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Thursday, August 8, 2013
Pat Corp’s commentary of Aug. 1, “The logic of rail investment,” assumes that in moving this nation’s goods and materials, roads and rails are in direct competition. They are not.
Trucks mainly carry finished goods from a manufacturer to a specific market, while trains (along with river barges and pipelines) move heavy raw materials to the manufacturer and energy producer. To debate new rails versus bigger highways, trains vs. trucks, without making this important distinction serves little purpose.
For example, upgrading our rail infrastructure will not decrease the number of trucks on our highways, as Corp argues. Unless, of course, we are willing to return to those days when what we ordered took weeks to arrive.
There are other significant distinctions between trains and trucks and who does what best, such as finished goods tend to move more in a south to north direction, while raw materials move from west to east. Proof: Interstates 65, 75, 77 and 81, and the Norfolk Southern rail system.
I have a novel idea. Instead of fighting over government subsidies, keep the decision on how to ship with each shipper. Truckers have already won this fight. Now what is needed are dedicated truck lanes.
DAVID F. REYNOLDS
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