Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last week 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.”