Past Events

Make it in Appalachia Listen & Learn: Appalachia’s Competitive Edge in Carbon-Friendly Freight Transportation

By June 22, 2023No Comments

Thursday, June 22 at 3 pm

The Ohio River Valley is a central and strategically located hub in the United States, making it within eight hours or less of almost 65% of the population of the US and Canada. It’s economy was also built around more carbon-friendly, albeit neglected, modes of transportation—waterways and rail. It is a major waterway that provides access to the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. The Appalachian region is also home to several major railroads.

Unfortunately, these more efficient forms of transporting goods have been neglected for nearly a century. The series of recent train derailments is testimony this fact. By 2039, the American Society of Civil Engineers forecasts that continued underinvestment in infrastructure if continued costs the national economy:

-$10 trillion in lost GDP

-over 3 million jobs lost

-over $2.4 trillion in lost exports

New areas of the future for transportation include electric vehicles, sustainable and advanced locomotive and battery production, improved transportation logistics, shipping alternatives by rail, harbors and rivers, port electrification, upgrading and expanding both passenger and freight rail lines as well as safer railroad operations, enhanced intermodal freight options and smart transportation alternatives with better funding are essential.

In this Make it in Appalachia Listen and Learn webinar, we discussed how these strategies will ReImagine the Ohio River Valley region’s competitive edge for advanced and sustainable manufacturing.

Speakers included:

  • Lou Tierno: (Moderator) Director of the Pennsylvania Sustainable Business Network and Decarbonize Middle America Program Manager at the Center for Sustainable Business at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Michael Zimmer: Executive in Residence & Professional Fellow -Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Service at Ohio University
  • Kari Thompson: Director of Education for United Electrical Workers (Wabtec)
  • Ann Sokalski: Customer Solutions Senior Manager- Supply Chain Sustainability UPS
  • Justine Russo: Director of Sustainability and Business Intelligence at PITT Ohio