A stimulus program established by President Barack Obama after the Great Recession has seen hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent on projects that benefit freight rail companies.
Under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, according to Federal Railroad Administration numbers, more than $600 million have gone to the country's freight rail network, reports McClatchy
Although supporters say the public investment is money well spent, some critics question why an industry whose national publicity campaign
claims that it spends billions of dollars on improving its infrastructure "so taxpayers don't have to" needs federal funding.
"We don't run (ad) campaigns like that, and we move 70 percent of all the tonnage in America at some point every day," Bill Graves, the president and CEO of the American Trucking Association and a former Republic governor of Kansas, told the newspaper.
At least half of the money has gone to projects that help the nation's four largest railroads, according to McClatchy, pointing to a new $28 million bridge
that opened a second track over the Osage River in Missouri last week.
The Obama administration reportedly paid for $22 million of the project through its High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program, but it will benefit Union Pacific, the country's largest freight railroad, which operates up to 60 trains a day on the line.
TIGER also contributed $34 million to a new overpass at the heavily congested Colton Crossing in Southern California, and another $34 million towards helping fix a junction near downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
Railroads "probably overstate their independence from public investment," the American Trucking Association's Graves told McClatchy.
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