• The GROW AMERICA Act turns attention and funds to transportation

    04/22/2015 — Matt Nagel

    As always, there’s been a lot of talk in Washington about different bills and budgets. One conversation in particular caught our attention as it would have a direct effect on the transportation industry – The GROW AMERICA Act. Brought to the forefront by the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) (something they haven’t done in almost a decade), the GROW AMERICA Act is a $478 billion, six year transportation reauthorization proposal that provides increased funding for the nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems. We’ll leave it to the politicians to line up and take sides on the finer points of the Act, but below is a description of some of the overarching themes presented (from the U.S. DOT's fact sheet):

    Specifically, the GROW AMERICA Act will provide –

    • $317 billion to invest in our nation’s highway system and road safety. The proposal will increase the amount of highway funds by an average of about 29 percent above FY 2015 enacted levels, emphasizing “Fix-it-First” policies and reforms that prioritize investments for repairs and improvements to the safety of our roads and transit services, with particular attention to investments in rural and tribal areas. The proposal will also provide more than $10 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to improve safety for all users of our highways and roads, providing a benefit of $21 for every Federal dollar used for infrastructure-related safety investments.
    • $115 billion to invest in transit systems and expand transportation options. The proposal increases average transit spending by 76 percent above FY 2015 enacted levels, which will enable the expansion of new projects that improve connectivity (e.g., light rail, street cars, bus rapid transit, etc.) in suburbs, fast-growing cities, small towns, and rural communities, while still maintaining existing transit systems. The GROW AMERICA Act proposes a powerful, $5.1 billion increase in investments to address public transit’s maintenance backlog to reduce bus and rail system breakdowns; create more reliable service; and stop delays that make it harder for all commuters to get to work. The proposal also includes the innovative Rapid Growth Area Transit Program, which will provide $3.4 billion over six years to fast growing communities for bus rapid transit and other multimodal solutions to get ahead of the challenges caused by rapid growth.
    • Tools and resources to encourage regional coordination and local decision making. The proposal includes policy reforms to incentivize improved regional coordination by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), which are local communities’ main voice in transportation planning. The GROW AMERICA Act also strengthens local decision making in allocating Federal funding so that local communities can better realize their vision for improved mobility. High-performing large MPOs will be granted control of a larger portion of funds under two federal transportation programs – the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) – and these MPOs will also receive funds through a set aside under the new Fixing and Accelerating Surface Transportation (FAST) program.
    • Improved tools to protect the public from dangerous vehicle and tire defects. The GROW AMERICA Act will give NHTSA the authority to issue imminent hazard orders requiring vehicle manufacturers to immediately take action to alleviate harm in cases where there is an imminent risk of injury or death. Additionally, it will improve vehicle and tire recall efforts by taking steps to ensure the public is informed of recalls at franchise dealerships, independent tire stores and state departments of motor vehicles. The Act also provides consumers more time to get tire defects fixed for free.

    In short, the GROW AMERICA Act is a six-year bill that would increase investment in transportation by 45%. All sides in Washington see a need for fund allocation to transportation and infrastructure in the United States; the debate is currently circling around whether or not the GROW AMERICA Act is the right direction to take. Deadlines for a decision on plans for transportation funds have been bandied about, but nothing is set in stone. From our perspective, it’s good to know that there is a spotlight on transportation as the shipping industry would benefit from improvements to a major component in the shipping equation.

    Feel free to leaf through the entire 361 page GROW AMERICA Act at your leisure!

    The U.S. DOT is busy spreading the word and gaining support for the bill. Recently, they went on a bus tour to promote the Act and, earlier this month, released a video detailing the tour.

    Click to
  • Executive Intelligence Briefing System for Business Leaders

    06/28/2012 — Scott Frederick

    Most PartnerShip customers are small businesses, and very much focused on the local communities and economies in which they participate. However, there may be many of you who are also very interested in staying abreast of the broader global economy, general business trends, and geopolitical happenings. After all, we live in a global economy where both domestic and international events can impact a wide variety of small business concerns - from consumer demand, to fuel prices, to security risks, to export tariffs ... and even LTL freight, small package and tradeshow shipping rates. 

    If you're looking for a good "cliff notes" format for keeping up with the economy, business, and politics - I'd highly recommend you take a close look at the Armada Executive Intelligence Briefing (AEIB) system. The sytem was designed in conjunction with a 25-year veteran of the Department of Justice, and patterned after the "U.S. President's Daily Brief."

    There's about ten different weekly, monthly, quarterly, and periodic reports that come with the AEIB system. All are very easy to read and digest quickly. Armada Executive Intelligence, the group that publishes the reports, was founded by a pair of individuals with extensive experience in supply chain management, economics, credit policies, and global affairs (and in full disclosure, one of the partners used to work closely with a member of the PartnerShip team).

    You can check out the AEIB system out at www.armada-intel.com - you just might get a little smarter for it! Plus, click here for a limited-time promotional rate of only $7/month being offered to PartnerShip customers and partners. That's a 72% discount off their normal price (and the equivalent of just two cups of coffee)!

    Armada Intelligence Offer

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  • Low Inventories Require Reliable Freight Shipping

    04/16/2012 — Scott Frederick

    The U.S. Department of Commerce recently released updated statistics on business inventories. While inventory levels continue to be somewhat flat, the rate of demand for reliable freight shipping services and on-demand types of shipping are growing - this according to Armada, an executive intelligence firm based in Kansas City, MO. Armada believes the low inventory trend will drive upexpected spikes in raw material and commodities demand, which ultimately may drive sales at the retail levels as well. But this short-term "whip-saw" effect may not be indicative of longer-term growth trends. They also contend that inventory replenishment continues to be at the very fundamental base of much of what is happening in the broader economy. The chart shown below helps show how business sentiment is keeping inventory balances very low, while maximizing "just-in-time" inventory strategies relative to sales -- ultimately keeping overall inventory-to-sales levels at near 20 year lows. 

    What does this mean for small business? It appears that retail growth rates will remain steady for the foreseeable future, but that some of the short-term spikes we may see in shipping could be related to inventory replenishment strategies rather than true consumer demand. Stay tuned, and check out the www.armada-intel.com website for more interesting strategic and economic insights.

    Inventory to Sales Chart

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