Mineta: Transportation industry on uptrend

An improved economy appears to be boosting the transportation industry, according to remarks made September 7 by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in Erie PA.

“We're seeing record-high levels of transportation activity around the country. More people are flying our airlines and driving our roads, more trucks are hauling our cargo, and more trains are filling our rail lines.”

Mineta commented on the economy at a GE Transportation locomotive plant, where the company is expected to have more freight car orders to fill than in the past five years.

Improvements in the railroad industry seem to parallel those expected for the trucking industry. He said that in North Carolina, a heavy-duty truck manufacturer is adding a third shift and nearly 600 new full-time jobs in response to the improving North American market for 18-wheelers.

Other good signs for the transportation industry are reflected at the ports on the West Coast, where officials report a surge in business that has prompted the hiring of 3,000 dock workers to handle containers, the first new dock workers hired there since 1997.

Another positive, Mineta said, is the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the marine trade corridor between Europe and North America's agricultural and manufacturing heartland. The seaway is having one of its busiest seasons in a decade. Shipments of iron, steel, grain, and petroleum are all on the upswing.

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