Improve Freight Rail Routesby Bob Byrd
The Columbian, May 12, 2006
Freight trains traveling through the Vancouver-Portland corridor are projected to increase from 105 per day to 174 per day by 2025.
Without improved rail capacity, the alternative is that we could face 4,000 additional truck trips per day through our region, which our highway system cannot bear. We need to remain committed to highway infrastructure development and consider making investments in other modes of transportation for hauling additional freight volumes. Rail clearly provides the best alternative. The Port of Vancouver's proposed south rail bypass goes a long way to alleviate rail congestion at the convergence point in Vancouver.
Numerous studies show how investments in freight rail could reduce congestion, improve air quality, and reduce shipping costs for businesses and consumers. One particular study by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials concluded that freight rail investments can provide as much as a 12 to 1 return on tax dollars invested.
Decisions are made by state and federal governments every day that affect the operations of railroads, decisions that can either limit or enhance the ability of rail to haul freight.
We need to encourage our legislators to focus on these transportation alternatives.
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