Railroad Workers United Supports Solutionary Rail with Resolution

RWU Resolution in Support of “Solutionary Rail”


WHEREAS, rail transportation is one of the most energy efficient, least environmentally disruptive, and safest form of transportation known to humanity; and


WHEREAS, the potential of rail is being advanced worldwide in numerous countries, with billions of dollars already invested and countless more earmarked for new alignments, advanced signaling, multiple tracking, higher speeds, and electrification for both freight and passenger; and


WHEREAS, the current dominant modes of motorized transport in the U.S. (cars and planes for passengers; trucks for freight) are highly inefficient and environmentally destructive compared to rail; and


WHEREAS, many citizens and policymakers of all political persuasions agree that a massive investment in the nation’s infrastructure is needed to secure a safe, healthy, and prosperous future for all Americans; and


WHEREAS the Solutionary Rail concept advances a proposal to electrify America’s railroads and open rail corridors for use in renewable energy transmission, while creating thousands of good union jobs in both rural and urban areas, spurring economic growth and sustainable development; and


WHEREAS, developing a political consensus on solutions to climate change and its accompanying devastating effects on our economies, lives, and environment has been proven to be a challenging task; and


WHEREAS, Solutionary Rail offers a win-win proposal that has the potential to build the political consensus necessary to overcome political deadlock by benefitting numerous stakeholders, among them rail workers and the rail industry; urban and rural communities; green energy developers and rural electric co-ops; farmers, ranchers, and tribes; trackside and hub-side communities, shippers, motorists, and passengers; and


WHEREAS, such a historic infrastructure investment project has the potential to bridge the urban-rural divide, help heal the nation’s political divisions, deliver tangible benefits to both “red” states and “blue” states from coast-to-coast, and unite the nation, reimagining the creation of the first Transcontinental Railroad 150 years ago with a new focus on equity, human rights, and sustainability; and


WHEREAS, mainstay railroad shipments of fossil fuels have been in a state of decline, a trend that will continue as the nation moves towards renewable energy, freeing up track capacity for high value freight that can be diverted from highway to rail; and


WHEREAS, rail transport - unique among long-distance heavy transportation modes – has the ability to replace its current fossil fuel propulsion with electric propulsion which can be generated from renewable sources; and


WHEREAS, rail line electrification can also be leveraged to build transmission lines to bring presently remote solar and wind produced energy to metropolitan markets;


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Railroad Workers United supports the Solutionary Rail proposal for a national network of high capacity, higher speed, multiple-tracked, electrified railroad trunk lines nationwide, and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that RWU urges the rail unions to likewise support these basic Solutionary Rail concepts as outlined above; and


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we call on the U.S. Congress and President Joe Biden to direct the U.S. Department of Transportation and other appropriate federal agencies to evaluate Solutionary Rail feasibility, and to bring the general concept of rail corridor electrification - powered by renewable energy - into the set of sustainable transportation strategies for our transportation system in the U.S.


Adopted by the RWU Steering Committee 4/7/2021


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