Contact: Scott Jensen, (202) 249-6511
WASHINGTON (October 1, 2013) – Testifying today on behalf of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Eddie Johnston, Transportation Policy Leader at DuPont, told members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that investing in infrastructure improvements, ensuring the safe transport of hazardous materials and increasing freight rail competition are critical transportation issues for the U.S. economy.
In written remarks submitted to the Committee, Johnston said that DuPont operates more than 70 manufacturing facilities in the United States and employs tens of thousands of Americans. He emphasized the importance of transporting these products to help meet the demands of consumers and businesses. As major users of the freight transport system, DuPont and other ACC member companies are important stakeholders for transportation policy, he said.
Johnston said that the nation’s transportation infrastructure is old and requires attention. He commended the Committee for taking action to address major transportation infrastructure issues including the passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
“This is a step in the right direction, and we urge the Committee to consider similar initiatives to benefit other modes of freight transportation,” he said.
Johnston testified that DuPont and ACC members remain committed to pursuing safety enhancements throughout the transportation process through the industry’s Responsible Care® initiative. He also recognized the importance of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) for establishing a comprehensive national regulatory system to regulate the safety of transporting hazardous materials and asked for the Committee’s continued support of the program.
Turning to the issue of rail competition, Johnston called for reforms to promote a cost-effective rail transportation system that enables American manufacturers to compete in a global marketplace. Johnston said that railroad consolidation and outdated freight rail policies have led to a 76 percent increase in freight rail rates over the last decade – nearly three times the rate of inflation.
“It is time to re-examine the decades-old policy with the needs of the 21st-century in view,” Johnston said. “We further believe that market-based competition can lead to greater innovation and improvements in rail service, as it does throughout other sectors of the U.S. economy.”
He concluded by urging Congress to adequately support improvements to the nation’s infrastructure, reauthorize HMTA, reform federal rail policy to promote greater access to rail competition and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Surface Transportation Board.
You can read Johnston’s full written testimony here.