The US Congressional House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Special Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation recently released a report examining the state of US freight transportation. It offers recommendations for capitalizing on freight assets to strengthen the economy, and stresses investing in railways to move freight more efficiently. This position differs from the one currently taken by authorities in northeastern Illinois that favors myopic investment in major highway projects.
Right now, Chicagoland is at a crossroads. According to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the region will experience a 60% increase in truck volume and 62% increase in rail volume by 2040 (from a 2007 baseline). The current and projected uptick in freight traffic brings with it a heated debate about what type of infrastructure investment will keep cargo movements running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.