Rep. David Joyce (R-OH-14) joined Quality Track Equipment and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) for a tour Aug. 15 at the company’s Austinburg, Ohio, facility.
“Everyone at Quality Track Equipment and Delta Railroad Construction thanks [Rep. Joyce] for his hard work and leadership on transportation issues in Washington and his continued support of railroads and the railroad industry,” said former NRC Chairman and President of Delta Railroad Construction Larry Laurello following the event. “We are proud that our companies create well-paying jobs in Ashtabula County and that we serve a long list of repeat customers here in Ohio, throughout the United States and in Canada.”
NRC said Quality Track Equipment, a division of Delta Railroad Construction, Inc., has long been a leader in the industry. The company is known for re-manufacturing maintenance-of-way equipment to “like new” condition, the association said.
Quality Track Equipment focuses mainly on the production of chase tampers, in addition to other products. The company re-manufacture equipment that was produced in the 1980s and later, with the aim of incorporating new technologies and upgrades.
Those who participated in the tour also took part in a brief discussion regarding transportation policy, particularly the importance of the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act.
Officials called for maintaining current federal limits for truck size and weight, noting that at current weight and size limits, trucks cause more damage than they pay for along U.S. highways. Maintaining the federal limits for truck size and weight were supported by Ashtabula County board members in attendance, as well, NRC said in a statement.
“The short line railroad tax credit, which would be made permanent by the BRACE Act, is an essential piece of the economic puzzle, allowing short lines to invest more of their own capital in rail improvements and maintenance to provide ever-safer and more robust service capabilities for their customers,” said Judy Petry, chair of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). “ASLRRA thanks Congressman Joyce for his support on this important issue.”
Attendees at the tour also discussed the need for private contractors, who use unionized labor, to be eligible to compete for more track maintenance work along some of the nation’s long-standing transit systems, such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway in New York and Washington’s Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail systems.
Such transit systems contract out less track maintenance compared to other transit systems.
“Currently, these transit systems contract out less track maintenance than other transit systems and do not utilize taxpayer money efficiently with their in-house track employees,” NRC said in a statement.
The tour was lead by Steve Pratt, Quality Track Equipment’s general manager.