]

     Instructions: You must include the agency name and docket 
number at the beginning of your comments. All comments received will be 
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any 
personal information provided. If you have any GIS shapefiles or other 
geographic information to submit to the docket, please email those 
files to ryan.endorf@dot.gov with the agency name and docket number in 
the email.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Endorf, 202-366-4835 or email 
ryan.endorf@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Background: Section 70103 of title 49, U.S.C., which was 
established in section 8001 of the Fixing America's Surface 
Transportation (FAST) Act, directs the Under Secretary of 
Transportation for Policy (Under Secretary) to establish a NMFN that 
will be used to: (1) Assist States in strategically directing resources 
toward improved system performance for the efficient movement of 
freight on the NMFN; (2) inform freight transportation planning; (3) 
assist in the prioritization of Federal investment; and (4) assess and 
support Federal investments to achieve the national multimodal freight 
policy goals described in section 70101(b) of title 49, U.S.C., and the 
national highway freight program goals described in section 167 of 
title 23, U.S.C.
    On June 6, 2016, the Under Secretary established an Interim NMFN 
that includes the following components: (1) The National Highway 
Freight Network (NHFN), as established under section 167 of title 23, 
U.S.C.; (2) the freight rail systems of Class I railroads as designated 
by the Surface Transportation Board; (3) the public ports of the United 
States that have total annual foreign and domestic trade of at least 
2,000,000 short tons, as identified by the Waterborne Commerce 
Statistics Center of the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), using the 
data from the latest year for which such data are available; (4) the 
inland and intracoastal waterways of the United States, as described in 
section 206 of the Inland Waterways Revenue Act of 1978 (33 U.S.C. 
1804); (5) the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and coastal and 
ocean routes along which domestic freight is transported; (6) the 50 
airports located in the United States with the highest annual landed 
weight, as identified by the FAA; and (7) other strategic freight 
assets, including strategic intermodal facilities and freight rail 
lines of Class II and Class III railroads, designated by the Under 
Secretary as critical to interstate commerce.
    The Interim NMFN was published in the Federal Register at 81 FR 
36381 on June 6, 2016, and the public was invited to submit comments to 
the docket through September 6, 2016. In the Federal Register notice, 
DOT posed several questions for the public to consider, and States and 
other stakeholders were provided the opportunity to submit additional 
designations for consideration of inclusion to the Final NMFN to be 
designated by the Under Secretary. As part of their submission, States 
were required by statute to certify that they had satisfied the 
statutory requirements under 49 U.S.C. 70103(c)(4)(A) and that any 
additional designations submitted address the factors for designation 
under 49 U.S.C. 70103(c)(2). Per the statute, only States are required 
to submit this certification along with their comments; other 
stakeholders or members of the public do not have this requirement.
    Several commenters stated in their comments to the docket that the 
initial 90-day comment period was insufficient in order to coordinate 
and prepare their comments and additional designations. In particular, 
multiple States stated that they did not have sufficient time to 
consider nominations from their public and private stakeholders, which 
is a requirement that these States would have needed to certify. 
Additionally, upon a review of comments submitted by the States, DOT 
has identified that many comments submitted by States lack the 
statutorily required certification and thus, DOT cannot consider those 
comments.
    As a result, DOT is reopening the comment period for all 
stakeholders to submit comments on the Interim NMFN. Comments that have 
previously been submitted will continue to receive consideration, 
though States that previously submitted comments should refer to the 
below section on State Input. Any stakeholder or member of the public 
is free to submit new comments and to amend or supplement previously 
submitted comments. In the initial June 6, 2016 Federal Register notice 
establishing the Interim NMFN at 81 FR 36381, DOT posed a number of 
questions by mode and solicited input from the public. DOT continues to 
seek input on these questions and encourages the public to refer back 
to the original FR notice located at Docket Number DOT-OST-2016-0053. 
Previously submitted comments can also be viewed at this docket. 
Interested stakeholders and members of the public can find more 
information on the Interim NMFN, including maps and tables by State, at 
https://www.transportation.gov/freight/InterimNMFN.
    State Input: 49 U.S.C. 70103(c)(4)(D) requires that each State 
certify that they have considered nominations for additional 
designations from a wide range of stakeholders, including MPOs, State 
Freight Advisory Committees (as applicable), and owners and operators 
of port, rail, pipeline, and airport facilities. Each State proposing 
additional designations must certify that all additional designations 
are consistent with the Statewide transportation improvement program 
(STIP) or State freight plan. Finally, each State must also certify 
that each proposed designation addresses the factors listed in 49 
U.S.C. 70103(c)(2). Each State comment must include a statement 
addressing these certifications in order to it to receive consideration 
from DOT. An example of an acceptable certification is the following: 
``The State of A certifies it considered nominations from the 
stakeholders and the State Freight Advisory Committee [as applicable], 
required under 49 U.S.C. 70103(c)(4)(A)(i) and (ii), in identifying 
additional NMFN designations within the State. These additional 
designations are consistent with the State's Statewide Transportation 
Improvement Program and our State Freight Plan [as applicable--some 
States may not have a completed State Freight Plan]. Further, the State 
of A certifies that the proposed additional designations address the 
factors described in 49 U.S.C. 70103(c)(2).''
    States are not required to resubmit any comments provided in 
response to the June 6, 2016 Federal Register notice unless the State 
did not provide a certification with their previously submitted 
comments. If no certification was provided, the State should resubmit 
their comments with a certification in order to receive consideration. 
If a State has already provided the required certification and is not 
seeking to modify those comments or proposed designations, they are not 
required to resubmit their original comments or certification. Any 
State offering changes to prior submitted comments, including proposed 
additional designations, modifications, or deletions, must include a 
new certification. States that are commenting for the first time must 
provide a certification to receive consideration. In all cases, the 
State must submit a written certification to the docket consistent with 
49 U.S.C. 70103(c)(4)(D).
    Public Comment: The DOT invites comments by all those interested in 
the NMFN. Comments on the Interim

[[Page 49480]]

NMFN may be submitted and viewed at Docket Number DOT-OST-2016-0053. 
Comments must be received on or before February 22, 2018 to receive 
full consideration by DOT with respect to the final designation of the 
NMFN. After February 22, 2018, comments will continue to be available 
for viewing by the public.

    Dated: October 10, 2017.
Finch Fulton,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2017-22315 Filed 10-24-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P

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