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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Short-line tax credit extension bill enters Senate, joins discussion at 'Day on Capitol Hill'


The Short Line Railroad Rehabilitation and Investment Act of 2013 now is in both chambers of Congress. U.S. Sen. John "Jay" Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced the bill, marked S. 411, on Feb. 28 in the Senate.

Similar to H.R. 721, which was introduced in the House on Feb. 14, S. 411 proposes to extend the Section 45G short-line rehabilitation tax credit through Dec. 31, 2016. The legislation also would enable short lines created after Jan. 1, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2013, to be eligible to claim the tax credit.

In addition, S. 411 would maintain the credit cap at $3,500 per mile. The Section 45G provision enables short lines to claim a tax credit of 50 cents for every dollar invested in track rehabilitation, up to a cap equal to $3,500 times the railroad's total track miles.

Referred to the Senate Committee on Finance, S. 411 currently has six co-sponsors while H.R. 721 has 42 co-sponsors.

Earlier this year, the short-line tax credit was made retroactive through 2012 and extended through 2013 as part of the "fiscal cliff" legislation. The credit is scheduled to expire on Jan. 1, 2014.

S. 411 and H.R. 721 will be on the agenda today at Railroad Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Attendees also will lobby congressmen to support policies that encourage railroads to maintain their high level of private investments — which this year will total more than $24 billion — and oppose legislation that would enable larger and heavier trucks to travel on the nation's highways, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

“As the economy grows and American businesses and manufacturing expands, freight rail continues to deliver for the nation,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a prepared statement. “In addition to investing billions into our physical network, the freight-rail industry will be hiring thousands of new employees this year."

Railroad Day on Capitol Hill is organized by the AAR, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association Inc., Railway Supply Institute, Railway Systems Suppliers Inc., Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association, Railway Tie Association and other rail industry groups.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/14/2013