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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

3/27/2012



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Nation needs to upgrade transportation infrastructure now, treasury department report shows


Now is the time the nation needs to invest in transportation infrastructure to create more middle-class jobs, increase the country’s long-term competitiveness and support a more secure energy future, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Titled, “A New Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment,” the report shows that short-term transportation investments create middle-class jobs, 80 percent of which are in the construction, manufacturing, and retail and wholesale trade sectors.

Long-term investments, including public transit and high-speed rail, can “deliver benefits to families burdened by fluctuating global oil markets, congested automobile travel and a lack of transportation options,” treasury department officials said in a prepared statement. For 90 percent of Americans, transportation costs absorb one out of every seven dollars of income, so multi-modal transportation investments are critical to ensuring they can travel without congestion, they said.
 
The report also shows that a more efficient transportation infrastructure system reduces the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Traffic congestion on highways wastes 1.9 billion gallons of gas annually and costs motorists more than $100 billion in wasted fuel costs and lost time, according to the report.

“This report highlights the need for critical investments in transportation to help ease the burden on middle-class families trying to make ends meet, create jobs where workers would especially benefit, and also strengthen our competitiveness and support business infrastructure over the long term,” said Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Jan Eberly.

Association of American Railroads (AAR) officials agree that transportation infrastructure is the crucial backbone of the nation’s economy. Freight-rail infrastructure plays a critical role in connecting U.S. businesses to their customers, they said in a prepared statement.
 
“The freight-rail industry is dedicated to improving our infrastructure so that we can meet the changing demands of the economy. We are upgrading our privately held network so that tens of thousands of American companies ... can meet their customers’ needs,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger. “Our private investments create economic opportunities throughout the communities in which we operate.”


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