Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker issued a proclamation naming Oct. 17 to 23 Wisconsin Freight Rail Week in the state.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin (TDA) are teaming up to promote, educate and celebrate the freight rail system that contributes to the state’s economy, environment and quality of life.
“Freight rail existed even before Wisconsin was admitted as a state and continues to play an important role in our economy. Moving raw materials and finished goods by rail is energy efficient and cost effective, which helps our businesses compete in the global marketplace,” noted WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb.
There are 10 railroads, including four Class 1s, which operate more than 3,300 miles of track in the state. Key products moved via Wisconsin’s railways include coal, farm and agricultural products, paper, pulp, lumber and wood products, sand, stone and other goods and raw materials. Each year, nearly 200 million tons of cargo are moved by rail across Wisconsin.
“Our railways are not necessarily in the forefront of discussion when the topic of Wisconsin’s economy comes up, but our freight rail system is crucial to businesses across the state,” commented TDA Executive Director Craig Thompson. “There are many important industries in Wisconsin—agriculture, timber, paper, energy and others—that rely on these rail lines every day in order to stay competitive.”
The tenth annual Wisconsin Freight Rail Day is Oct. 19 in Green Bay and is co-sponsored by Wisconsin’s freight railroads.