During the visit, rail officials discussed the importance of small freight railroads in Michigan with the congressman and provided an overview of why the shortline railroad rehabilitation tax credit is so important to the rail industry. Marquette Rail showcased how it has utilized the tax credit for tie installation work at its rail yard. Rep. Huizenga has been a co-sponsor of the bill to extend the tax credit, H.R. 721 The Short Line Railroad Rehabilitation and Investment Act, since May of 2011.
Rep. Huizenga also met with Harsco Rail employees. Harsco Rail was on property performing surfacing work for Marquette Rail. Most shortline railroads do not have the in-house manpower to undertake rehabilitation projects and must hire contractors, such as Harsco, to do the work. Huizenga received a firsthand look at what goes into rail maintenance when he climbed aboard one of Harsco's tampers.
The tour gave Harsco Rail, a member of the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, a chance to demonstrate to Rep. Huizenga how rail contractors benefit from investments that freight railroads make in their infrastructure and about the economic development opportunities that freight railroads and their contractors bring to a region.