Blame Chicago For Freight Delays

By Freddie Pierce
The modern American supply chain has succeeded in taming the continent with astonishing precision - but the Midwest's heartland of darkness remains...

The modern American supply chain has succeeded in taming the continent with astonishing precision - but the Midwest's heartland of darkness remains a holdout.

Under current circumstances, freight trains make L.A. to Chicago in two days flat - only to languish for another day crossing Chicago.

Shippers are growing frustrated with a state of affairs that's taxing to both their industry and their patience. The pace of movement through the train gridlock of the Windy City tends to average a speed of just over 1 mph - about as fast as a mellow stroll.

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The reasons why are complex, with a number of competing train companies with their own storied histories finding it difficult to cooperate. But more broadly, the problem underlines the country's severe penury in vital infrastructure - especially in transportation.

This kind of inefficiency is bad for all of us: it loses money, it dissatisfies consumers, and it hardens the government against reform. It's past time for a coordinated effort by all relevant social actors to bring American infrastructure into the 21st century - and cross Chicago in less than a day.

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