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A New Production Season Reinforces  Appreciation for Rail

A New Production Season Reinforces Appreciation for Rail

A brand new production season is in full swing. It’s humming with rejuvenation, giving way to freshly laid track and new rail lines across the country. This is always an exciting time for not just our industry, but our nation.

Railroads have played a consistent role as the backbone of this nation’s economy. There is arguably no other technological innovation or form of transportation that has had such a great impact like railroads have. The economic, environmental and cultural influence made by freight rail in the United States is transformative to not just the US, but the world.

One point one million Jobs have been created as a result of the freight rail system in the United States, employing people with a wide range of backgrounds from high school graduates to those with graduate degrees. Freight rail doesn’t just create jobs, it creates lifelong careers with large opportunities for professional growth in many fields.

In 2014, when the once sleepy town of 4,200 people in Santa Teresa, New Mexico had a $400 million dollar rail terminal built there, rail brought its first delivery: jobs - 3,000 of them. And since the completion of the terminal, it has generated $500 million to the state's economy.

Freight rail Ignites the American Economy and without it we would not be able to participate in the Global Economy at anywhere near the capacity in which we do. One-third of US exports are done using railroads. In 2017, major freight railroads alone generated $219 billion to the US economy and $26 billion in tax revenues.

Southern Florida’s PortMiami is an essential link between the global economy, businesses and consumers. The installation of just three 3,000-feet rail tracks onto the docks allowed the port to not only handle 180,000 more containers per year, but shipments are now able to reach 70% of the US in just 4 days thanks to freight rail.

Railroads Save America Money. Moving freight by rail is 43% cheaper than it was in the 1980s. Railroads are mostly privately owned saving taxpayers billions. If moving freight by rail were eliminated and shifted to just trucks, it’s estimated that rail shippers would have to pay an additional $100 billion per year. Not to mention the congestion rail frees up on the highways.

“Not only can rail rev a city’s economic engine with jobs, it can also keep its people and products moving efficiently. These efficiencies save time and money wherever the rail runs, whether through our finest cities or into our most productive ports,” said the AAR’s Nick Lord speaking of the well-choreographed dance that is Chicago's shared commuter and freight rail network.

The Environmental Impact is huge. Rail is the most fuel efficient way to move freight, three to four times more so than trucks. One gallon of fuel will move one ton of rail freight over 470 miles. And moving freight by train instead of truck reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 75%. Though railroads move 40% of the total US freight, they account for only 2.1% of greenhouse gas emissions.

With another production season here, a new season of railroad revitalization, celebrate the profound effect the US railroad network has on our domestic economy and global marketplace. Every single American, taxpayer, consumer or business owner benefits from the incredible economic domino effect that is our American freight rail network, making production season a pivotal time for our country.

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