An area where greater investment is needed and which could play an important role in America’s economic future is the freight railway system. At present the role of the freight railway system is:
‘The freight-rail system carries 16 percent of the nation’s freight by tonnage, accounting for 28 percent of total ton-miles, 40 percent of intercity ton-miles, and six percent of freight value. If all freight-rail were shifted to trucks tomorrow, it would add 92 billion truck vehicle -miles-of-travel-$64 billion for highway improvements over the next 20 years. This $64 billion is a conservative figure that does not include the costs of improvements to bridges, interchanges, local roads, new roads or system enhancements.’
(Horsley J. Nicol B.J ‘Rail Investment: Principles and Objectives’)
This report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials suggests that unless there is greater investment specifically by the public sector.
‘Without investment from outside the railroad industry, the rail system will accommodate some of the forecast freight growth, but relieve little of the forecast congestion on the highway system. Public participation in rail investment could produce a rail industry that provides the cost-effective transport needed to serve national and global markets, relieve pressure on overburdened highways, and support local social, economic, and environmental goals.’ (Horsley J. Nicol B.J ‘Rail Investment: Principles and Objectives’)
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