Freight Railroad Capacity and Investment

An AAR Report

In April, the AAR released its report on Freight Railroad Capacity and Investment. This brief overview of the capital investment provided by freight railroads to meet the shipping needs of the US highlights the public return on private investment.

America’s freight railroads have reinvested $550 billion since 1980 - including more than $25 billion in both 2012 and 2013 - to create a freight rail network that is second to none. This investment is critical in meeting the increasing shipping demands of the US. Recent forecasts from the Federal Highway Administration found that total US freight shipments will rise from an estimated 19.7 billion tons in 2012 to 28.5 billion tons in 2040 - a 45 percent increase. Railroads are the best way to meet this demand, and they’re getting ready today to meet the challenge.

Policymakers can help ensure that America has adequate rail capacity in the years ahead by retaining the current balanced regulatory structure that protects shippers and consumers while giving railroads the opportunity to earn what they need to keep their networks in top condition. Policymakers should also support public-private partnerships with railroads to solve transportation problems, retain existing truck size and weight limits; and enact sound and equitable corporate tax reform that enhances economic development and promotes job growth.