WASHINGTON — Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., last month announced a series of principles for financing our nation’s transportation infrastructure.
One part of Congressman Blumenauer’s initiative suggests an innovative funding strategy designed to support green infrastructure expansion that reduces our carbon footprint. The tremendous advantages of freight rail are recognized by this proposal as part of the solution to meeting both our transportation and environmental challenges.
Moving more freight by rail makes good environmental sense. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that every ton of freight that moves by rail instead of truck reduces greenhouse gases by more than two-thirds. In fact, EPA data indicates that freight railroads account for less than 3 percent of greenhouse gases from all modes of transportation.
Railroads play a major role in moving people and freight, helping to relieve congestion on our crowded highways. A freight train can carry the load of 280 trucks; that helps reduce the time we waste sitting in traffic everyday.
Fuel efficiency is key to reducing our carbon footprint. Railroads can move a ton of freight an average of 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel. That’s a fuel savings that can make all Americans can breathe a little easier.