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The Right (And Wrong) Way to Spend $1 Trillion

The incoming administration is talking of spending as much as $1 trillion on infrastructure, an outlay that the President himself characterizes as the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. Yet lost in all the discussion about building roads and bridges is the forgotten promise of rationalizing our freight hauling system by getting long-haul trucks off the road and on to trains. The potential benefits of building a steel wheel interstate system to accomplish this range from vastly improved fuel efficiency and logistics costs to safer, less congested highways. Ultimately, we could have emission-free transportation using wind and hydropower to operate electrified railroads. A new study, to be presented at the event, estimates that an investment in rail infastructure of between $250 billion to $500 billion would be sufficient to reduce the number of long-haul trucks crowding and damaging the nations highway by 85 percent, while also bringing substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and oil consumption.
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