BY DENNIS SHINGLETON -  Special to the Star-Telegram

If the North Texas economy were a living organism, our roads, runways, rails and other infrastructure would be the skeleton, with freight rail tracks serving as the backbone that keeps the entire body upright and strong.

Freight trains bring in the raw materials local manufacturers need be productive and the items consumers want to see on store shelves, and they carry the finished goods produced in the Metroplex for distribution to markets across the nation and around the globe.

A new study quantifies for the first time just how vital the freight rail network is to our local, state and national economies.

The report from the Towson University Regional Economic Studies Institute says the nation’s major railroads created more than $274 billion in economic activity and generated nearly $33 billion in tax revenues while supporting nearly 1.5 million jobs across the economy in 2014 alone.
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