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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sept. 10, 2014 – Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation today that the nation’s freight rail industry is a key enabler of America’s economic revival, thanks to today’s balanced regulatory framework.
“America’s freight rail system, which is second to none in the world and continues to play a critical role in our country’s economic resurgence, is today moving more traffic than at any time during the last seven years. Business production and consumer demand are increasing, and rail is playing a bigger part in getting American goods to market, both domestically and internationally,” Hamberger said. “The record private investments that the rail industry makes every year in the nation’s rail network have well positioned today’s continued economic recovery. The industry invests the revenue it earns, not government funding, to grow and modernize the rail network, meeting the needs of customers, large and small.”
Hamberger noted that throughout the recession, the rail industry continued to invest record amounts of private capital in the country’s rail network in an effort to maintain the infrastructure and capacity on which the country has come to rely. Billions of dollars have been spent each year to expand network capacity, purchase new equipment and hire thousands of American workers, he said.
“Today’s balanced regulatory system protects shippers and enables the rail industry to continue refining itself to work more efficiently for its customers,” Hamberger added. “If the economic foundation of the industry is undercut, the rail industry’s two key pillars of safety and capacity will be eroded.”
Hamberger acknowledged increases in demand for rail service, compounded by extreme weather, have brought about service challenges in some regions of the country, but noted railroads are working tirelessly to address them through investments in equipment and people. “Railroads are working to restore service to the quality that our rail customers have come to expect and that we expect of ourselves. They are focused on remedying these issues as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Hamberger noted that average weekly U.S. rail volume was higher in August 2014 than in any month since October 2007, and grain shipments were up 16 percent over the previous year.
To learn more about the rail industry’s investment in its network and the traffic that it moves, please visit www.aar.org.
For more information contact: AAR Media Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-639-2345.
About AAR: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world's leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Learn more at www.aar.org. Follow us on Twitter: AAR_FreightRail or Facebook: www.facebook.com/freightrail.