Marion, NC – Steve Little, mayor of the City of Marion, wrote an op-ed in favor of freight railroads for the McDowell News recently. With his own expertise in the world of rail, Mayor Little focuses his attention on its economic advantages.
“The public benefits of rail freight are intuitive, even for those who know little about the trains: fewer trucks and less congestion, less wear and tear on taxpayer-funded roads, and more environmentally efficient transport that cuts back on pollution by 75% over heavy trucks. Less intuitive is the fact that most freight railroads are privately owned and operated, supported not by taxpayers but by their own spending.”
Highlighting new rail re-regulation proposals at the federal level, Mayor Little explains how over-regulation of the railroads hurts their ability to sustain themselves and could hurt the public in the long run.
“The U.S. Surface Transportation Board, tasked with economic oversight of the rail industry, is considering a set of new rules that could ultimately undermine railroads’ ability to reinvest into the network. The proposed rules, including price caps and forcing railroads to turn over their lines to competitors, harken back to a failed era of railroading, when carriers could not earn enough to maintain and upgrade routes and equipment, hurting service and shippers.”
Mayor Little urges North Carolina’s federal lawmakers to oppose further restrictions on the rail industry that could negatively impact its ability to serve NC customers and businesses.
“North Carolina’s policymakers at the federal level should recognize the lessons of the past—always a good rule of thumb—when it comes to the idea of re-imposing failed rail regulations. Especially at a time when our state and nation are looking to transportation carriers to haul more, we must not divert freight from the railways, one of our state’s oldest economic connectors.”