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The Association of American Railroads (AAR), in partnership with grassroots advocacy organization GoRail, yesterday honored U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) with the Railroad Achievement Award.DeFazio was recognized for his longstanding, bipartisan leadership on issues that affect freight and passenger railroads, AAR officials said in a press release.The congressman accepted the award at Willamette Valley Co.'s manufacturing facility. The event was coordinated by the Railway Engineering Maintenance Suppliers Association and eight other Oregon rail manufacturers."Freight railroads serve almost every industrial, wholesale, retail and resource-based sector of the economy and provide firm footing for the vast majority of passenger and commuter rail in this nation," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger. "As the Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and with an accomplished career in Congress, few leaders understand this fundamental truth more than Congressman DeFazio."Hamberger noted that DeFazio's leadership was especially evident in the passage of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015, the first long-term surface transportation passed by Congress in more than a decade. The bill included several key railroad provisions, such as Amtrak reauthorization, Hamberger said.The Railroad Achievement Award is given periodically to members of Congress who have shown leadership on policies that help ensure the vitality of railroads in the United States."Communities and companies all across America benefit from an innovative freight-rail industry that invests more than 40 cents of every revenue dollar back into the nation's rail network," said GoRail President Russell McGurk. "Making this possible are sound public policies and elected leaders like Congressman DeFazio with the foresight to enact and protect those policies."