Brian ONeill in his column on rail transportation (Patience Is Helpful Virtue Among Amtraks Riders, Nov. 23) pointed out that America has some of the best railroads for moving freight and that Europeans envy Americas rail freight system. He is exactly right. But readers should also know that the stellar reputation of American freight railroads takes careful planning and is not underwritten by U.S. taxpayers. In order to move record amounts of U.S. goods and products, U.S. rail companies have been investing hundreds of billions of dollars $525 billion since 1980 and $26 billion in 2014 alone to maintain and upgrade the nationwide rail network. Thats all private investment in infrastructure for the public good and not a nickel of taxpayer investment.
The investment has paid off, allowing rail companies to support jobs around the nation, including in Pennsylvania. Freight railroads are moving more traffic now than since before the last recession and are going all out to be as flexible, responsive and efficient in meeting the surging shipping needs of customers in getting American goods to market A healthy freight rail industry is vital to the states and the nations economic recovery. And a strong and robust freight rail network is needed to meet the countrys business challenges head on.