January 15, 2009

Rail group forms to advocate investment

Environmental, freight and passenger rail groups have come together with reform-minded transportation experts to form a coalition that will advance rail programs.

The group, called the OneRail Coalition, brings passenger and freight rail stakeholders together for the first time. Members include American Public Transportation Association, Amtrak, American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association, Association of American Railroads, Building America’s Future, National Association of Railroad Passengers, Natural Resources Defense Council, Railway Supply Institute, States for Passenger Rail Coalition and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership.

According to the group, public policies that support both freight and passenger rail objectives are needed to maximize transportation options that enhance mobility, achieve energy efficiency, address climate change, boost economic growth and improve quality of life for all Americans.

“Rail must be an essential component of any national infrastructure investment initiative,” said Anne Canby, president, Surface Transportation Policy Partnership. “Rail provides a solution for many of our most urgent transportation, energy and environmental problems.”

“Our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure should strive to provide interconnectivity and be environmentally sound,” said Amtrak President Joseph Boardman. “Increasing investment in rail – both passenger and freight – is a critical step toward achieving this goal.”

The OneRail Coalition seeks to bridge the goals of expanding intercity and commuter passenger and rail options across the country and the need to ensure the capacity, safety and integrity of the nation’s freight rail network.

The group points to the findings of the 2008 National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission as part of the impetus to come together now.

“Trends all point to a robust future for railroads – passenger and freight,” William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association said. “America’s railroad community can gain strength with increased investment and through partnership, working together and growing together to serve America in the years ahead.”

The OneRail Principles are available at www.transact.org

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