On Nov. 17, Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS-4) joined representatives from Budde Enterprises Inc. and the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad for a tour at Budde's Newton, Kan., facility.
Budde Enterprises began operating out of Newton in 1965, when owner Bill Budde bought a local farm. Budde has since grown to be a leading supply, repair and custom fabrication shop serving the transportation and agricultural industries.
Budde Enterprises handles various rail related repair and fabrication work including hi-rail vehicles and on track equipment.
Erin Mosiman, Budde Enterprises’ administration executive, led the tour. The group viewed a new expansion of the facility, which is designed to improve efficiency and accommodate a recent merger.
“It was a privilege hosting Congressman Estes, the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad and our state and local partners today,” Mosiman said. “Our family and company has been focused on a single mission since beginning in Newton: providing high quality services and supporting our employees and community. Smart federal policies that encourage investments in our rail network and infrastructure support jobs here in Newton and across our state. We were pleased to the share the importance of rail to our state and community with the Congressman.”
Also in attendance were Carrie Budde, owner of Budde Enterprises; Casey Harbour, commercial manager of the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad; Rusty Krehbiel, general manager at Budde Enterprises; Davonna Moore, assistant bureau chief of Transportation Planning, Kansas Department of Transportation; Jennifer Mueller, retention & expansion manager at Harvey County Economic Development; Beth Shelton, executive director of Harvey County Economic Development and; Sean Winkler, director of advocacy for the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA).
Rep. Estes was elected to serve Kansas’ 4th Congressional District in April 2017 and serves on the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
“A strong transportation network is crucial to the wellbeing of our diverse manufacturing base around Wichita and for Kansas’ world class agriculture products,” Rep. Estes said. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet today to talk through policies that will help foster economic growth in Kansas.”
Officials said the group discussed the unique nature of the U.S. freight railroad network which, does not rely on federal support for the expansion or maintenance of its network.
The group also advocated for support of the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy Act (BRACE), which could allow local freight railroads to increase their reinvestments to upgrade and expand the “first and last mile” of transportation infrastructure, benefitting shippers who rely on affordable freight access. REMSA coordinated the event.