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August 2010

Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Industry Trends from Progressive Railroading August 2010


AASHTO Study Stresses Need for More Investment in U.S. Freight Infrastructure

In 10 years, an additional 1.8 million trucks will be traveling on U.S. highways. And in 20 years, for every two trucks on the road today, another one will be added. As a result, the freight transportation system is facing a crisis, according to a report released last month by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Highways, railroads ports, waterways and airports require investments “well beyond current levels to maintain — much less improve — their performance,” according to the “Unlocking Freight” report, which analyzes the nation’s freight system.

Three-Point Plan

The report identifies key projects in 30 states that would improve freight delivery and dependability, and offers a three-point plan to address ways to relieve freight congestion, generate jobs and improve productivity.

“The simple fact is: no transportation, no economy. They are inseparable. We must invest to maintain and strengthen the American ‘transconomy,’” said AASHTO President and Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Larry Brown in a prepared statement. “Congress must invest in all transportation modes, from waterways to roads and rails to get us where we need to be as a competitive nation. Millions of jobs and our nation’s long-term economic health depend on it.”

Despite more long-distance freight being moved by intermodal rail, trucks still will carry 74 percent of the load, the report finds.

Unlocking Freight is the second in a series of reports generated by AASHTO to highlight the need to increase capacity in the nation’s transportation system.


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