The US has one of the highest rail passenger passenger growth rates in the world, but the industry is struggling to find the right infrastructure to keep it going.
According to a new study from US firm CB Insights, the freight rail industry is now worth about $13.5 trillion, or 1.7 percent of the US economy.
That’s a big slice of the country’s $19 trillion GDP, but it’s dwarfed by the US’s top four industries, according to CB Insight’s analysis of US data.
The study looked at how much money each rail line made per passenger, as well as how it grew and shrank over the last 15 years.
The report also looked at other types of revenue, such as profits for railroads and the freight industry as a whole.
Overall, the study found that the freight rails industry grew an average of 4.2 percent per year over the past 15 years, but that they had more than doubled their size.
They now account for nearly 50 percent of US GDP.
CB Insults the freight freight industry The American Taxpayers Union, which published the study, called CB Insorts’ analysis “irresponsible” and “irrelevant” in a blog post.
“While the freight business is one of our most significant and profitable industries, it is not alone in its challenges,” the union said.
“Its size is only one factor that contributes to the difficulty in getting freight trains to where they need to go, and its growth in size and volume is the result of a long history of neglect by the railroads.”
The union added that CB Insort’s methodology “fails to take into account the many factors that have contributed to freight growth, including regulatory and regulatory burdens, a weak economic recovery and increasing competition from other industries, including other modes of transport.”
In a statement to Reuters, CB Insuits general manager of freight railroads, Brian Mancuso, said that the company’s analysis was “very accurate,” adding that its data is accurate.
“Our industry is growing, and we continue to add capacity, which is an important part of the freight network,” he said.
He also noted that his company had increased the number of rail cars it was carrying by almost 20 percent during the past year.
“In the last five years, we have added over 1.2 million railcars,” MancUSo said.
But CB Insors study also makes some assumptions.
“It assumes the rail companies have the infrastructure in place to handle the load of freight coming in and out of their stations,” Mincuso said in a statement.
“However, the Federal Railroad Administration has noted that the rail industry’s reliance on federal grants and loans for rail infrastructure is unsustainable and is creating problems that are preventing the industry from growing.
CBinsights says the freight passenger growth rate is “not an accurate reflection of actual passenger traffic” The CB Insakes report does note that the number that is “actually passenger-carrying” in the United States has fallen. “
We do not believe that this assumption is correct, and it is our intent to explore ways to ensure the freight market can be resilient and grow in the long run,” Moccuso added.
CBinsights says the freight passenger growth rate is “not an accurate reflection of actual passenger traffic” The CB Insakes report does note that the number that is “actually passenger-carrying” in the United States has fallen.
However, it also notes that the “current freight passenger density” has grown at a rate that “is much faster than the trend in passenger traffic.”
“This growth is a result of many factors, including a lack of capacity, the introduction of new technologies and an aging population,” the report says.
It also notes a recent study by US freight rail company FirstRail that found that between 2010 and 2013, the number “actually carrying passenger-carrier passenger volumes” fell by more than 60 percent.