Iowa is truly the "crossroads of America." Located between two major interstate arteries, it's amazing how much freight travels across our region. But no matter how much we keep rebuilding our interstate highways and repairing our roads, the traffic keeps increasing and our costs for maintenance continues to grow. The increase in traffic across our state is one major reason we must maintain the infrastructure of our state. And the freight rail system is one mode of transportation that can help alleviate the increase in traffic on our deteriorating roads and highways. The use of freight railroads offers an economical and environmentally friendly shipping option. The environmental benefits provided by freight rail are well known. Freight trains move a ton of freight an average of 423 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel. The demand for freight rail service is now at the highest level in history, and railroads must spend billions of dollars over the next decade in order to expand capacity so that they can meet that demand. Already, we see congestion affecting all modes of transportation which threaten economic growth for both our rural and urban communities. It is crucial for our communities to have a well developed transportation system which relies on both highway and rail systems. Freight railroads help keep the economy rolling and save business and consumers billions of dollars. I hope that Congress doesn't discourage any future development of our rail freight system by imposing pre-Staggers Act restrictions on freight rail. This would only lead to further financial problems for Iowa's businesses and economic development with our already struggling economy. Congress needs to take a pro-active, logical approach now more than ever and support the rail system in moving freight across our nation.
Iowa House District 39