Letter: Mayor Hopes Residents Can be Thankful for Railroad
To the Editor-
As we get ready to head to the stores for some holiday shopping it is important to note the important role that Stevens Point plays in the nation’s economy through our railroad.
As we see daily, the nation’s private freight rail network is moving more traffic than anytime since the recession. More businesses are turning to rail as an efficient mode of hauling freight and those that already utilize rail are producing more due to recovering consumer demand. Simply put, rail is hauling the cargo that will sustain our economic recovery: That’s why Stevens Point is poised to capture that energy with East Park Commerce Center, and our local investment in rail.
From 2009 to 2013, record private investments of $115 billion were made in tracks, bridges, locomotives, freight cars, and other infrastructure and equipment. This increased the capacity and safety of the rail network, in order to meet America’s recovering and changing economy. That is why our rails here in Stevens Point are busier than we can ever remember, because; CN is servicing North America through our City.
That should matter to us not only as consumers but also as taxpayers. Unlike every other mode of transportation – trucks, barges, and airlines that operate infrastructure funded mainly by us; privately owned freight railroads operate almost entirely on infrastructure they own, build, and maintain. Millions of that investment is happening right here in the Stevens Point Yard. Longer trains mean better partnerships with trucking companies to more efficiently move freight, and balance truck to train. We have seen that right here, where CN has invested $600 million in Wisconsin since 2001. Nation-wide they have hired 14,000 new employees since 2010, many of them here in Stevens Point with numerous positions still open, and more to come. Most notably, these jobs have a Wisconsin average of $114,000 in compensation. Not only are they saving government money they are also drastically increasing our tax base, through investment and home ownership.
So if you get caught at a railroad crossing on your way to do some holiday shopping, sing a Christmas carol, and think about that train that runs around your Christmas tree, because railroads are fueling our economy.
Andrew J. Halverson, Mayor
City of Stevens Point