Salt Lake City — In an op-ed for the Salt Lake Tribune, Ryan Starks, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, writes about rail’s economic development impact across Utah:

“We’re seeing rail play a role in expansion across Utah, from supporting unprecedented growth along the Wasatch Front and beyond. In Juab County, rail will be a critical factor in the development of an industrial-sized agricultural processing facility rooted in making small family farming operations more profitable. In Iron County, BZI Steel has started receiving shipments directly to its facility on rail; this business has become a preeminent employer in the community.”

He additionally notes the decarbonization efforts in rail that solidify its importance as a sustainable transportation partner for Utah.

“Managing growth in an environmentally responsible manner is important to Utah, and rail is the most sustainable way to move freight over land. Railroads today move nearly twice as much as they did in 1980 using less fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 75% over trucks. And investments into new battery-electric and hydrogen locomotives, advanced routing software and other innovations can potentially cut rail emissions even further.

Read the Full Op-ed.