Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Environmental advocates cite freight rail benefits

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The BlueGreen Alliance and the Economic Policy Institute have released a new study, “Full Speed Ahead: Creating Green Jobs Through Freight Rail Expansion,” which states that continued investment in freight rail “can create thousands of green jobs, while reducing carbon emissions and our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”

dallas_skyline_stacks_edited-1-2.jpgThe report was released today at the 2010 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference in Washington, D.C., at an event led by BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster. Also on hand were representatives of the Sierra Club and Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association. The report, which can be downloaded by clicking HERE, noted that “freight rail reinvests four times more than most other industries back into building, maintaining, and expanding America’s rail network infrastructure, which serves both passenger and freight railroads. These investments ensure rail is a viable alternative mode of transportation that can reduce congestion and improve productivity, thereby significantly reducing energy use and pollution. Public policy should account for these public returns and supply incentives that will help the industry maintain economic viability while delivering even greater economic and environmental benefits moving forward.”

The report also says that for every $1 billion of capital investment in freight rail, approximately 7,800 “green” jobs are created across the U.S. economy. Authors of the report cited standards used by federal and labor market analysts that define green jobs. “Freight rail jobs, key to reducing carbon and saving energy in the transportation sector, meet this standard,” according to the report.

“This report affirms the tremendous public benefits that are generated both by freight rail’s inherent fuel efficiency and the industry’s commitment to reinvesting in the nation’s rail network,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.