On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), including our affiliated rail unions, I would like to express support for H. Res. 1366, introduced by Representative Phil Hare, which recognizes and honors the freight rail industry and its employees. For decades, the rail industry and its dedicated workers have contributed to our national transportation system and played a significant role in the growth and development of America’s economy and infrastructure.
Today freight rail generates nearly $265 billion in annual economic activity, making it a critical component of our national economy. The industry employs nearly two hundred thousand rail workers; the vast majority of which earn good pay and benefits through collective bargaining agreements. These rail workers operate and oversee the system, working to deliver tons of goods annually to destinations across the country. In addition to the workers freight rail directly employs, it also supports more than one million jobs in other industries throughout our economy and is an important part of our national transportation system.
According to the Department of Transportation, by 2035 total freight transportation will rise 92 percent from 2002 levels; this includes an 88 percent increase for railroads. Expanding freight rail infrastructure and capacity to meet this demand is critical and will create thousands of additional jobs across the country. During a time of historic unemployment levels, the freight rail industry is well-positioned to put thousands of Americans back to work.
To recognize the achievements of freight rail workers and the entire industry, we ask that you support H. Res. 1366 and advance polices that promote a rail system that creates and sustains good jobs, protects workers, and continues to enhance the safety and efficiency of the system.