The Roundup -

Walsh releases federal report on train congestion, calls for Congressional Action


Senator calls for investment in Montana’s transportation infrastructure to increase safety, ease congestion

Senator John Walsh today released a federal report that chronicles the growth of rail traffic and its impact on local communities.

Walsh in March commissioned the report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO). After Walsh called for the report, the GAO sent researchers across the country, including to Billings, Glendive, and Williston, ND, to assess recent rail traffic trends, particularly those patterns associated with the oil boom in the Bakken.

The report calls for Congressional attention to federal infrastructure investments related to congestion relief as major freight lines often go through city centers and can pose a challenge to public safety.

“This report shows we have a lot of work ahead of us to protect local communities as freight traffic increases on Montana roads and railways,” Walsh said. “That means keeping up with the pace of good jobs created in the Bakken by adopting policies to relieve freight congestion. I’m committed to working with my colleagues and willing partners in the rail industry to pass a strong, long-term highway bill that prioritizes public and private investment in rail and road infrastructure.”

The Department of Transportation expects freight traffic to rise 51% in tonnage from 2007 to 2040, in part due to limited oil pipeline capacity.

The GAO’s full report is available at


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