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Full Speed Ahead: Creating Green Jobs Through Freight Rail Expansion

Posted by Content Coordinator on Wednesday, May 5th, 2010


Executive Summary

Moving to a clean energy economy that reinvests in American industries and prioritizes efficient energy use and pollution reduction represents a significant opportunity to create jobs and promote sustainable economic growth. The freight rail industry can be a part of this transition, having demonstrated its green potential by making significant strides in efficiency, limiting pollution and creating and sustaining quality jobs.

Economic models estimate about 7,800 green jobs are created for every billion dollars of freight rail capital investment. Furthermore, the industry has nearly doubled the amount of goods it has shipped without increasing fuel consumption over the past three decades, and creates a fraction of the pollution of other transport modes such as trucking and aviation. Its continued growth will generate green jobs, reduce dependence on foreign oil and contribute to solving climate change.

As the U.S. economy gets back on track, freight movement will expand, requiring corresponding infrastructure investment. By growing capacity, the freight rail industry can seize significant opportunities to meet projected demand for shipping cargo, save energy, reduce pollution and create tens of thousands of new jobs throughout the economy.

Freight rail invests more than four times the proportion of revenues into capital investment than most other industries, and creates public benefits by returning a high level of economic output, offering an alternative to other modes of transport that can reduce congestion and improve productivity, serving as the backbone for national passenger rail and achieving efficiencies that significantly reduce energy use and pollution.

Public policy should account for these public returns and supply incentives that will help the industry maintain economic viability while delivering even greater economic and environmental benefits moving forward.

Freight Rail Jobs Created

Download full report (PDF): Full Speed Ahead

About BlueGreen Alliance
“The Blue Green Alliance is a national, strategic partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy.”

About Economic Policy Institute
“The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, was created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Today, with global competition expanding, wage inequality rising, and the methods and nature of work changing in fundamental ways, it is as crucial as ever that people who work for a living have a voice in the economic discourse.”

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