Thirty-one rail advocates across 25 states applaud Biden Administration for rail focus while urging officials to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of freight rail.
Washington, D.C. — As infrastructure legislation progresses through Congress, dozens of local leaders issued a letter this week to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Surface Transportation Board Chairman Martin Oberman, and Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Amit Bose underscoring why rail policy should enshrine healthy freight railroads that can meet the moment.
The signers, including more than a dozen state legislators and local elected officials in transportation leadership positions, argue that thriving freight railroads help the Administration on two of its top goals, economic recovery and combatting climate change.
“To meet economic needs disrupted during the pandemic, maximize returns on expected infrastructure legislation, and secure long-term economic growth while meeting the moment on climate change, we need freight railroads to do even more,” they write. Freight railroads reduce GHG emissions by 75% over trucks and were central to stabilizing supply chains throughout the pandemic.
To sustain robust and privately funded freight railroads, officials must maintain the balanced approach to economic regulation that has served shippers and railroads well since it was cemented by the bipartisan Staggers Rail Act of 1980.
The signers note that just last October, for the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Act, more than 1,000 local leaders like them urged the STB to continue allowing railroads to earn enough revenue to make critical infrastructure investments. Eight former U.S. Secretaries of Transportation agreed, also signing the Staggers letter organized by GoRail.
Today’s letter to top Administration officials is released against a backdrop of infrastructure action, with the passage of the Senate’s infrastructure bill on Tuesday. As policymakers continue to consider the future of American infrastructure, local leaders across the country urge them to harness the full economic and environmental potential of freight rail.