Roads to Rails Oregon - the case for a mode shift in Oregon.

Residents of Oregon: 
The Solutionary Rail team has assembled some data regarding truck freight and the cost of congestion in Portland, Salem and Eugene on the Oregon economy. We think you'll find it useful. A spreadsheet, data and graphic files are downloadable below.
Please, draw from this information and the example message below to reach out to Congressman DeFazio and other elected officials to build support for our 2030 Moonshot Modeshift
Please - do let us know what you did and what you learned by submitting the form below. 

Thank you! 

SR Team

Message to Congressman Peter DeFazio:

Dear Congressman DeFazio,

As Chair of House Transportation Committee and a representative from the State of Oregon you can play a leading role in the just transition to a modernized, decarbonized transportation infrastructure that serves the public good. 

  •  In 2017, the cost of congestion for Portland, Salem and Eugene added up to nearly $1.4 billion dollars in wasted time and fuel. (1) 

  • In 2017, approximately 65% of the ton miles of truck freight originating in or destined for Oregon (32 BILLION ton miles) is traveling over 500 miles, a distance far more efficiently served by trains than trucks. (2)

  • This 32 BILLION ton miles of long haul truck freight associated with the state of Oregon represents a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, diesel emissions, infrastructure wear and tear and more negative - and even deadly impacts.
Getting this 32 billion ton miles of Oregon associated freight off roads and onto tracks is something you are well positioned to lead on. The climate clock is ticking and though we've been told we have ten years to decarbonize our economy, the time for action is NOW. That's why it is important that you to actively support the Solutionary Rail call for a 2030 Moonshot Modeshift
Setting an example for the rest of the country, Oregon residents can build a broad alliance to deliver common sense solutions that benefit everyone.
With your help Congressman DeFazio Oregon could:
  1. Reduce congestion on Oregon roads and highways exacerbated long haul trucks.
    (The Federal Highway Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistic should be able to estimate by how much and should be asked to do so - as should the Oregon DOT.)

  2. Reduce diesel consumption by approximately 200 million gallons* by leveraging rail's 3-4x greater efficiency over truck transport.

  3. Reduce GHG emissions by approximately 20 million metric tons**

  4. Reduce diesel fuel usage and emissions to improve public health, most significantly impacting the poorest neighborhoods and transportation workers.
    (The EPA should be tasked with determining the cost savings and health benefits.)

  5. Improve road safety and reduce truck related accidents and fatalities. (ODOT should be asked to estimate how many.)

  6. Dramatically lower infrastructure wear and tear costs to Oregon tax-payers and their neighboring states. 
    (Obtaining this and the above calculations should be a priority for county, state and federal officials. Oregon DOTs and Federal Highway Department should be instructed produce this data immediately.)

Congressman DeFazio, mode shifting from roads to rails is an important climate and public interest issue that could positively impact everyone, but is being ignored by corporate and elected leaders. You have the resources to immediately seek, obtain and make available the calculations asked for here. You also have the capacity to deploy this data to make the cost-benefit case for an infrastructure that better serves the public interest. All this should be readily accessible to the public and policy makers at every level of government. 

A modernized, high capacity freight and passenger rail infrastructure is critical to the future well being of rural and urban communities, local and national economies, and our public health and climate stability. You are uniquely positioned to leverage this information to build broad support for Solutionary Rail's bold 2030 Modeshift Moonshot vision. Please utilize them.  

Please work with - and have your committee staff work with - the Solutionary Rail team. Engage the community stakeholders and technical experts they have assembled to create policies to bolster, spread, and manifest this vision for a ten year transition to a sustainable land transportation infrastructure. 

Thank you for your time, attention, and leadership.


  1. Obtained using the Texas A&M 2019 Congestion Study's interactive tool. Full size infographics and downloadable data sheets available HERE
  2. Obtained using the Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) tool from Oak Ridge National Labs. Download spreadsheet HERE.
  3. Obtained using the Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) tool from Oak Ridge National Labs. Download spreadsheet HERE.

*On average trucks move 1 ton 134 miles on a gallon of diesel.  On average trains move 1 ton 435 miles on a gallon of diesel. That amounts to approximately 7,422,686 gallons of diesel per 1 billion ton miles by truck and 2,298,850 gallons of diesel per 1 billion ton miles by train. Multiply those by 32 and subtract the rail fuel from the truck fuel total to get approximately 200 million gallons of diesel fuel saved. 

**1 Billion gallons of diesel creates approximately 100 Million Metric tons of CO2, so 0.2 billion gallons (200 million gallons) = 20 million metric tons of CO2
Portland congestion data sheet HERESalem congestion data sheet HEREEugene congestion data sheet HERE
Full size infographics and downloadable data sheets available
HERE. (click on images below)