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Study: Freight Rail Investment Creates Green Jobs, Sustainable Economic Growth

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) lauded a report that found for every $1 billion of capital investment in freight rail, approximately 7800 green jobs are created across the U.S. economy. According to “Full Speed Ahead: Creating Green Jobs Through Freight Rail Expansion,” a joint report by the BlueGreen Alliance and the Economic Policy Institute, continued investment in freight rail can create thousands of green jobs, while reducing carbon emissions and our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. The full report is available here

“This report affirms the tremendous public benefits that are generated both by freight rail’s inherent fuel efficiency and the industry’s commitment to reinvesting in the nation’s rail network,” said AAR president and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. 

The report noted that freight rail reinvests four times more than most other industries back into building, maintaining and expanding America’s rail network infrastructure, which serves both passenger and freight railroads. These investments ensure rail is a viable alternative mode of transportation that can reduce congestion and improve productivity, thereby significantly reducing energy use and pollution.

“Public policy should account for these public returns and supply incentives that will help the industry maintain economic viability while delivering even greater economic and environmental benefits moving forward,” the report said.

Authors of the report cited standards used by federal and noted labor market analysts that define green jobs. “Freight rail jobs, key to reducing carbon and saving energy in the transportation sector, meet this standard,” according to the report. 

The report was released at the 2010 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference in Washington, D.C., at an event led by BlueGreen Alliance executive director David Foster. Also on hand were representatives of the Sierra Club and Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.