AAR: Freight rail industry invests $23 billion so taxpayers don’t have to

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor
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In 2012, the freight rail industry will invest $23 billion to build, maintain and upgrade the nation's rail network, according to two new ads released by The Association of American Railroads.

The AAR says that unlike other modes of transportation, freight railroads invest their own money to support the country’s nationwide rail network so taxpayers don’t have to. The new ads show just how much $23 billion is worth, the equivalent of four Nationals stadiums, five Wilson Bridges and eight Washington Convention Centers. Or the equivalent of launching four Mars rovers, 10 GPS satellites and 20 space shuttles in one year.

“We invest in the rail network so taxpayers don’t have to,” said Edward Hamberger, president and CEO of AAR. “These investments in turn help keep American businesses competitive in the global marketplace, while supporting not only railroad jobs, but also supporting jobs throughout the economy. And by investing more than $500 billion since 1980, we have created the best freight rail network in the world.”

The AAR says that with hundreds of major infrastructure projects underway each year, the nation’s privately-owned freight rail network is maintained through investments that have reached record levels in the past three years. These investments include expenditures, such as intermodal terminals that facilitate truck-to-train freight transport; new track, bridges and tunnels; modernized safety equipment; new locomotives and rail cars and other investments that ensure the U.S. freight rail network remains the best in the world. In recent years, railroads have been spending roughly 17 percent of their annual revenue on capital expenditures, compared with the average U.S. manufacturer that spends roughly three percent of revenue on capital expenditures.

Categories: Ballast, Ties, Rail, Class 1, OFF Track Maintenance, ON Track Maintenance, Shortline/Regional, Yards & Terminals