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Prosperity and job growth emanate from the private sector. The government’s role is to establish an environment for the private sector to do what it does best. When it comes to the nation’s transportation system, the federal government plays a significant role in policy and funding.
Railroads are critical to freight movement throughout the United States. The railroad industry's investment in infrastructure alone will not be enough to handle the U.S. Department of Transportation's prediction that freight transportation demand will rise 92% by 2035 from 2002 levels.
Given that a strong transportation system is a key factor in economic development, transportation performance indexes are created for every state and the District of Columbia in addition to a national index. The state-by-state results are derived using the same methodology and the same indicators except where data is not available on a statewide basis.