If you haven’t read “The Good Haul,” a report released by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), there is no time like the present as it lays out a “roadmap for modernizing the U.S. freight system,” including trucking, rail and air. “This report provides a roadmap for modernizing the U.S. freight system, making it more reliable and faster, and reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution,” said Kathryn Phillips, director of the California Transportation and Air Initiative at EDF, whose staff produced the report.

“House and Senate committees writing the transportation bill should ensure funding for freight improvement delivers environmental benefits, too,” stated Phillips. “This report shows it can be done.”

The Good Haul” details 28 case studies of “clean freight” solutions that exist in the U.S. and internationally. It also recommends that Congress should direct any freight-improvement funding to encourage clean freight solutions to improve freight’s performance and protect public health and the environment, including favoring innovations such as those taking place in Southern California; Chicago, Seattle, Norfolk, VA, and along the Gulf Coast between Port Manatee, FL and Brownsville, TX.

In Southern California, for example, the report referencesthe Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which launched a Clean Air Action Plan in 2006, intended to clean up all areas of port activity, including trucks, cargo handling equipment, locomotives, ships and even tug boats. Since its implementation 18 months ago, the plan is reported to have taken 2,000 older diesel trucks off the road and created more than 3,000 jobs at the Port of Los Angeles alone. A video of Port of LA clean freight innovations is available at www.edf.org/goodhaul.

“Now is the ideal time to tackle these challenges,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America, a coalition of more than 450 organizations nationwide focused on creating a national transportation program for the 21st century by modernizing the infrastructure and building healthy communities. “The upcoming reauthorization of the federal transportation bill is a great opportunity to help achieve a smarter, greener freight system.”