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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

ASLRRA: BRACE Act's support reaches 'critical threshold'


A bill that would permanently extend the federal 45G short-line tax credit has achieved a majority of support in the Senate, with 51 co-sponsors, and in the House, with 221 co-sponsors, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) announced today.

The Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act would provide long-term certainty for the tax credit, which would create predictable investment opportunities for small railroads and rail-industry suppliers, ASLRRA officials said in a press release.

The credit provides short line and regional railroads a 50 cent tax credit for each dollar the railroad spends on track rehabilitation and maintenance up to $3,500 per mile of track owned or leased by the railroad, allowing small railroads to spend more of their revenue rehabilitating infrastructure that serves as a critical transportation connection for local shippers across the country, ASLRRA officials said.

The Senate version of the bill (S.2595) was introduced by U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.); the House version (H.R. 4626) was introduced by U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).

"Our members have worked tirelessly in the pursuit of this piece of legislation, which is so critical to our industry," said ALSRRA President Linda Darr. "Our short-line railroad members provide the origin and termination of many of the freight shipments on the national rail system, getting our customers' goods to market."

More than 572 short-line customers have come together in a formal statement to Congress stating their wish to extend the tax credit, said Jerry Vest, senior vice president of government and industry affairs for Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services Inc., and chair of ASLRRA's Legislative Policy Committee.

"The BRACE Act is supported by key agricultural and industrial sectors of the American economy," said Vest. "These companies depend on short line railroads to move a tremendous variety of goods and services in an efficient and cost-effective manner."

Legislation to extend the credit previously has passed Congress five times.

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More News from 10/4/2016