Letters To The Editor For May 2006

April 19, 2006
Railroads are part of the solution; the government is part of the problem.

Reader Feels Railroaded

I take exception to Traci Purdum's report in the March 2006 edition of IndustryWeek ("Logistics: Trucking Costs Continue Climb"), accusing railroads of reducing track and creating an additional burden on trucking infrastructure.

Railroads aren't adding to trucking's infrastructure woes; we're helping solve them. Railroads aren't reducing capacity; we're increasing it. This year, we expect to spend $8 billion (more than any previous year on record) to double and triple track rail line, improve signaling systems, add hundreds of new locomotives and hire thousands of new employees to increase our freight hauling capacity. Railroads invest about 45% of their operating revenue in their rail systems, five times more than the average U.S. manufacturer. In fact, about the only places railroads are reducing track is where they have taken advantage of more efficient routes to improve fluidity (another action that increases capacity) or they have little or no business.

Last year, a record 11.6 million trailers and containers went by train. This year, more than 12 million will because of cooperation among railroads, trucking companies, steamship lines and logistics providers. A single intermodal train can remove 280 trucks from the highways, reducing highway congestion, conserving fuel and helping trucking companies deal with driver shortages.

Our record capital-improvement program this year will help ensure that we can move even more trailers and containers (and all other kinds of freight) in the future, helping relieve the stress that all segments of the logistics chain (highways, ports and inland waterways as well as rail) have felt in recent years.

Edward R. Hamberger
President, CEO
Association of American Railroads

Evans Full Of Hoo-Ha

In your article ["Evans On The Economy -- Tax Cheats Snub Spend-Crazy Feds," April 2006] you stated, "If people hadn't cheated on their taxes, the federal government would not have had a budget deficit last year." Hoo-ha! That's like the spouse who says, "If you only earned more I wouldn't have overdrawn the bank account!" The truth is, the more the government has, the more it spends, just like everyone else who is in debt because they spend more than their income. If more money comes in, they still find more "reasons" to spend more than they have. A balanced government budget? Nice wishful thinking, but not true.

Lynne Hoverson
Schippers & Crew Inc.

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