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EDWIN L. HARPER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS, RESPONDS TO DOT SURVEY ON NAFTA AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Edwin L. Harper, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Railroads, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) survey on NAFTA and infrastructure needs:
 "America's railroads applaud Secretary Pena's efforts, in the wake of NAFTA, to improve the flow of commerce across U.S. borders. NAFTA represents great new opportunities for the U.S. economy and for railroads.
 "The rail industry supports a more unified approach to the important task of streamlining border crossing procedures. Federal agencies should work together to coordinate U.S. inspection and regulation at the borders. Currently, several U.S. agencies -- including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Customs and the U.S. Department of Transportation -- have jurisdiction over border issues. The Association of American Railroads -- whose members include the major U.S., Mexican and Canadian rail carriers -- proposes that one U.S. agency should take the lead in coordinating these varied tasks. We believe the Department of Transportation would be an excellent candidate.
 "The major U.S. railroads have created a high-level cross-border task force to address rail transportation issues. The task force is scheduled to meet for the first time next week in Chicago. Its mission is to develop a detailed and comprehensive plan for institutional reform at U.S. borders, concentrating on the U.S.-Mexican border.
 "While the study released today by DOT concludes that the biggest barriers to effective cross-border transportation are procedural, infrastructure development is still important. U.S. railroads have made a significant commitment to improving U.S.-Mexico cross-border transportation capacity. Some examples:
 -- Burlington Northern Railroad and Protexa, a Mexican company, last year began a joint venture (in partnership with the National Railways of Mexico) to operate a cross-border rail-barge service through Galveston, Texas, to points in Mexico.
 -- Union Pacific Railroad and the National Railways of Mexico are jointly developing a project that includes constructing a modern rail bridge at Laredo, Texas, and relocating rail lines in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The proposed bridge will increase UP's capacity for moving rail traffic between the U.S. and Mexico. Construction of the bridge -- which would be built completely with rail industry funds -- is slated to begin in 1994, with completion scheduled within 3-4 years,
 -- CSX is developing a rail-barge cross-border transport service.
 -- Santa Fe Railway is constructing a $100 million intermodal facility and carload transportation center in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex to handle North American freight. Scheduled to open this spring, the facility will serve as a gateway for emerging traffic to and from Mexico.
 -- Southern Pacific Railroad will be upgrading facilities at many of its gateway support locations, which include Mexicali, Calif., Nogalez, Ariz.; Eagle Pass, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; El Paso, Texas; and Laredo."
 -0- 1/11/94
 /CONTACT: John Hartnett of the Association of American Railroads, 202-639-2549/


CO: Association of American Railroads; U.S. Department of
 Transportation ST: District of Columbia IN: TRN SU: EXE


DT-KD -- DC014 -- 0971 01/11/94 11:45 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 11, 1994
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