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A majority of U.S. adults agree that the freight-rail industry is critically important to the nation's economy, according to a new poll conducted on behalf of the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Conducted by Morning Consult, the poll also found that 75 percent of respondents view the freight-rail industry as safe, AAR officials said in a press release.
The poll results demonstrate bipartisan support for the freight-rail industry, they said.
Among its findings, the poll found that 85 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats agreed that the private freight-rail industry is important to the economy; 76 percent of respondents said it is safe to move goods by freight trains; 70 percent had favorable opinions of freight railroads; 78 percent agreed that freight railroads play a role in reducing the transportation's impact on climate change; and 58 percent favor moving freight over land by rail as opposed to truck to meet projected growth in freight shipments over the next 20 years.
"While freight railroads have worked quietly behind the scenes during the pandemic, the American people have clearly recognized the hard work and dedication of railroaders has and will continue to help power our economy," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Jefferies.
As Congress considers surface transportation legislation, lawmakers should keep the public's support of freight rail in mind and "abandon any efforts that would weaken the industry's ability to serve their customers and the nation," Jefferies added.
"Americans don't see partisanship when they see a railroad; they see a critical, safe transportation mode helping us all move forward," he said.