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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

ASLRRA: Short-line tax credit now has historic support among House members


A bill that calls for a permanent extension of the short-line tax credit now has 272 backers in the U.S. House — a historic number of supporters, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) announced today.

The Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy Act of 2019 (BRACE) would permanently extend the 45G tax credit for railroad track maintenance. The extension applies to short lines' expenditures that are paid or incurred during tax years beginning after 2017. The tax credit, which Congress has renewed six times since 2005, last expired Dec. 31, 2017.

The bill would offer a tax credit of 50 cents for each private dollar spent on freight-rail upgrades and maintenance up to a cap of $3,500 per year. Since 2005, the credit has helped drive more than $4 billion in private investment in rail infrastructure, according to ASLRRA.

ASLRRA's announcement today comes a week after the association announced a companion bill had obtained its 60th supporter in the U.S. Senate.

"Congressional leadership must work together to secure certainty and renewed investment for the thousands of small communities and small businesses served by short line railroads,” said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker.

The BRACE Act's "overwhelming bipartisan support" is almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, Baker said.

"The credit has the clear support of Congress and it has been reviewed and recommended for renewal by both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee within the past year," he said.

The legislation is "smart public policy that maximizes investment" in safe and efficient freight-rail transportation for thousands of shippers, particularly in the agricultural, energy and manufacturing industries, Baker added.

Additionally, the tax credit helps stimulate employment growth in the rail supplier community and in regional economies where railroads operate, he said.

On Sept. 10, ASLRRA members members met with more than 40 congressional offices to advocate for the BRACE Act.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/17/2019