Legislators and policymakers have a lot of information to sort through -- we hope our “RailBites” will help you gather essential information about modernizing and electrifying our transportation infrastructure. Please use us as a resource! Contact info@solutionaryrail.org or 206-408-8058.

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RailBite #9: Solutionary Rail in a Time of Pandemic

CoViD-19 is a confluence of crises that further exacerbates inequities and exposes vulnerabilities. It is also an opportunity to undertake a transformational national infrastructure project that delivers climate and environmental justice, improves public health, and rebuilds local and national economic vitality.

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RailBite #8: "The Truth About Precision Scheduled Railroading"

“Precision Scheduled Railroading” – The Real StoryPSR-FasterCartoonBridge.jpg

The current railroad industry is not operating with a business model that prioritizes the long term health and vitality of the US economy, environment, or even of the rail industry itself. “Precision Scheduled Railroading” (PSR) is a euphemism for a railroad industry practice that ensures short-term profits for the benefit of the “Wall Street Jackals”, at the expense of the safety and vitality of a great American railroad.

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RailBite #7: Electrified Rail & Mode Shift Means Better Health for Trackside Communities

Health Benefits of Electrification & Mode Shift to Communities near Train, Truck, and Shipyards

The current freight transport system has caused an environmental justice crisis for the many communities and workers exposed directly to transportation air pollution.

Solutionary Rail is a plan to electrify America’s railroads using renewable energy – for both freight and passenger trains – that provides solutions to this crisis. Shifting the business model for freight from trucks to trains – especially electrified trains – will improve the health of people living near and working at freight transportation hubs.

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RailBite #6: Public-Private Partnerships for an Electrified Railroad

Solutionary Rail proposes public-private partnerships to make this national railroad electrification and energy transmission project a reality.SIDA.jpg

Infrastructure owned, maintained, or improved by the railroad companies would continue to be owned by them. New electrification infrastructure – like the two sets of high voltage power lines and any other part of the project paid for with public dollars -- would be publicly owned.

Solutionary Rail proposes the creation of a tax-exempt, not-for-profit entity called the Steel Interstate Development Authority, or SIDA. SIDA would raise funds from private markets and federal loan funds as provided by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), issuing tax-exempt bonds to fund the entire project, negotiating rights of way, and overseeing construction and operations.

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RailBite #5: SR Means Deep Cuts to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Solutionary Rail - Deep Cuts to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Finding solutions in the face of climate change is one of our fundamental motivations.

Transportation accounts for 30% of United States greenhouse gas emissions. If we electrify our transportation using renewables, we can cut this deeply – especially if electrifying the railroads is prioritized.

  • Steel wheels rolling on steel rails require 1/3 the energy of rubber tires on pavement – trains are much more energy-efficient than trucks and cars, regardless of the fuel source.
  • The railroad – freed from diesel – could be powered by renewable electricity via overhead power lines, with very low life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.
  • As a bonus, additional power lines can be installed above the ones powering locomotives, with the sole purpose of transmitting renewable electricity from the rural areas where it’s produced to towns and cities where it’s needed.

 

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RailBite #4: SR is Good for Workers and Unions

Solutionary Rail: Good for Workers and Unions

The Solutionary Rail concept would prove highly beneficial for working and retired railroad workers. In contrast to the current operating plan the major rail carriers have embraced, Solutionary Rail holds out the promise of:

  • more jobs in both passenger rail and freight rail, not fewer
  • more rail infrastructure, not less
  • good, family-wage, secure union jobs
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RailBite #3: "Higher" Speed Rail

Rail Electrification Options: Why Solutionary Rail recommends starting with “Higher” Speed Rail

Currently, the buzzword for rail travel is “High Speed Rail.” The term is being used broadly, but what does it mean? Brightline in Florida is being called “high speed,” even though it travels at just 79 mph. So what is High Speed Rail and what are our best options? What about freight transportation – should the bulk of freight continue to be carried by trucks?

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RailBite #2: Solutionary Rail Prioritizes Safe & Humane Railroad Working Conditions

The Solutionary Rail concept would prove highly beneficial for working and retired railroad workers. In contrast to the current operating plan the major rail carriers have embraced, Solutionary Rail holds out the promise of:

  • regular schedules
  • a safer and healthier work environment
  • a secure Railroad Retirement system.

 

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Why Electrify: RailBite #1

Welcome to “Railbite” #1 from Solutionary Rail, a plan for electrifying America’s railroads and opening up the rail corridors for green-energy transmission!

Solutionary Rail is a plan to:

  1. Electrify the nation’s rail corridors by modernizing existing track infrastructure
  2. Power those corridors with distributed renewable energy (wind & solar) 
  3. Use modernized rail corridors to bring clean energy to the rest of the country

Let’s talk about #1 – Why is electrifying the railroad crucial for building a cleaner, zero-carbon transportation infrastructure? 

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