According to an estimate released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the nation's freight railroads project they will spend approximately $26 billion to build, maintain and upgrade their nationwide rail network this year.
“This year’s projected record investments continue a decades-long trend of private railroad dollars that sustain America’s freight rail network, so taxpayer’s don’t have to,” said AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger. “The result is a rail network that is the envy of the world, serving both freight and passenger railroads and this massive private financial commitment is a demonstration of the industry’s resolve to never stop improving.”
Hamberger noted that freight railroads have invested approximately $550 billion of their own money into the rail network since 1980, including $115 billion in the past five years alone. From upgrades to bridges and tunnels to new tracks and facilities, freight rail infrastructure is constantly maintained and upgraded to meet the demands of an evolving economy. Thanks to a strong rail network infrastructure, railroads in recent years have been able to successfully meet increased demand for intermodal shipping, a booming domestic energy market and more. The industry’s investments also include implementing the latest safety technology across the rail network.
“The rail industry is committed to safety and we’re investing record amounts to implement safety enhancing technology across the network,” Hamberger said. “Railroads are working to deliver a safe, modern and efficient rail network that can reliably serve our customers and communities. And at the same time, this spending creates jobs for more American workers.”
The AAR says that freight railroads estimate they will hire more than 12,000 employees in 2014, up from a projected 11,000 new hires in 2013.