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— by Pat Foran, editor
About 470 rail advocates participated in 355 meetings with congressfolk or their staffers at the 2016 edition of Railroad Day on Capitol Hill, held March 3.
This year’s talking points were the same as they’ve been the past several “Days”: Railroaders asked their elected representatives to oppose bigger and heavier trucks, and preserve “balanced regulation” and the short-line tax credit. They did have a specific “ask” regarding the latter: They requested that their respective congressional reps cosponsor The Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy Act (BRACE), which seeks to make the short-line tax credit permanent.
In December 2015, Congress passed the fifth short-term extension of the credit, extending it through 2016. BRACE was introduced Feb. 25 in both houses of Congress. As of late March, there were 17 cosponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate, said Chuck Baker, a partner at government affairs firm Chambers, Conlon and Hartwell LLC, and president of the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association.
“We expect the numbers to continue to rise pretty significantly over the next month as folks follow up on their meetings,” he said.
And follow up they will. Railroaders continue to make their voices heard on the Hill, and many came away from Railroad Day feeling pretty good about their articulation skills.
“Most people in most meetings felt their message was well received, and that we’re in a good place with Congress,” Baker said.
As a few of the issue resolutions that occurred late last year — notably, the PTC deadline and short-line tax credit extensions — suggest.
Progressive Railroading has hired Acacia Reber as Eastern U.S. regional sales manager.
Reber most recently served as director of the rail division at Reidler Railroad Graphics in St. Clair, Pa.
She was in charge of sales for the division, which enabled her to work with Class Is, short lines and commuter-rail organizations.
“We are very excited to add Acacia to the Progressive Railroading sales team,” says Progressive Railroading Publisher Kirk Bastyr. “With her combination of sales experience and rail industry knowledge, we feel she is very well prepared to represent our publication and assist our customers in growing their business.”
Glad you’re with us, Acacia.