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Waterways: solution to clogged highways?

Domestic cargo should be moved out of trucks and onto ships, detouring around congested highways and through the nation's more than 25,000 miles of navigable inland and coastal waterways, said Emil Frankel, the United States Department of Transportation's assistant secretary of transportation planning.

Speaking at the US Maritime Administration's second annual Short Sea Shipping Conference in Sarasota FL, Frankel said, "It's a better way to increase freight movement without increasing congestion on the surface transportation system."

Frankel praised the Bush administration's proposed six-year transportation bill because it would place greater emphasis on improving intermodal facilities, especially at seaports. He said many seaports lack the infrastructureÑsuch as good access roadsÑto transfer cargo efficiently between boats and trucks, and that could hamper efforts to move cargo from highways to waterways.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta had been scheduled to address the conference but did not attend for health reasons. Frankel was standing in for Mineta.

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