Rail Powers Idaho’s Economy
Since Idaho’s statehood in 1890, rail transportation has been vital to the Gem State’s growth. Two of Idaho’s most important industries, agribusiness and the extraction of raw materials, continue to rely on rail service to connect to markets across the continent.
Idaho's 12 freight railroads operate over 1,729 miles of track and employ 1,349 in the Gem State.* It would have taken approximately 6.4 million additional truckloads to move the 115.9 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Idaho in 2017. Food products and nonmetallic minerals make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in Idaho. Nonmetallic minerals, farm products and chemicals are the largest rail imports to the state.
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Washington, D.C. — If you’re an infrastructure and transportation policy wonk, you may have heard of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980—the foundational piece of…
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in rail rates, 1981-2014.
That means the average rail customer today can ship nearly twice as much freight for about the same price it paid more than 30 years ago.
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