Crawford Statement from Hearing on the Importance of America’s Rail System
Opening remarks, as prepared, of Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Ranking Member Rick Crawford (R-AR) from today’s hearing entitled, “Full Steam Ahead for Rail: Why Rail is More Relevant Than Ever for Economic and Environmental Progress”:
Thank you, Chair Payne, for holding this hearing, and thank you to our witnesses for participating today.
Our hearing today will examine the economic and environmental benefits of our robust American rail systems. Railroads have always been an essential part of American economic development. They support a variety of industries in moving goods to market at home and abroad, including manufacturing, energy, and agriculture.
Studies have found that the investments made by rail have supported approximately 1 million jobs and $219 billion in economic output.
Rail is also considered one of the most fuel-efficient ways to move freight. On average, freight railroads can move one ton of freight over 470 miles on one gallon of fuel. Freight rail’s output of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is among the lowest at less than one percent and make up only 2.1 percent of overall transportation-related emissions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, freight railroads proved to be resilient and invaluable carriers of essential goods when they were needed most. Freight rail’s significant contributions during this difficult period should be noted as we look towards future infrastructure investments.
As the Committee works to advance its surface transportation priorities, I hope it considers how we can leverage the important value of the rail industry. In particular, we must ensure that freight railroads keep growing in an uninhibited manner so that Americans can continue to benefit from their irreplaceable contributions to our economy.
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