CHICAGO (AP) - Matthew Rose stood before fellow industry leaders
and pointing to a map illustrating what he says is the future of
the U.S. rail freight network. It was drenched in red - east to
west, north to south.
The chief executive of the Fort Worth-based Burlington Northern
Santa Fe railroad said the blotches illustrated areas where, by
2035, traffic jams could be so severe trains would grind to a halt
for days with nowhere to go.
Freight congestion around the nation is becoming a serious
problem, and the damage to the U.S. economy could climb into the
billions of dollars.
Congestion along the nation's 140,000-mile network is bad enough
as it is now. But an analysis by The Associated Press found it
could get much worse.
That's because demand for freight trains is expected to double
over the next 25 years, although the system's capacity is already
reaching it's limits.
The higher shipping costs that result could raise prices for
everything from lumber to grain. One analyst says the rail crunch
could add thousands of dollars to the price of a car.
Another transportation analyst, Paul Bingham, says the train
congestion could lead to economic "calamity."