Monday, March 17, 2014

Industry rallies for freight rail on Capitol Hill

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Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL, 10), center, with representatives of the rail industry at a meeting on March 13, 2014. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL, 10), center, with representatives of the rail industry at a meeting on March 13, 2014.

Representatives from Class 1s, shortlines, suppliers, as well as other railroad supporters joined forces on Thursday, March 13, to take part in Railroad Day on Capitol Hill, the industry's annual event to advocate for freight rail-related issues.

 

The event's partnering associations, which include the Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC), Railway Supply Institute, Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc., Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association and Railway Tie Association, say Railroad Day on Capitol Hill is "the single most effective way to get our message to Congress."

Approximately 550 registrants delivered that message in 360 appointments with elected officials and their staff. This year's event focused on three key points including extending the 45G tax credit for shortline railroads (H.R. 721 and S. 411), preserving balanced regulation and opposing bigger and heavier trucks (H.R. 612).

Chuck Baker, president of NRC, said the day went well with great turnout from throughout the industry and added, "these folks have gotten very good at telling our story on the hill over the last decade."

Regarding the 45G tax credit, Baker said additional cosponsors of the bill were picked up due to railroad representative visits, but said, "we, unfortunately, can't report great progress about moving a tax bill anytime soon."

Baker said support came from "both sides of the aisle and both sides of the capitol on keeping current balanced regulatory system for freight rail," as well as for keeping current truck size and weight limits as is.

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