Rail 'most improved' sector of US infrastructure, reports American Society of Civil Engineers in its 2013 infrastructure report card, crediting private investments that have led to greater rail efficiency, connectivity

WASHINGTON , March 19, 2013 (press release) – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) lauded the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) report released today citing private freight rail infrastructure investments as a key factor for highlighting rail as the “most improved” sector of our nation’s critical infrastructure systems. ASCE today issued its “2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure” assessing 16 of the nation’s major infrastructure categories, including transportation in which “rail” includes both passenger and freight railroads.

“It is truly gratifying that the world’s premier organization of engineering experts recognizes the value and benefits that have resulted from freight railroads making private investments in our country’s rail network infrastructure,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “It’s also reassuring that ASCE recognizes that freight railroads need a regulatory and financial environment that will continue to make those private investments possible.”

The ASCE report gave “rail” an overall C+, up from a C-, attributing private investments which have resulted in greater rail efficiency and connectivity as a key reason for the improved grade. Along with the grade, ASCE included several policy recommendations, such as the need to “support a regulatory and financial environment that encourages continued private investment in the nation’s freight railroad system.”

Hamberger pointed out that even during the recent economic downturn, freight railroads have invested roughly $22 billion each year to build, maintain and upgrade the country’s nationwide rail network that serves both passenger and freight rail customers. In 2013 alone, freight railroads estimate they will spend a record $24.5 billion – investments made so that taxpayers don’t have to, he added.

“Freight railroads are the backbone of our nation’s logistics supply chain,” Hamberger said. “But freight rail’s success also relies on the health and well-being of the other modes of transportation to which we connect to serve our customers. If railroads are to move more people and more goods, and help American businesses compete in a global marketplace, we must support transportation policies that make private investments possible and that can translate into action.”

Additionally, ASCE cited Amtrak’s record-high year for ridership contributed to the boost in grade for rail. According to ASCE, “railroads are experiencing a competitive resurgence as both an energy efficient freight transportation option, and a viable city-to-city passenger service.”

To learn more about how freight railroads have been investing in America’s nationwide rail network so taxpayer’s don’t have to, visit www.freightrailworks.org.

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