Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

This is old news, but railroads have big infrastructure requirements

There was a major study released, and I was involved in other projects at the time. That happens a lot these days. This version of the report is in the Herald Dispatch in Huntington, West Virginia.

First things first, they are not “freight railroads.” The operating rail lines of America are exactly that. They were built by way of public-private partnerships in the form of land grants and outright subsidies. There is a substantial public interest in the operation and service provided by rail lines.

I note with interest that so-called “freight railroads” are anxious to include Amtrak and commuter rail when it’s time to get back to another public-private partnership. My  point is for everybody not to be all blown away when rail corporations (with multi-billion dollar profits, collectively) show up cap in hand for a bit of corporate welfare.

The study says that the nation’s major freight railroads anticipate they can foot most of the bill for these infrastructure improvements themselves, or about $96 billion.

However, it states that a gap would remain of about $1.4 billion per year, an amount it says could be funded through railroad infrastructure tax incentives, public-private partnerships and other sources.

“This legislation would provide a 25 percent tax credit to any company — not just railroads — that invests in projects to increase the rail network’s capacity,” Hamberger said.

It’s a great idea, so long as improvements for rail passenger service are required.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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September 2007


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