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Wisconsin’s freight rail system keeps the state’s economy on track

October 3, 2013

Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed October 7 to 13 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.

"Railroads are a vital part of Wisconsin's multimodal transportation system," said WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb. "Many of our state's key industries and businesses rely on rail as a cost-effective way to transport raw materials and finished goods."

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. There are 12 railroad companies that operate more than 3,500 miles of track in the state. Each year, nearly 200 million tons of cargo is moved by rail.

"Access to freight rail is increasingly important for Wisconsin's competitiveness and job creation," explained Jason Culotta, director of Tax and Transportation Policy at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. "We must continue to improve the connections Wisconsin businesses have to the national rail network."

"Our railways are not necessarily in the forefront of discussion when the topic of Wisconsin’s economy comes up, but our freight system is crucial to businesses across the state. Many important industries, such as agriculture and timber, rely on Wisconsin's network of rail lines every day in order to stay competitive," added TDA Executive Director Craig Thompson. "In addition, we are able to attract and retain many businesses due to our freight system that connects us to other parts of the country and throughout North America. The impact Wisconsin's rail system has on our state's economy is undeniable."

Governor Walker’s Freight Week Proclamation can be viewed online. Additional information about Wisconsin’s freight rail system is available on WisDOT’s web site.

For more information, contact:
Communications Specialist Brock Bergey, Wisconsin DOT
(608) 267-3300,

Craig Thompson, TDA executive director
(608) 256-7044,



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