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3/14/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Rail industry constituents push freight-rail agenda at annual 'Day on the Hill'


More than 300 rail industry representatives descended on Washington, D.C., yesterday during the annual "Railroad Day on Capitol Hill" to lobby Congress on key freight-rail legislation.
 
Participants urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would help expand rail capacity and expressed concerns about "re-regulation" bills’ potential to limit railroads' infrastructure investments.

Attendees included representatives from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, Railway Supply Institute, Railway Tie Association, Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association, Railway Systems Suppliers Inc., National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association and Go21, a national public interest group that advocates freight rail.

High on the lobbying agenda was the Freight Rail Infrastructure Capacity Expansion Act (S. 1125/H.R. 2116), which would provide a 25 percent tax credit for any business that invests in new track, sidings, intermodal facilities, locomotives or other rail infrastructure. The legislation has been endorsed by the National Mining Association, Waterfront Coalition, American Association of Port Authorities, National Retail Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, according to the AAR.

"With the demand for freight increasing exponentially, we need new answers, new solutions," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger in a prepared statement. "Congress should ... support legislation that would encourage railroads and other businesses to build more rail capacity not only on railroads, but at ethanol facilities, ports and manufacturing sites."

Attendees also lobbied for the Short Line Railroad Investment Act of 2007 (S. 881/H.R. 1584), which would provide tax credits to regionals and short lines for infrastructure improvements. Efforts last year to extend tax credit legislation — which had been in place nearly three years — beyond a Dec. 31, 2007, expiration date weren't successful and the short line industry has been trying to re-establish the credits.


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