AAR estimates capital expenditures will again top $13 billion in 2013

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor
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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) says the nation's major freight railroads plan to invest an estimated $24.5 billion in 2013 to build, maintain and upgrade America's rail network

to ensure freight railroads can continue to deliver for the nation’s economy.

This investment includes $13 billion in projected capital expenditures, which go toward upgrading or enhancing rail network capacity in the year ahead.

“While most other transportation modes rely on government funds, America’s freight railroads operate on infrastructure they own, maintain and upgrade to serve their customers and power our economy,” said AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger. “This year, freight railroads plan to continue to focus on investments that maintain and enhance our physical infrastructure and safety systems, including cutting-edge technology that ensures we are ready to deliver for the future.”

With hundreds of transportation infrastructure projects underway nationwide, railroads are investing in projects, 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 components that ensure the U.S. freight rail network remains the most reliable and efficient 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.

The freight railroads also estimate they will hire more than 11,000 employees this year, primarily in response to retirements and attrition for positions that can be found across the U.S. With approximately 22 percent of the industry’s workforce eligible to retire in the next five years, railroads are dedicated to recruiting highly-skilled people interested in making railroading a career. In the first five months of the year, railroads are participating in more than 70 career fairs across the country.

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