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Freight Rail Private Investments Support American Jobs

June 23, 2011
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) told the Surface Transportation Board (STB) that the current rail economic regulatory framework allows freight railroads to sustain billions of dollars in private capital investments in the nation’s rail network each year and support more than 1.2 million jobs around the country.  

Testifying at a hearing on freight rail competition regulations, AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger told the STB that today’s rail regulations have engendered a competitive freight marketplace that encourages private investment in railroads, rather than relying on the federal government to fund the nation’s rail infrastructure. 

“Freight railroads today spend more than $20 billion in private funds each year to keep our nation’s rail network the envy of the world and American businesses competitive in the global marketplace,” said Hamberger. “These are private investments made by railroads so that taxpayers don’t have to.”

Hamberger told the STB that they should maintain and preserve today’s balanced regulatory framework because it has benefitted rail customers and the public alike. “Rail rates are down by 51 percent since 1981, which means the average shipper can move twice as much freight for the same price as 30 years ago,” he said.

At the STB hearing, Hamberger also explained that changing the current regulations on rail competition and forcing the railroads to provide other carriers with access to their networks and property would make the rail network less efficient and affect service to customers. “Railroads know best how to operate their networks efficiently to best serve their customers,” said Hamberger.

“Proposed changes to how this country’s interconnected rail network operates threaten to disrupt a system that serves customers in the most efficient and cost effective way possible,” Hamberger said. “Today’s balanced regulations enable freight railroads to serve all their customers while continuing to invest in the country’s 140,000 mile rail network.

“As our fragile economy looks to rebound, we should be doing all we can to preserve a regulatory framework that helps support American businesses and grow jobs.”

For more information, visit www.aar.org.