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AAR: U.S. roads budget a record $12 billion for capex in 2011


This year, U.S. freight railroads plan to spend a record $12 billion on capital expenditures, besting the record $10.7 billion they allocated for capex in 2010, according to a recent Association of American Railroads (AAR) report.

Titled “Great Expectations 2011, Railroads and Continued U.S. Economic Recovery,” the report states that the record-setting investments proposed for 2011 are “potentially threatened by regulatory and legislative policies being considered in Washington, D.C.”

"Even during the worst recession in a generation, freight railroads have been plowing record amounts of private capital back into the rail network each and every year, achieving one of the highest capital investment rates of any U.S. industry," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a prepared statement. "A regulatory framework that provides certainty will foster continued economic recovery and job creation."

Earlier this year, the Class Is announced their 2011 capex budgets, including BNSF Railway Co., $3.5 billion (vs. $2.6 billion in 2010); Union Pacific Railroad, $3.2 billion (up 23 percent); CSX Corp., $2 billion (up 11 percent); Norfolk Southern Corp., $1.74 billion (baseline spending, up 19 percent); CN, $1.7 billion (similar to 2010); Canadian Pacific, between $950 million and $1 billion (up 25 percent); and Kansas City Southern, 17.5 percent of total annual revenue (or more than $300 million).

U.S roads also boosted hiring at 2010’s end, helping increase employment 5.2 percent compared with 2009 levels, the report states. And railroads are positioned to hire more workers in the coming years, according to the AAR.

"The president has issued a clear call to American businesses, urging them to get off the sidelines and get back in the game by investing capital and hiring," said Hamberger. “Freight railroads have been in the game for the past 30 years, investing more than $480 billion to build and maintain America's freight-rail network with private capital, and supporting jobs all across the country.”

To access the report, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/10/2011