The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) President and CEO Michael Johnson issued the following statement on the recent crisis facing freight rail shippers and its impact to the aggregates industry. NSSGA recently submitted comments to the Surface Transportation Board detailing these issues and urging action.
“Our members use freight rail as a method to supply aggregates and industrial sand around the country to build infrastructure and our communities,” Johnson stated. “The recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has only increased the demand for product to update our crumbling infrastructure. The poor and deteriorating service faced by freight rail shippers has critically put a strain on companies to successfully supply customers and build projects around the country. This is unacceptable, not just for our members but for our entire country, as this is a crisis that creates a ripple effect that will harm the livelihoods of all Americans. Increases in shipping costs and longer service times will create price increases and delays to building new water systems, modernizing our transportation networks, ports and airports and ensuring materials are reaching communities to create new housing, schools and hospitals.
“There are several potential steps that we have proposed to alleviate these issues,” Johnson said. “For example, NSSGA supports expanded availability of reciprocal switching and the Surface Transportation Board (STB) efforts of data collection on first mile/last mile movement with transparency and metrics. We thank the STB for holding this week’s hearing and urge them to take swift action so our nation’s infrastructure materials can continue being delivered on time.”