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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

286k: Regional, short-line execs continue to seek tax-credit bill co-sponsors


Regional and short-line officials have a lot of phone calls to make by Friday. So far, small-road execs have drummed up the support of 75 co-sponsors for the Local Railroad Rehabilitation and Investment Act of 2003 (H.R. 876), which would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide short lines and regionals an income tax credit for track maintenance expenditures — funds many roads need to address 286,000-pound-car-related infrastructure shortcomings.

But chief bill sponsors believe they'll need 100 co-sponsors by May 16 when they meet Republican congressional leaders and try to make a case for the legislation.

The House Committee on Ways and Means has been conducting deliberations on H.R. 876 since the bill was introduced in late February.

The bill would cap tax credits at $10,000 for every track mile regionals and short lines own or lease, and enable small roads to transfer credits they can't use to other roads, shippers, suppliers or contractors. Credits would be issued against qualified track maintenance expenditures (such as maintaining or upgrading track, roadbed, bridges and related structures) that small roads pay or incur after Dec. 31, 2003, and before Jan. 1, 2009.

Short lines operate 50,000 track miles in 49 states, employ more than 23,000 workers at an average wage of $47,000 and earn $3 billion in annual revenue, according to American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/13/2003