The Association of American Railroads (AAR) applauded the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Preliminary National Rail Plan and its recognition that freight rail's investment in infrastructure maintenance and capacity enhancements meets national safety, reliability and capacity needs.
"This preliminary plan is an excellent first step in developing a longer-range national rail plan that ensures the US freight rail system continues to be the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world," said Edward R. Hamberger, AAR president and CEO.
In its plan, FRA highlighted the many achievements of freight rail since being partially deregulated in 1980, noted the AAR. In addition to significant safety and energy efficiency improvements, FRA cited freight rail's inherent efficiency as the reason the industry has been able to build and maintain its own infrastructure, add capacity, host passenger operations, and pay hundreds of millions of dollars in local property taxes to communities all around the country.
"Railroads are eager to meet the freight and passenger transportation challenges of the 21st Century, and having a national rail plan will allow us to set policies that ensure success," said Hamberger. "We look forward to working with FRA as they meet with rail stakeholders around the country to address the many important issues outlined in the plan's framework, including cost equity, safety technologies and energy efficiency."
The full preliminary National Rail Plan is available from FRA.