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Freight-, passenger-rail stakeholders form coalition to deliver unified message
For the first time, freight- and passenger-rail stakeholders are teaming up to push rail as a key component in any federal infrastructure investment initiative. Ten rail associations, interest groups and other constituents — including two non-rail organizations — recently formed the OneRail Coalition, which aims to promote public policies that recognize rail as a critical element of the nation’s transportation system.
Coalition members include the American Public Transportation Association, Amtrak, American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association, Association of American Railroads (AAR), Building America’s Future, National Association of Railroad Passengers, Natural Resources Defense Council, Railway Supply Institute, States for Passenger Rail Coalition, and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership.
The coalition seeks to expand intercity and commuter-rail options across the country, and ensure the capacity, safety and integrity of the nation’s freight-rail network. OneRail also aims to enact policies and implement programs that expand public and private investment in freight rail, and support state efforts to obtain an ongoing, dedicated funding source for intercity passenger-rail expansion.
Objective No. 1: Focusing lobbying efforts on any economic stimulus and recovery legislation proposed by the new Administration. Later this year, the coalition also will promote rail’s role in the next surface transportation authorization, and monitor energy and climate legislation.
“Our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure should strive to provide interconnectivity and be environmentally sound,” said Amtrak President Joseph Boardman in a prepared statement. “Increasing investment in rail — both passenger and freight — is a critical step toward achieving this goal.”
Adds AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger: “Increased investment in railroad infrastructure is essential to our continued mobility, economic competitiveness, and ability to create jobs, as well as to meeting the energy and climate challenges of the 21st century."