BNSF and Union Pacific's operations in Nebraska contributed greatly to the state's economic development in 2011, writes Richard Piersol. The Class I's put about 12,000 Nebraskans to work last year. Shipments of agricultural products, ethanol and coal helped fuel the state's economy, which is why "Nebraskans have highly vested interests in the nation's two biggest, most prosperous railroads," according to Piersol.

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