A Dec. 2 news story, “Despite the ads, railroads benefit from federal funds,” distorted how the federal government finances critical transportation infrastructure projects, including those involving railroads.
State and local governments — not railroads — are the recipients of the federal grant funding for projects that must meet federal criteria and are carefully evaluated by regulators.
These projects are true public-private partnerships: private freight railroads and governmental entities each contribute resources to jointly solve critical transportation problems. Each party provides funds and each party benefits.
State and local governments derive great advantages from partnering on freight rail-related projects. These improvements ease roadway congestion, lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide greater commuter rail capacity. As well, there are pedestrian and driver safety improvements and enhanced community livability.
The article correctly noted that, unlike most other modes of transportation, freight railroads own, maintain and continuously upgrade America’s nationwide freight rail network. Since 2009, freight railroads have spent $115 billion of their own funds to build, maintain and upgrade the nationwide freight rail network.
The freight rail industry is proud of the investments we make in our nation’s rail system and everything we do to deliver for our nation’s economy.
— Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO, Association of American Railroads, Washington