Wisconsin’s freight rail system keeps state economy on track
October 18, 2012
Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed October 22 to 28 Wisconsin Freight Rail Week. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin (TDA) are teaming up to promote, educate and celebrate the freight rail system that contributes to the state’s economy, environment and quality of life.
"Wisconsin is served by 12 railroads operating over a 3,500-mile system, which moves a large amount of products both within our state and across state lines," said Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb. "Railroads are an important part of the state’s transportation infrastructure, and many of our state’s key industries and businesses rely on rail as a cost-effective way to transport raw materials and finished goods."
Each year, Wisconsin’s railroads move approximately 190 million tons of cargo, valued at about $200 billion. From 2007 to 2030, overall freight rail tonnage shipped in Wisconsin is expected to grow 17 percent.
Key products moved via Wisconsin’s railways include coal, farm and agricultural products, paper, pulp, lumber and wood products, clay, concrete, and other goods and raw materials.
Paul Palmby, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Seneca Foods Corporation, spoke about the importance of the freight rail system to his business. "Whether we are transporting coils of tinplated steel for our can-making operations in Baraboo, or transporting canned and frozen fruits and vegetables from production areas in Wisconsin and across the country to distribution facilities in Janesville and Ripon, the importance of freight rail to efficiently distribute these products cannot be overstated," Palmby explained.
"Our railways – operating in many ways behind the scenes – continue to shape Wisconsin’s economy. There are key industries in Wisconsin that rely on these rail lines every day in order to stay competitive," added Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin Executive Director Craig Thompson. "Wisconsin’s rail system has shown to be an important factor for the reason some businesses choose to locate in and subsequently stay in our state. This has a direct impact on our economy, both at local and at statewide levels."
Editor's notes: A PDF version of Governor Walker’s Freight Rail Week Proclamation is available at the WisDOT website.
For more information, contact:
Brock Bergey, WisDOT communications specialist
(608) 267-3300, email@example.com
Craig Thompson, TDA executive director
(608) 256-7044, firstname.lastname@example.org