Rail Session at SASHTO

While at the Southeastern Association of State Highway Transportation Officials annual meeting, I participated in a panel on freight railroads in the Southeast.  The other speakers were Gene Conti, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Transportation, and Paul Nissenbaum, Director, Office of Passenger and Freight Programs.  (My speech is posted here.)  When we are discussing the future of freight rail in the U.S., somethings we discuss the rail system as if it is a recent invention.  The U.S. remains the highest user of railroads in the  World, and to put more passenger service on the network must balance not only the line haul capacity, but other related items such as rail grade crossings, alignments, etc.   The comparisons to other regions regarding passenger rail are thus somewhat misleading, but the future economic prosperity of the U.S. will depend upon rail.  The question however is can we do something now that maximizes our rail network to balances  these conflicting goals.

I would be amiss if I don’t thank the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department for their efforts in making this an exceptional conference!

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