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Condition Of US Railroads

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  • Stephen G. Myers
    3/9/2005 Condition of U.S. freight-rail infrastructure rates a low passing grade, civil engineering society says U.S. freight railroads received a first-ever
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 10 9:29 AM
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      3/9/2005 Condition of U.S. freight-rail infrastructure rates a low
      passing grade, civil engineering society says U.S. freight railroads
      received a first-ever grade on the overall state of their infrastructure
      from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and it wasn't a
      particularly good one - a C-. Today, ASCE released its 2005 "Report Card
      for America's Infrastructure," which assigns a cumulative D grade to the
      condition of the nation's infrastructure. Since the organization's
      previous report card was released in 2001 - showing a cumulative grade of
      D+ - the country's roads, bridges, drinking water systems and other
      infrastructure have shown little or no improvement, ASCE officials said
      in a prepared statement. Now, the organization is assessing freight-rail
      infrastructure, too. For the first time since World War II, limited rail
      capacity has created significant chokepoints and delays, ASCE said.
      "This problem will increase as freight-rail [traffic] is expected to
      increase at least 50 percent by 2020," the report states. "In addition,
      the use of rail for inter-city passenger and commuter-rail service is
      increasingly being recognized as a worthwhile transportation investment,
      [so] a combined investment of $12 billion to $13 billion per year is
      needed to maintain existing rail infrastructure and expand for future
      growth." Meanwhile, transit infrastructure was graded a D+ compared with
      a C- in 2001. "Transit use increased faster than any other mode of
      transportation - up 21 percent between 1993 and 2002," the report states.
      "Yet, many transit properties are borrowing funds to maintain operations,
      even as they are significantly raising fares and cutting back service."
      Overall, the nation needs to invest $1.6 trillion during the next five
      years to remedy current and looming infrastructure problems, ASCE
      estimates - an amount that doesn't address infrastructure security needs.
      The report card assesses 12 infrastructure categories graded in 2001 as
      well as three new categories: rail, public parks and recreation. An
      advisory council comprising 24 civil engineers evaluated each category
      based on condition and performance (as reported by federal sources),
      capacity vs. need, and current and pending state, local and federal
      funding vs. needs.

      Copyright 2003 Trade Press Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
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