Our Economic Impact

Our Economic Impact

Union Pacific exists to build America. Our positive economic impact isn't just a by product of our business; it's central to our vision and purpose.

Our railroad connects communities and resources, generating opportunity and supporting growth in the 23 states where we operate, and across the country. We create economic value not only through returns generated for shareholders, but also employment for roughly 43,000 employees, the business we give suppliers, and every business opportunity, commercial relationship and innovative idea our network makes possible.

Investing in Infrastructure

Union Pacific's capital investments create economic opportunity, through employment and supply chain activity. They also represent investments in building a sustainable rail network that can support economic growth for generations to come. The more we invest in building a safe and efficient railroad today, the more opportunity our infrastructure can support communities going forward.

The chart on this page shows the level of infrastructure capital investments Union Pacific made in 2016.

Infrastructure replacement

Our largest form of capital investment strengthens our rail network through track, signal and bridge replacement projects.

Locomotives and equipment

New and upgraded locomotives, rail cars and equipment investments to meet customer needs, enhance safety and reduce our environmental impact.

Capacity and commercial facilities

New commercial facilities and network expansions increase capacity to support economic growth and opportunities to serve new locations.

Positive train control (PTC)

An advanced, automatic train stopping system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions and accidents caused by excessive train speeds or unauthorized movements, helping to build a safer rail network.


From apps managing train systems to enhanced track inspection systems, we continually invest in new technologies to enhance safety, efficiency and service.

View More


(In Millions)
Building America Report 2016: Capital Investment

Creating Local Economic Opportunity

Union Pacific Railroad owns and operates more than 32,000 miles of railroad track in 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States. We create economic opportunities for local communities through direct employment with Union Pacific and the opportunities created by local employee spending. Our capital investments create additional jobs and business opportunities through our supply chain. The following chart shows Union Pacific's economic impact in the 23 states where we operate. In the following pages, we explore other local economic opportunities we support.

State Employees Payroll* Route Miles Capital Investment* In State Purchases*
Arizona 1,126 104.5 691 59.5 26.5
Arkansas 2,654 226.7 1,325 133.6 34.7
California 4,450 414.3 3,291 230.1 231.0
Colorado 948 96.5 1,503 82.2 124.8
Idaho 817 79.2 848 47.7 18.4
Illinois 4,004 344.7 2,318 129.9 1,200.0
Iowa 1,563 135.3 1,383 62.4 72.3
Kansas 1,283 126.0 2,196 75.4 220.8
Louisiana 1,121 112.9 1,143 131.1 18.8
Minnesota 418 38.4 645 11.4 112.3
Missouri 2,445 210.7 1,541 87.9 406.9
Montana 11 0.9 125 1.5 2.4
Nebraska 8,741 926.7 1,066 251.4 154.0
Nevada 502 42.6 1,193 54.6 5.8
New Mexico 474 45.0 618 14.6 1.3
Oklahoma 333 36.7 1,172 90.1 171.1
Oregon 1,515 134.9 1,073 75.5 157.6
Tennessee 49 3.8 14 0.0 58.7
Texas 7,356 692.4 6,307 801.9 1,400.0
Utah 1,239 116.5 1,248 45.2 138.6
Washington 311 28.3 532 20.1 129.3
Wisconsin 378 38.4 930 7.3 55.0
Wyoming 1,070 87.8 874 55.1 46.1

*In millions

Local Economic Opportunities

Connecting Arizona To The World

The Port of Tucson is a vital logistics hub connecting Arizona and northern Mexico with the world. Through access to the Pacific seaports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the port enables transportation for commodities such as lumber, sheetrock, steel and grain, stimulating trade on both sides of the border. Thanks to a $5 million investment modernizing the port, funded through a federal TIGER 2013 grant, this capacity to drive economic growth has significantly increased. In May 2016, Union Pacific announced a new container export facility completion and an expansion of the port's rail infrastructure. Improvements included siding track extensions, powered switches that increase train and operating efficiencies and a new main line switch to increase the flexibility of operations at the site.

Building America Report 2016 - Port of Tucson, AZ ribbon cutting

Union Pacific joined local, state and federal officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Port of Tucson, Arizona. Photo was not taken on live track.

Keeping Freight Moving In Oregon

Rail passengers, businesses and the environment will benefit from the public private partnership announced by Union Pacific, BNSF and the state of Oregon. The partnership will support a $13 million investment to improve the North Portland Junction, one of the most congested points in the region's rail network. The junction connects Portland's rail network with that of Washington, and markets across the country.

Building America Report 2016 - Oregon map

A public-private partnership will improve rail congestion in Oregon.

Building a South Texas Road Network – Through Rail

The economic potential of the southern Texas region faces one major constraint – a lack of stone deposits to help the road infrastructure required for growth. Union Pacific and aggregates supplier Martin Marietta are changing that.

Medina Rock & Rail, a new quarry 40 miles west of San Antonio, supports concrete demand more than 200 miles away. Rock and other heavy freight move on Martin Marietta and Union Pacific's rail infrastructure, including one of the largest privately-funded rail projects in the United States. Medina Rock & Rail's connection to Union Pacific's main line and loading technology that fills 135-car trains in six hours has secured South Texas stone supplies for the next half-century.

Building America Report 2016 - Martin Marietta aggregate train

Building a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 69 in Texas recently required more than half a million tons of Martin Marietta's aggregate moved on Union Pacific trains.

Enabling Innovation and Sustainability

The rail infrastructure that Union Pacific maintains and operates doesn't just support business as usual. It's also an innovation enabler. By helping businesses source new types of raw material, and forming new partnerships, our network supports the transition toward a more sustainable economy.

Connecting Louisiana Wood Pellets With The World's Energy Suppliers

Wood pellets are one of the most versatile forms of biomass, a renewable alternative to fossil fuels produced by compressing organic material from trees, plants and agricultural and urban waste. Thanks to Union Pacific, wood pellets produced in Louisiana are now playing a key role in generating electricity in the United Kingdom. During the year, Union Pacific hauled 300,000 tons of wood pellets from Louisiana destined for the U.K., helping its countries meet their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. During the first half of 2016, biomass accounted for 20 percent of the U.K.'s renewable energy output.

Delivering Biodiesel To High Traffic States

Biodiesel is a cleaner alternative fuel produced from renewable products such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil, corn oil and animal fats that reduces greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by between 57 percent and 87 percent. Union Pacific is playing a key role in the expanding demand for biodiesel, transporting the fuel from the Midwest – where 70 percent of production takes place, to California, Texas and other states seeking low-carbon fuel. During 2016, Union Pacific hauled enough biodiesel to replace 324 million gallons of petroleum.

Building America Report 2016 - Compressed wood pellets

Compressed wood pellets are unloaded off a railcar at a Drax Biomass facility.

Connecting Glass Cullet to Nationwide Energy Saving

Glass bottles and jars are 100 percent recyclable. By moving the broken glass, called cullet, used to make new glass and fiberglass materials, Union Pacific contributes to this process. Every ton of recycled glass saves sand, soda ash and limestone. Recycling glass also saves energy and equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last three years, cullet moved by Union Pacific has saved enough sand to fill more than 2,000 professional beach volleyball courts.

Building America Report 2016 - Broken glass

Union Pacific transports broken glass used to make products such as insulation.

Generating Opportunity Through Our Supply Chain

Union Pacific spent more than $6 billion through our network of more than 53,000 suppliers during 2016. Our supply chain includes businesses in every one of the 23 states in which we operate, and this spending represents a significant portion of the economic impact our business generates.

Union Pacific was the first U.S. railroad to establish a supplier diversity program more than 30 years ago. Suppliers support our operations with fuel, engineering services, construction materials and much more. Union Pacific purchased approximately $325 million goods and services from more than 500 minority and women-owned businesses in nearly 40 states. Our spending with diverse suppliers grew an average of more than 2 percent from 2008 to 2016. Approx-imately 45 percent of our critical suppliers reported purchasing goods and services from diverse suppliers, demonstrating their support for our diversity initiative, a 4 percent increase from 2015.