WASHINGTON – The nation’s freight railroads this year project they will spend approximately $26 billion to build, maintain, and upgrade their nationwide rail network, according to an estimate released March 12 by the Association of American Railroads. Railroads also expect to hire more than 12,000 people in 2014, for jobs throughout all areas of the industry and located all across the U.S.
“This year’s projected record investments continue a decades-long trend of private railroad dollars that sustain America’s freight rail network, so taxpayer’s don’t have to,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “The result is a rail network that is the envy of the world, serving both freight and passenger railroads, and this massive private financial commitment is a demonstration of the industry’s resolve to never stop improving.”
Hamberger noted that freight railroads have invested approximately $550 billion of their own money into the rail network since 1980, including $115 billion in the past five years alone. From upgrades to bridges and tunnels to new tracks and facilities, freight rail infrastructure is constantly maintained and upgraded to meet the demands of an evolving economy. Thanks to a strong rail network infrastructure, railroads in recent years have been able to successfully meet increased demand for intermodal shipping, a booming domestic energy market and more. The industry’s investments also include implementing the latest safety technology across the rail network.
“The rail industry is committed to safety and we’re investing record amounts to implement safety enhancing technology across the network,” Hamberger said. “Railroads are working to deliver a safe, modern and efficient rail network that can reliably serve our customers and communities. And at the same time, this spending creates jobs for more American workers.”
The freight railroads estimate they will hire more than 12,000 employees in 2014, up from a projected 11,000 new hires in 2013. Company job listings can be accessed via www.aar.org/jobs.
“Freight rail is a great industry for a potentially life-long career with one of our great railroad companies,” Hamberger said. “America’s railroads also have a long history of hiring veterans, and railroad careers rank among the best for military veterans and their families.”
Tomorrow, advocates and representatives from the freight rail community will participate in Rail Day 2014, meeting with policymakers and elected representatives on Capitol Hill to stress the importance of America’s railroads to our economy. “Today’s news of record investments and steady hiring demonstrates how America’s economy rides the rails,” Hamberger said. “That’s a message we’re eager to share.”