NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED), today is kicking-off a two-day summit to examine ways of improving the freight transportation system in Louisiana to better facilitate business development and economic growth.
During the Louisiana Freight Transportation Summit, representatives from the freight transportation industry, as well as state, federal and local government representatives, will discuss a draft strategic plan that outlines 20 specific strategies to enhance the state’s freight transportation system. DOTD and LED developed the plan based on recommendations provided by private companies during a Freight Transportation Symposium in November 2008.
“The Louisiana Freight Transportation Summit is a prime example of how government can work together with private businesses to streamline the way business is done in Louisiana and how we can make Louisiana more competitive,” said DOTD Secretary William D. Ankner, Ph.D. “In November, we asked the freight industry how we could create a more efficient and reliable intermodal freight transportation system in our state, and now we are responding with a specific action plan. We are breaking down barriers, and we will continue to work together to expand and strengthen the freight transportation business in the state.”
“Ensuring efficient goods movement is critical to Louisiana’s economic competitiveness and our ability to retain and grow jobs. For our state to continue to outperform national and regional economies, we must maximize our existing assets – such as infrastructure, businesses, and our excellent workforce – while cultivating new ways to grow our economy. All of these things rely on a competitive transportation and logistics system. LED is pleased to participate with DOTD and our industry partners in developing innovative, effective strategies to help retain, expand and recruit business in Louisiana,” said LED Secretary Stephen Moret.
The improvement strategies – which address issues such as regulations, taxation, policies and infrastructure – are grouped into five categories:
• Economic development – Tools to improve goods movement
• Lowering the costs of doing business and improving customer service
• Mitigating business risks – Transportation safety, hurricane preparedness and recovery
• Building a more efficient and reliable freight transportation infrastructure
• Financing improvements for Louisiana’s freight transportation system
Both Secretary Ankner and Secretary Moret will speak at the summit, which is being held in New Orleans. Other speakers include representatives from DOTD, LED and the Rand Corp., a nonprofit research organization that addresses challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. To facilitate discussion, attendees are being encouraged to provide written or verbal comments during each session.