The Association of American Railroads (AAR) recently responded to a legislation that would streamline the permit process for all projects relating to rail and transit infrastructure.
“America’s freight rail industry strongly supports the long-overdue common sense reforms this legislation implements for streamlining rail projects’ environmental permitting processes, something highway and transit projects experience today,” Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of AAR, said. “Railroads have long encountered duplicative and burdensome permitting delays unrelated to environmental quality that have resulted in massive cost increases.”
Sen. Roy Blunt introduced the legislation.
“In turn, this has increased the amount of capital necessary to spend and invest on projects designed to increase capacity, improve safety, hire new employees and provide efficient service to rail customers,” Hamberger said. “The freight railroads commend Sen. Blunt’s leadership in identifying the need to extend permitting reform to rail projects, and are grateful for the guidance and support shown by the bill’s original co-sponsors, Sen. Thune and Sen. Manchin.”
The AAR is a global leader among railroad policy, technology and research organizations, which focuses on the productivity and safety of rail carriers in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
“Legislation such as this will help green light the kind of project planning and infrastructure spending commitment required to get our economy back on track,” Hamberger said. “We are planning to spend and invest $29 billion in 2015 to grow and modernize America’s rail network, and permitting reform plays a critical role in our continued commitment to deliver for American business and consumers.”