U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-03) visited the Stella-Jones Corporation Oct. 19 for a tour of the company’s railroad tie plant in Bangor, Wis.
Stella-Jones is a member company of the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), which helped to organize the event.
“We are very excited that Rep Kind has taken the time to tour our facility in Bangor,” said NRC Board member and Stella-Jones Vice President of Marketing George Caric. “Our Bangor facility has been a key supplier to the wood tie industry for many years. Treated wood crossties are a key component to the strength of the North American rail network. A strong rail network is key to supporting sustainable transportation throughout North America.”
Stella-Jones is manufactures pressure-treated wood products with 37 wood treating facilities located throughout 16 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces, officials said.
The company’s Bangor, Wis., facility is a key supplier of treated wood products for the railroad industry, and the Bangor plant supplies crossties and switch ties to Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, the Montana Rail Link and many contractors, NRC explained.
The Bangor facility currently has the capacity of 1.5 million ties per year, which are supplied from about 200 sawmills throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, officials said.
“It was a privilege to tour Stella-Jones Corporation, where I saw firsthand the importance of supporting Wisconsin’s manufacturers with pro-growth international trade partnerships and policies,” Kind said. “Wisconsin is home to a robust rail infrastructure system, which connects our businesses and farms with neighboring states and neighboring countries. It is important we continue to improve and expand our state’s rail infrastructure and keep Wisconsin’s economy moving forward.”
He has represented Wisconsin in Congress since 1997 and is a senior member of the House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction regarding economic and trade policy and is the chief tax writing committee in the House.
Kind is also the former chair of the New Democrat Coalition, a caucus of 68 moderate House Democrats who are committed to pro-economic growth policies.
Kind and attendees participated in a policy discussion, during which officials stressed the importance of not increasing truck size or truck weight limits at the federal level.
Stella-Jones employees thanked Kind for his support as a co-sponsor on the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act, which would allow the small, local freight railroads in the U.S. to raise their reinvestments in upgrades and expanding the “first and last mile” of transportation infrastructure.
“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 Rep. Kind for his long-term support on this important issue.”
The NRC and the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) worked together to coordinate the event.