An estimate released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) projects that the nation’s freight railroads will spend approximately $26 billion to build, maintain and upgrade their nationwide rail network in 2014. This continues a decades-long trend of private railroad dollars being used to maintain and upgrade the nation’s freight rail network rather than tax dollars going towards it. Edward R. Hamberger, AAR President and CEO, stated the freight railroads have invested approximately $550 billion of their own money into the rail network since 1980, $115 billion of which was in the last five years alone. The freight rail infrastructure, including bridges, tunnels, tracks and facilities, are constantly being maintained and upgraded to keep up with evolving economic needs such as the increased demand for intermodal shipping. It is also estimated that freight railroads will hire more than 12,000 employees in 2014 in all areas of the industry across the nation.