The industry's annual single day blitz of congressional officials brought more than 400 industry representatives to Washington, D.C., on March 3.
The group of 440 Class 1 and shortline railroaders, industry suppliers, rail customers and other industry stakeholders attended a record number of appointments during the 2016 Railroad Day on Capitol Hill.
Issues discussed included preserving balanced regulation, opposing bigger and heavier trucks and preservation of the shortline tax credit, also known as the 45G tax credit.
Days before Railroad Day on Capitol Hill, the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy Act (BRACE Act) was introduced to both the House of Representatives (H.R. 4626) and Senate (S.2595). The BRACE Act would make the tax credit shortline railroads receive for track maintenance permanent. The tax credit was originally brought into play in 2004 and in a series of extensions, many retroactive, has been in effect since then. The latest extension expires at the end of 2016.
According to American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), the tax credit has enabled shortline railroads to increase their infrastructure investment by 128 percent from its inception in 2004 through 2013, the final year prior to the 2015 extension. ASLRRA explains that over the life of the credit, shortline capital investment has ranged between 24 to 31 percent of annual revenues, significantly higher than most other industries in the country.
“Railroad Day is our single most impactful day of the year with Congressional leaders. Representation from labor, Class 1s, shortlines and shipper customers provided support for a record 355 hill appointments on March 3,” said Linda Darr, president, ASLRRA. “We had the opportunity to address issues of importance to our industry and the shipper customers we serve, including the BRACE Act, which seeks permanency to the 45G tax credit, status quo on truck size and weight and continuation of a balanced regulatory environment.”