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7/8/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Tie suppliers, shippers assist ASLRRA in backing tax-credit bill


Some tie suppliers and rail-industry shippers are helping American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) lobby Congress to pass the Local Railroad Rehabilitation and Investment Act of 2003 (H.R. 876).


Railway Tie Association's (RTA) board recently approved a financial contribution to help ASLRRA fund a variety of grassroots efforts, according to the short-line association's most recent bi-weekly newsletter.


"[Short lines] are a vital transportation link for thousands of local shippers and the Railway Tie Association wants to do everything it can to try and get that message heard by Congress," said RTA Executive Director Jim Gauntt. "Our members are truly enthusiastic about this effort and wanted to do more than just give lip service."


Meanwhile, members of recently formed shipper coalition "Saving our Service" are contacting congressmen to seek bill support. The coalition aims to preserve the nation's local railroad system.


"[Because] many local shippers are dependent on short lines to provide them with service … they are concerned that they will face increased shipping costs, which could push them out of business," said ASLRRA officials.


H.R. 876 would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide short lines and regionals an income tax credit for track maintenance expenditures — funds many roads need to address 286,000-pound-car-related infrastructure shortcomings.


The bill would cap tax credits at $10,000 for every track mile regionals and short lines own or lease, and enable small roads to transfer credits they can't use to other roads, shippers, suppliers or contractors. Credits would be issued against qualified track maintenance expenditures (such as maintaining or upgrading track, roadbed, bridges and related structures) that small roads pay or incur after Dec. 31, 2003, and before Jan. 1, 2009.


Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means are deliberating the bill, which currently has 115 co-sponsors.












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