When it comes to the quality of America’s infrastructure, railroads have moved to the top of the class. In a newly released infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s rail network received the highest grade awarded this year, a B.
At a time when America’s bridges, airports and highways have struggled to keep up with daily wear and tear, freight rail’s high marks provide a valuable lesson to policymakers: sustained investments matter.
Congress enacted a balanced regulatory framework in 1980, and since then America’s freight railroads have been instrumental in delivering for our customers, while generating sufficient capital for record reinvestment.
Since 1980, the industry has spent more than $630 billion to build a safe and cost-effective network and is on track to spend more than $22 billion this year. The results speak for themselves: average rail rates paid by shippers have fallen 45 percent since 1980, and building upon decades of safety improvements, rail accident rates have reached an all-time low.
When it comes to the future of rail, we’ll be striving to raise our high grade even higher.
Washington can help. Through a pro-growth agenda, including tax reform that makes business more competitive and a regulatory environment that enables continued private investment and spurs innovation, America’s railroads will have the resources to make the world’s best freight rail network even better.