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Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 62021
United States
07/20/2006 10:29 PM
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Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
Shift freight from trucks to trains

By WENDELL COX
GUEST COLUMNIST

In Seattle and in cities across the U.S., soaring fuel costs and worsening gridlock are like a one-two punch hitting drivers this summer, pinching our wallets and costing us valuable time lost in traffic.

The gridlock situation today is already alarming. The average commuter in the U.S. spends an extra 43 hours each year -- more than a full work week -- caught in traffic.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, freight traffic is expected to increase by two-thirds by 2020. One large truck takes up the same amount of highway space as almost four cars and the average truck is becoming longer with the increased use of double- and triple-trailers. With little chance of increasing urban road capacity sufficiently, an increase in truck volume would continue to add to our commuting problems.

Motorists can be forgiven for believing things will continue to worsen, but there are ways to not only reduce gridlock but also save countless gallons of fuel by becoming smarter on how we move freight.

Each year, using data from the Texas Transportation Institute, I study the impact of increased freight traffic in our most congested urban areas and report on how re-directing some of this freight from trucks on the highway to freight trains could affect a typical commuter.

In the Seattle area, by 2025, shifting 25 percent of freight from trucks to freight trains would decrease drivers' commutes by 40 hours. In addition, such a shift would save each commuter $837 in annual congestion costs.

Shifting freight from road to rail also has a positive environmental impact. Freight rail is more fuel-efficient per ton-mile than trucks and reduces fuel consumption of other motorists by decreasing the time drivers spend idling in traffic. For example, by 2025, commuters in the Seattle area could save 83 gallons of fuel with a 25 percent shift of freight from truck to rail.

Air pollution levels also would improve with an increased use of freight rail. For instance, by 2025, shifting 25 percent of freight to rail would decrease air pollutant emissions in the Seattle area by as much as 10,577 tons.

Major road improvement efforts, such as the multiphase project on the state Route 529 corridor, which has already included extensive construction in recent months, are clear signs that highways and bridges cannot withstand the current and projected traffic volumes. Construction and repairs often are expensive and politically contentious. However, freight rail can help stem the tide.

One freight train can carry the equivalent cargo of 500 trucks, and one intermodal train can carry nearly 300 truck trailers. Trucking companies and railroads are already forming intermodal partnerships that combine the best abilities of both modes of transportation. In fact, intermodal is the fastest-growing segment of the rail industry.

To carry more freight, the freight rail industry will need more capacity, which depends on both public and private investments. State government highway officials estimate that railroads will generate only $142 billion to invest on their own over the next 20 years, but rail infrastructure needs are estimated to be more than $200 billion.

Members of Congress concerned about gridlock plan to introduce the Freight Rail Infrastructure Capacity Expansion Act, to stimulate much-needed investment in the freight rail infrastructure. The legislation would provide any organization, including railroads, trucking companies and shipping lines a 25 percent tax credit for their investments. For railroads, the tax incentive would apply to infrastructure such as new track, intermodal facilities and state-of-the-art locomotives -- all essential to helping rail continue to provide on-time, quality service to shippers and boost their share of freight transport. The American Association of Port Authorities and the National Retail Federation support the legislation.

We must prepare now for a surge in freight volume and fight gridlock across our nation. Freight rail provides an excellent strategy.
Wendell Cox is president and CEO of Demographia, a market research and urban policy consultancy.

[link to seattlepi.nwsource.com]
Anonymous Coward
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07/20/2006 10:37 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
sherlock
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07/20/2006 10:43 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
To carry more freight, the freight rail industry will need more capacity, which depends on both public and private investments

No thanks.
Anonymous Coward
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07/20/2006 10:50 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
Trains are subsidized by the taxpayers. Truckers make their own living.

Truckers are the last of the American COwboys
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 117828
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07/20/2006 10:54 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
I'm all for the return of freight rail infrastructure as long as truckers are still needed to transport loads from freight trains to nearby commercial areas.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 118161
Canada
07/20/2006 10:58 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
BY the yr 2025 I better be getting around in a UFO damnit

Im sick of this stone age transportation
Anonymous Coward
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07/20/2006 11:10 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
This means we may have to dig up all those bikeways that used to be railroad tracks, and lay railroad tracks back down.

We may need new tracks leading in and out of every town. Johny Cash songs will be popular again and Free Loaders and Hobo's will return! I hear that whistle blowing now.
Anonymous Coward
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07/20/2006 11:13 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
hobos hobos hobos I hate hobos I`m hobophobic
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 105517
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07/20/2006 11:16 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
This means we may have to dig up all those bikeways that used to be railroad tracks, and lay railroad tracks back down.

We may need new tracks leading in and out of every town. Johny Cash songs will be popular again and Free Loaders and Hobo's will return! I hear that whistle blowing now.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 117588


AC, are you aware of the Super Highway be4ing built, from Mexico through Texas, up, into Canada? Part of the merger of three countries? There is ALSO supposed to be a track built along it.
Myself, I'm a little suspicious, highway/tracks...underground facilities..
Anonymous Coward
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07/20/2006 11:16 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
Anybody ever hopped trains? Been a hobo?
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 68969
United States
07/20/2006 11:18 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
This means we may have to dig up all those bikeways that used to be railroad tracks, and lay railroad tracks back down.

We may need new tracks leading in and out of every town. Johny Cash songs will be popular again and Free Loaders and Hobo's will return! I hear that whistle blowing now.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 117588



That's the truth, they have been digging up the tracks where I live for about 10 years now, it's called rails to trails. If the RR doesn't pull them up the state paves the blacktop right over them, rail traffic has slowed way down.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 9237
United States
07/20/2006 11:40 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
I am a up-grades Hobo I live in a house
and I drive but I am a hobo i think
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 120061
United States
07/21/2006 12:58 AM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
that will be a meg lev running along the spp
Adamic Seed

User ID: 120481
Canada
07/21/2006 10:58 PM
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Re: Shift Freight from trucks to TRAINS!
I remember hobos...back where I'm from

Standing around a fire in a barrel at night

Sleeping in the train station

Guys working from job to job, wherever there's money

Unloading potatoes at the dock

oh wait, that was me, beside the older guys

I remember the hobos.

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