The economy of Texas stands to significantly benefit from public-private partnerships investing in shortline railroads. That revelation comes from a panel at the Southwestern Rail Conference in Dallas this week that included Paul Treangen, CEO of TNW Corp.; Jeff Van Schaick, vice president of governmental affairs for Genesee & Wyoming; Ken Lucht, director of governmental affairs for Watco; and David Arganbright, vice president of government affairs for OmniTrax.
“We’re trying to get people to wrap their heads around the fact that we aren’t a special interest group,” Arganbright says. “We are a means to build the economy and invest in communities. Investing in short lines is a huge multiplier of every tax dollar spent.”
Forty-one shortline railroads operate in Texas. They compose 20 percent of the total rail miles in the state. Most of these companies were formed after the Staggers Act allowed Class I railroads to divest spurs and branch lines that failed to turn a profit.