Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rails seek tax incentives to expand capacity

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Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman tolda House subcommittee Thursday that tax incentives to expand freight rail capacity would generate $1 billion in economic benefits and 20,000 green jobs.

“America needs more transportation capacity and needs it now,” Moorman said in testimony presented on behalf of the Association of American Railroads.

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Asserting that today’s transportation network is not designed to handle the doubled freight demand projected by 2035, Moorman (pictured at left) said railroads are "the most affordable and environmentally responsible way to meet this demand."

He noted that railroads spent arecord $10.2 billion in capital improvements last year alone, adding: “Since 1980, railroads have spent more than 40% of their revenues–some$440 billion–to maintain, improve, and expand their networks. “Yet as much as railroads are investing, it isn’t enough to meet projected demand," Moorman said.

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Moorman said recent study found a $52 billion gap between the $148 billion needed for expanding freight railcapacity and the $96 billion railroads can expect to generate. Tax incentives “provide a sensible way to help bridge this gap,” he said.

“Numerous states are partnering with us,” Moorman said. “Thanks to the leadership of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, and others, we are already investing to expand our system to meet the looming demands of moving our nation’s commerce. Congress should bolster these efforts by enacting tax credit legislation to encourage additional freight rail investment,” he said.