Evaluation of the Social Cost of Modal Diversion: A Multi-Modal Safety Analysis
Sage, Jeremy L.
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A multifaceted controversy surrounds the evolving use of rail lines for the movement of coal and oil out of the Midwest to West Coast ports. From environmental concerns over blowing coal dust, to recent catastrophic derailments and subsequent explosions of rail cars carrying Bakken oil out of North Dakota, to the closure of the Cold Train Express from Quincy to Chicago and the massive delays on obtaining rail cars for Midwest grain, the Northern Corridor rail lines are undoubtedly in a state of change and necessary evaluations. Multiple agencies, from state and federal departments of transportation, to the USDA and state Ecology Department, have ramped up interest and involvement in the development of future planning and policy. As each of the above interests and concerns are addressed, the interplay of capacity, safety, efficiency, and reliability will, and has, impacted Washington agricultural producers. This begins the development of the necessary economic performance metrics in line with the needs of the agricultural and transportation communities.