The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today celebrates Infrastructure Week (May 16-23), joining a large contingent of American businesses, labor and policymakers in stressing the importance of infrastructure while touting the standing of a U.S. freight railroad system that invested more than $30 billion in 2015 in its network.
"While perhaps out of sight and out of mind to many Americans, U.S. freight railroads play an integral role in supporting the health of the nation's infrastructure," said Edward R. Hamberger, President and CEO at the AAR. "Unlike other modes of transportation, railroads own and operate their own infrastructure so taxpayers do not have to. And by doing so, railroads help ease congestion and wear and tear on those systems that taxpayers do help fund. The benefits of privately owned railroads are impressive and worth sharing as we reflect on the need to improve our roads and bridges." AAR is a one of more than 100 affiliate organizations taking part in advocacy this week. "Infrastructure Week is the largest, most diverse, non-partisan coalition of organizations dedicated to strengthening America by rebuilding our infrastructure," the organizers say. Hamberger marked the occasion by reiterating the value of U.S. freight railroads today at the4th Annual Global Supply Chain Summit, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Freight rail pays its own way, takes trucks off roads and in turn helps reduce congestion, lost time and greenhouse gases," added Hamberger. "On a daily basis, Americans experience the stark contrast in publicly funded highways versus privately owned railways. One is falling further behind while the other embodies efficiency and self-sufficiency. As we mark Infrastructure Week and coalesce to help advance solutions, we should be studying the success of the freight rail system to help reimagine what is possible."