Although the public typically does not contribute directly to the costs of improvements to rail infrastructure, the public benefits greatly. Rail, more than any other mode of ground transportation, provides the most efficient and cost-effective freight service in the world. And today, rail freight infrastructure is funded overwhelmingly by private sector investment.
Investments in the Corridors of Commerce contribute to:
- Tax Dollar Savings – Railroads privately fund rail infrastructure unlike trucks, airlines and barges that operate on publicly-funded or subsidized infrastructure. Typically, 40 cents out of every revenue dollar is put back into the rail network by railroads to ensure our economy keeps moving.
In addition to paying for the maintenance with private funds, railroads pay state and local property taxes, creating a steady revenue stream for those governments.
- BNSF spent over $6.1 billion in the past 10 years to maintain the Corridors of Commerce.
- BNSF invested over $2.25 billion to increase the capacity of the Corridors in the last decade.
- Fiscal Responsibility – Shifting freight from trucks to rail reduces pressure to build costly new roads which are extremely expensive and takes years to construct.
Rail infrastructure is less costly and time consuming to expand.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2008 Conditions and Performance report, released in early 2010, projects an annual highway investment need of about $175 billion – much higher than current spending.
- To reduce current congestion and meet future needs, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2007 Future Options for Interstate Highways study found that the equivalent of nearly 70,000 additional lane-miles should be added to the existing highway system.
- Adding a highway lane mile can easily cost $15 million on average, if not much more, and take as long as a decade, compared to $3 - $4 million on average, and relatively little time, for a typical mile of rail line.
- Energy Efficiency – Rail is more than three times as fuel efficient as sending the same shipment by long-haul truck. Relying on rails means relying less on foreign oil and reducing our nation’s overall oil demand. Less demand means better pump prices for consumers.
- A single train can move one ton of freight 495 miles on just one gallon of diesel fuel.
- Over 2,700 new fuel-efficient locomotives were acquired in the last decade replacing a significant portion of BNSF's fleet.
- If just 10% of the freight that currently moves by trucks paralleling these Corridors were diverted to rail, fuel savings would exceed 1 billion gallons a year.
- It took almost two billion fewer gallons of fuel to move over 550 million tons of freight on the Corridors in 2009 than if the same amount of freight had moved by truck on the nation's highways.