OMAHA, Neb. — When Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of July 1, 1862, creating the original Union Pacific, his vision for the transcontinental railroad was to connect a nation from east to west.
While Lincoln did not live to see the completion of the transcontinental railroad, his vision was fulfilled. Along the way, more than 7,000 cities and towns began as Union Pacific depots and water stops.
As Union Pacific celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2012, it carries on Lincoln’s vision by connecting America to the global economy. Nearly 40 percent of Union Pacific’s freight originates or terminates outside of the U.S.
Strong transportation infrastructure is critical to businesses, consumers and the economy. Union Pacific plans to invest a record $3.6 billion in 2012, adding to the more than $31 billion it spent from 2000 to 2011.
Union Pacific expects to hire 4,000 to 4,500 employees in 2012, depending on the economy.
“We are investing in America’s transportation infrastructure so taxpayers don’t have to,” said Jim Young, Union Pacific chairman and CEO. “Looking to the future, our railroad will continue helping this country improve its competitive position globally by investing billions in capital, creating well-paying jobs and providing safe, environmentally responsible transportation.”
Speaking of Union Pacific’s environmental responsibilities, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the company will pay $1.5 million for Clean Water Act violations in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming rail yards and along rail lines in all three states.
As part of the settlement, Union Pacific will pay a civil penalty of $1.5 million, of which approximately $1.4 million will be deposited in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. That fund is used by federal agencies to respond to oil spills. The remaining $100,000 will be deposited in the U.S. Treasury for coal spills and storm water violations.
According to the EPA, the settlement will benefit many communities by requiring Union Pacific to install secondary containment systems to prevent oil spills, and to designate an environmental vice president responsible for compliance with oil spill prevention and storm water control for 20 railyards. The Wyoming towns impacted by the settlement are Bill, Buford, Cheyenne, Green River, Laramie and Rawlins.
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