America’s freight rail system is second to none in the world and continues to play a critical role in the country’s economic growth, Ed Greenberg, spokesman for the Association of American Railroads (AAR), recently told TI News Daily.
“By providing affordable transportation of goods, freight railroads continue to play a vital role in the U.S. economy,” Greenberg said. “The nation's freight railroads are efficiently moving U.S. products to market anywhere in the country and, through ports, to destinations around the globe."
Likewise, Greenberg said, freight railroads provide a vital link for American farmers, manufacturers and resource producers to the domestic and global marketplace.
In fact, according to the AAR’s report on rail traffic within the country for the week ending Sept. 19, the sum of U.S. weekly traffic surpassed 566,000 carloads and intermodal units. This is a 2.5 percent decrease compared to the same week in 2014, according to the AAR.
The reason for the slight decrease, Greenberg told TI News Daily, is attributable to the ups and downs of specific merchandise.
“Certain commodities are up and others are down because of trends in the industries the railroads serve,” he said. “At the end of the day, freight railroads work hard to be flexible and responsive to the shipping needs of their customers, which are meeting consumer and business demands."
Each year, the freight rail industry spends billions of dollars to maintain and further modernize the 140,000-mile rail network that moves the American economy on a daily basis, Greenberg said.
"Since 1980, freight railroads have spent more than $575 billion on rail infrastructure and equipment,” Greenberg said.