* Rail trade group expects 10,000 new hires in 2011
* Speculation of new rules hasn't hit spending-trade group
By Emily Stephenson
WASHINGTON, March 9 Freight railroads plan to
spend a record $12 billion on hiring new employees, laying down
new track, and other capital projects in 2011, an industry
group said on Wednesday.
The Association of American Railroads, whose members
include Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO), Union Pacific
(UNP.N), Norfolk Southern (NSC.N), and CSX CSX.N, said
freight railroads intend to hire about 10,000 new employees
"Even during the worst recession in a generation, freight
railroads have been plowing record amounts of private capital
back into the rail network each and every year, achieving one
of the highest capital investment rates of any U.S. industry,"
association chief executive Edward Hamberger said in a
The group -- representing major freight railroads in the
United States, Mexico and Canada -- said its members set the
previous record for capital spending in 2010, when the industry
invested $10.7 billion.
Freight rail capital spending averaged $10 billion during
the last three years.
The increase in investment comes at a time when President
Barack Obama has touted plans to boost American manufacturing
and raise exports.
"One-third of all exports get to port on the back of a rail
car," Hamberger said. "If we're going to double those exports,
we need to make sure that there's enough freight rail
Freight railroads have come under some scrutiny from
Congress in the last year. A handful of senators have
introduced legislation that would put railroads under tougher
competition rules and expand the authority of the Surface
Hamberger said CEOs represented by his association have
expressed concern that increased regulation could hamper their
ability to continue investments, but he added that those
worries haven't hurt capital spending to date.
"The fact that they are doing well allows us to plow $12
billion back into the infrastructure," he said.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)