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NAFTA transport ministers aim for interconnected transportation system

TUCSON, Ari. -- Federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon has released a declaration along with his counterparts i...

TUCSON, Ari. — Federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon has released a declaration along with his counterparts in the US and Mexico, vowing to work more closely to develop coordinated and interconnected national transportation systems.

We affirm that such systems will support our shared vision for increased economic and social development, trade, tourism, cooperation and a healthy environment among our countries in the 21st century, the ministers stated in their declaration. We have met for the first time in Tucson to consider the future of our shared transportation interests in an increasingly globalized world. We have determined that this meeting will be the first of periodic meetings of transport ministers to monitor travel and trade trends, to continue discussions on future transportation needs, to reassess the priorities that we have set today and to chart our progress in light of our objectives.

The ministers agreed that globalization has yielded strong economic benefits for all three nations but has also strained ports, border crossings and other infrastructure.

We have further recognized that because many of our most important infrastructure facilities are located in urban areas, greater volumes of international freight and passenger traffic, when combined with increasing local traffic, and without off-setting policies and programs will result in greater congestion, delay, degradation of environmental quality and higher shipping and travel costs, the declaration said.

The three governments vowed to: Improve the safety, security and efficiency of North American transportation systems and gateways; ensure new technologies and procedures are adopted and infrastructure is properly invested in; improve intermodal connections; expand freight capacity while minimizing transportations effect on the environment.

The transport ministers said they will begin working together immediately toward the common goal of improving and interconnecting each countrys transportation system.

We the ministers responsible for transportation in North America are taking the opportunity presented here in Tucson to begin a new process of engagement to cooperatively and collaboratively assess the transportation needs of the NAFTA countries in light of changing global trade and tourism trends and the possible consequences of those changing trends on congestion, economic development and the environment. Our challenge, and that of our successors, is long-term, their statement concluded.

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