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3/14/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Small roads rally at 'Day on the Hill' to push infrastructure-funding bill


The fourth annual Railroad Day On The Hill March 13 prompted more than 100 regional, short-line, railway-supply and railroad-organization representatives to spill onto Capitol Hill, urging congressmen to pass legislation aimed at improving small roads' infrastructure.
The one-day lobbyists targeted various legislative concerns, including Railroad Track Modernization Act (H.R. 1020), a bill in the House that would provide Class II and II railroads $350 million annually for the next three years to help fund infrastructure improvements; and repeal of railroads' federal 4.3-cent-per-gallon diesel tax. Such a move might enable rails to annually funnel nearly $170 million toward track repairs.
"There has been a tremendous imbalance in the way the nation meets its infrastructure needs," said American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association President Frank Turner in a prepared statement. "Highways and aviation receive billions of dollars annually beyond what is raised from user taxes — railroads pay the entire cost of building and maintaining their infrastructure."
Turner believes small roads are having the hardest time keeping up with infrastructure demands because of the industry's move to 286,000-pound cars.
"Tracks on many of our smaller railroads — often serving largely rural areas — simply weren’t designed to carry that much weight," he said.


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