Carlton Schwab, President and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Council, recently highlighted the state’s strong rail infrastructure — and the private investment that make it possible — in an op-ed for the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently awarded Texas’s rail infrastructure a B, while roads and highways earned a dismal D.
“The reason that rail has excelled in comparison to other infrastructure is that while highways, roads and bridges have been starved for cash due to funding shortfalls at all levels of government, private sector freight railroads have doubled down on investment in the rail network,” Schwab wrote.
More than $660 billion of what railroads earn has been put right back into the nationwide freight rail network since 1980. So the benefits Texans enjoy from it, including nearly 17,000 jobs, are felt on a social and economic level.
Past rail investments include:
- BNSF’s corporate headquarters.
- The Alliance Global Logistics Hub in Forth Worth.
- Union Pacific’s $550 million investment in Brazos Yard in Robertson County.
These investments coupled with rail’s overall support for the economic growth of the Texas Triangle and the state itself ensure that there is no end in sight to the benefits of investing in rail infrastructure.
In his op-ed, Schwab urges Congress to look at freight rail as a model for infrastructure policy in general.
“While there are funding shortfalls for maintenance and repair of crumbling roads and bridges, the world’s finest freight rail system is using private sector investment to support businesses all across our economy. We need to work our way out of the infrastructure funding stalemate that threatens to undercut economic growth. Private sector freight rail investments provide an example policymakers should heed.”