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Short-line tax credit measures recently garnered congressional cosponsor No. 2,000 since the first tax credit bill was introduced in 2004, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) announced today.
Legislation to extend the tax credit — which also is known as Section 45G — has passed Congress five times and been consistently ranked as one of the top 25 most cosponsored measures in the House, ASLRRA officials said in a press release.
Section 45G provides regionals and short lines a 50-cent tax credit for each dollar spent per year on track rehabilitation and maintenance work, up to $3,500 per mile of track owned or leased. The credit enables small railroads to spend more of their revenue on rehabilitating infrastructure, ASLRRA officials said.
Short-line railroading is one of the most capital intensive industries in the nation; since 2005, short lines have invested 25 percent to 33 percent of their annual revenue in infrastructure improvements, even during the economic-trying years of 2008 to 2010, they said.
“In 2004, ASLRRA and its member railroads proposed a solution to ensure railroads reach customers across a wide swath of urban, rural and small town America by maximizing their ability to invest in critical infrastructure ,” said ASLRRA President Linda Bauer Darr. “That concept has managed to attract enormous, if not historic, bipartisan support in an often-divided Congress.
Legislation currently under consideration in Congress — the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act (H.R. 4626/S. 2595) — aims to make the short-line tax credit permanent. Introduced earlier this year by U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kans.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), the BRACE Act is nearing an endorsement majority in both chambers, with 150 cosponsors in the House and 43 in the Senate as of July 18.
“The tremendous amount of support for Section 45G over the years is a testament to just how critical the provision remains to small freight railroads and their customers across the country,” said Jenkins.