Full Title: Back on Track: Bringing Rail Safety to the 21st Century
Author(s): Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (AII)
Publisher(s): Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (AII)
Publication Date: 08/2015
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Rapid improvements in oil-extraction technology, and the resulting increase in domestic oil production, have helped produced significant economic opportunities for the U.S. While pipeline infrastructure has historically been the preferred method for transporting large volumes of energy products, these largely underground “energy highways” have not kept up with demand. Because pipelines constitute fixed infrastructure, connectivity between gathering and endpoints is crucial. The discovery and extraction of oil reserves from new production fields such as the Bakken have not always aligned with existing pipeline infrastructure.
While new projects have been proposed, the capital investment and time required to develop new infrastructure, along with a slow permitting process, has hindered the industry’s ability to meet new demand. Added to this, recent anti fossil fuel opponents have successfully targeted new pipeline infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL project, which has made energy transportation by pipeline even more difficult. This transportation void has instead been primarily filled by rail, although trucking and waterborne traffic has also increased.