February 2, 2009
OneRail Coalition of Rail, Environmental Interests Works on Federal Stimulus Plan
For the first time, representatives of passenger and freight rail, public transportation, and environmental organizations have combined “to make sure people are aware of the benefits of rail,” said Anne Canby, the group’s spokesman.
This coalition—OneRail—hopes to become a beneficiary of the Congressional stimulus package. In addition to the stimulus legislation, the transportation authorization bill to be passed later this year will be another priority of the coalition.
The coalition seeks to bridge the goals of expanding intercity and commuter passenger and rail options across the country with the need to ensure the capacity, safety, and integrity of the nation’s freight rail network.
APTA is a founding member of the OneRail Coalition, along with Amtrak, the 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.
“Trends all point to a robust future for railroads—passenger and freight,” said APTA President William W. Millar. “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 energy and environmental benefits of rail are significant, according to the coalition, with a coordinated approach of rail and truck shipping already showing substantial efficiencies and net reductions in potential carbon emissions. Expanding passenger train options between and into U.S. urban centers would substantially reduce highway congestion, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing intermodal freight shipments on rail would also reduce those emissions—every ton mile of freight that moves by rail instead of long-haul truck reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least two-thirds.
The OneRail Principles are available online here.