Rail Traffic in Iowa Continues to be Down

(Radio Iowa) The Iowa D-O-T continues to see trends in rail traffic that show economic challenges. Stuart Anderson gave and update to the Transportation Commission.

“The rail carloads continue to be down both on a monthly basis comparing March of this year with s March of last year — but also year to date. You can see it’s down point-three percent,” he says. Anderson says grains shipments are one area where things have been down.

“Although I think there is some information from USDA that they do feel like there is with increased export agreements with China that they expect that trend to shift here in the coming month,” Anderson says. He says the intermodel shipments from ports into Iowa are also down. Anderson says there is one bright side on the rail shipping front.

“Motor vehicle shipment on rail cars continues to be higher than we’ve seen in the last year, which is is a good time that people are still buying cars,” Anderson says. His report also shows the drop in travel on the roadways in December and January was likely due to winter weather, as things have picked back up.

“We would say overall the travel is generally back to the pre-pandemic levels. But still with those shifts that we’ve talked about in the past — where municipal traffic continues to be a little down and rural traffic a little high, just reflecting the more teleworking that’s happening across the workforce,” Anderson says. Anderson made his comments in a work session prior to today’s (Tuesday) Transportation Commission meeting.