Minneapolis, MN — Anoka County Commissioner Scott Schulte, a member of the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board and president of the Association of Minnesota Counties, writes about freight rail infrastructure in a recent Star Tribune op-ed. He recently joined GoRail for Railroad Day on Capitol Hill 2019.
“I was pleased to talk infrastructure with Minnesota’s congressional offices on Capitol Hill earlier this month and especially pleased to highlight a leader in the arena — freight railroads. Where many of our roadways, bridges and waterways are falling behind, America’s freight rail infrastructure is the best in the world in terms of productivity, efficiency, cost and safety.”
Commissioner Schulte emphasized the public benefits of freight rail’s private spending to policymakers on Rail Day, writing that he urged them to “preserve the balanced regulations that allow freight railroads to thrive.” In the op-ed, he also calls for policymakers to strive for modal equity between rail and large trucks.
“For example, freight rail’s ‘user-pays’ network should be a model for funding our highway infrastructure. An increasingly popular idea that has gained traction among several states is a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee based on the amount driven. A VMT that takes vehicle weight into account could ensure that the biggest trucks on our roads, which currently cover only about 80% of their damage, pay for their full costs. The U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded that a VMT would spur “more equitable and efficient use of roadways.”