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Friday, August 19, 2022

Time To Put Freight Back On The Rails! : Rail for the Valley

A highway is rolling in Europe

The recent fiasco with our regional highways, due to the “Great Flood” once again illuminated the huge amount of cargo traffic going on on the public road system.

The haulage industry is heavily subsidized by using existing highways and motor haulage companies are reducing haulage tariffs.

The trucking lobby is huge, well-funded and ensures the continuation of hidden subsidies for cargo carriers.

With the ghost of global warming and climate change now occupying the front seat with our weather patterns, our highway system is proof that it is unable to cope with the harsh weather challenges.

Isn’t it time to put the freight back on the trains and reopen abandoned short lines for better cargo access?

Instead of the blah, blah, the current blah of politicians, action must be taken to reduce traffic volumes on the highways / highways and to that end they must provide a cost-effective alternative to driving. This must include regional railways for passengers and the transfer of freight back to the train.

This has been happening in Europe for decades, but now tougher measures are forcing commercial vehicles to board trains and so is Canada.

Until that happens, politicians can say whatever they want about global warming, but do nothing to reduce the damage that has already been done and caused to the environment.

So Prime Minister Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau, stop with your blah, blah, blah about the environment; Stop your photography by showing sympathy for flood victims and start taking positive action to mitigate the effects of climate change.

It’s time to dump her and move on.

km_tirol-rola_09.01.2018

Tyrol is working on strengthening the rolling highway

written by Frank v. Wilner, Editor of Donor Capitol Hill

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One does not have to have a doctorate in economics to understand that when someone achieves something for nothing, another does not get anything for something – much like parking in a graded area where there is time left on the previous tenant’s nickel.

Heavy truck operators bite sidewalks and bulk goods that haul inland waterway speakers for generations lowering the public coffers for generations, while the railways themselves build, maintain and even police their 140,000 miles of privately owned reception rights, for which they also pay. property tax. To make a statement to Ronald Reagan, “here they go again” – “they” are competitors on the train who are about to receive billions of dollars in $ 1.2 trillion in Infrastructure and Employment Investment Benefits (IIJA) A bill signed this week by President Biden.

When a dining companion comfortably examines a restaurant’s ceiling tile upon arrival of the meal check, these train competitors prove, once again, their ability (we can not resist the pun) to rob St. Petersburg taxpayers to pay for a truck and St. Paul’s truck. Operators. However, there is no economic, environmental, moral or social rationale according to which commissions paid to the government by for-profit corporations are disproportionate to the benefits received.

Since more than 80% of freight on the train is exempt from economic regulation and thus is legally allowed to be competitive, fashion equality is important – the highway and water policy is the train policy and vice versa.

The facts speak loudly. But first, let’s get rid of a tired ball that railroads once relished in federal land grants – dedications to be sold to fund construction in the mid-19sGod’ Century train lines to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the shores of the Pacific Ocean and bridge what the map makers then called the Great American Desert. A study commissioned by Congress in 1944 concluded that 130 million acres of federal land previously granted to railroads were paid for fully Through a commitment that the recipients will carry all government cargo and passengers at a discount of 50% of the published fares. In fact, there was an overpayment, because even non-land railways matched these low tariffs to remain competitive.

Facts of the highway

Although a one-cent federal fuel tax per gallon was imposed by Congress on highway users in 1932, it was used solely to reduce the federal deficit. Highways were built, maintained and renewed using general tax revenue until 1956, when the Highway Trust was established, with usage fees designed to provide federal assistance for the construction, renovation and reconstruction of some 900,000 miles of federal highways. Neither the revenue from a relatively small number of toll roads nor receipts from user fees on the highways have ever matched the cost responsibility of competitive heavy trucks for the train.

While these heavy trucks currently pay 24.4 cents a liter of diesel tax, it has not increased since 1993. Estimates vary, but agree that heavy trucks pay less significantly for their cost responsibility.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that heavy trucks pay less than 20 percent of the damage they cause to sidewalks and bridges. The Independent Nonprofit estimates that the current tax of 24.4 cents per liter of diesel fuel should be 46.3 cents per liter simply to accommodate intervening inflation – the American Association of Roads and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) estimates a shaving of 43% of purchasing power since. ( Note that 2.86 cents per liter of diesel and gasoline taxes are devoted not to highways but to publicly owned mass transportation according to the theory that mass transportation reduces congestion on highways and is therefore beneficial to highway users.)

The tax fund reported that Highway Trust Fund revenues track highway spending nearly $ 40 billion a year. The Congressional Research Service reported in 2020 that since 2008, Congress has transferred $ 143.6 billion from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund to maintain its solvency. The new infrastructure bill targets more than $ 50 billion annually in general tax revenue for highways without providing a moderate increase in even the user fees on those 18 wheels that cause the most road and bridge damage.

Since most Republicans in Congress have pledged in writing to oppose any tax increase, an emerging alternative to raising the fuel tax is beyond the mileage travel fee (VMT). This is a nuance that only Congress may adopt with a straight face to satisfy the disregard for the promise of “no new taxes.”

In fact, the infrastructure bill provides $ 125 million for a four-year pilot project to study VMT. However, while the proverbial tin has gone down, general taxpayers from St. Petersburg and elsewhere will continue to subsidize truck drivers from St. Paul and elsewhere – all to the detriment of railroads, highway safety and the environment. The mismatch between heavy truck cost responsibilities and user fees artificially shifts even more traffic from railroads to highways and the highways are already congested and bruised.

Supporters of VMT calculate that such a commission more accurately matches the liability for the wear and tear cost of heavy trucks, and as an alternative to the diesel tax, will collect the user fees from electric trucks that will operate soon. Moreover, the use of transponders will allow for greater accuracy and transparency in the collection of fees and will facilitate the pricing of congestion.

In fact, the weight-distance commission would be even fairer, as the gross weight is the dominant cause of damage to the bridges, with the American Civil Engineering Association finding 61,000 highway bridges that are already structurally missing. Prior to the VMT pilot project was an existing weight distance pilot project funded by the Federal Road Administration in six states (California, Colorado, Delaware, Missouri, Oregon and Washington).

Unlike fuel tax – in fact excise duty that is not charged for the costs actually incurred – the weight-distance fee, as it is called, more fully captures sidewalk damage and bridges caused by gross weight over each mile traveled.

Facts of waterways

The federal government has been subsidizing transportation of competing inland waterways by train since 1918, when Congress created a federal spokesman’s line that would operate on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and New Orleans in competition with privately owned railroads. Only in 1953 was it privatized and renamed Federal Barge Lines (note many). Until 1978, the federal government subsidized all capital costs and maintenance of the system in favor of privately owned spokesperson operators.

Beginning that year, Congress imposed a 4-cent-liter fuel tax on commercial barges operating on about 11,000 miles of the most common sections of inland waterways – the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Although this tax fuel – paid to the Waterways Trust Fund (WTF) – was increased to 29 cents per gallon in 1997, where it remains today, the Congressional Research Service reported in 2018 that the recovery rate was only 15% of federal spending. Notably, while the WTF in 2020 provided about $ 131 million for inland waterway projects, general taxpayers provided nearly 10 times more, or about $ 1.2 billion, the Congressional Research Service reported. In fact, there is no cost allocation for digging waterways, maintaining locks or navigational aids.

Despite this huge payment of cost responsibility, the infrastructure bill is targeting about $ 2.5 billion for new inland waterway projects. This free ride for competitive railroad operators includes maintenance of a nine-foot-long navigation canal on 750 miles of the Upper Mississippi River (depth far exceeding that required for recreational boating), and doubling the length of 600-foot locks near St. Louis. Lewis on the Mississippi River and near Paducah, Ky., On the Ohio River. The result will be a significant reduction – to the limitation of competing railways – in the cost of moving long-barreled tows that currently have to be broken in half to pass through the locks of smaller length.

What the then president of the New York Central Railway, Alfred A., asked. Pearlman in 1950, remains at a compelling point today: “How would you like to run a business if the government built one next to you and made it tax-exempt, then transferred it to a business. A competitor and helped it operate and maintain it?”

“If you did something the same way for two years, check it out carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after 10 years, throw it away and start all over again.” To Perlman

For those in Congress – on both sides of the aisle, whether the issue is avoiding socialism, cutting America’s federal budgetary imbalance or providing even more funding for real public goods like climate change, broadband access and lead water removal – goes without saying. The appropriate bipartisan starting point is to put an end to the welfare of corporations, to the benefit of for-profit operators of competitive heavy trucks for inland and suburban barges, and to align the fashionable playground.

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