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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals
ASLRRA: Senate majority favors short-line tax credit bill
Sixty U.S. senators now are on record supporting a bill that would make the short-line tax credit permanent, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) announced yesterday.
The senators' support of the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy Act of 2019 (BRACE Act S.B. 203) represents an historic moment in the long effort to make the tax credit permanent, ASLRRA officials said in a press release.
"Both houses of Congress are on record through their co-sponsorships on the need for permanence of the short-line tax credit," said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker.
Sixty is a symbolically important number in the Senate. In the House, the BRACE Act (H.R. 510) has 269 supporters, far in excess of the 218 needed for a majority, ASLRRA officials said.
Known as 45G, the tax credit offers short lines a credit of 50 cents for each private dollar spent on freight-rail upgrades and maintenance up to a cap of $3,500 per track mile annually. The credit has been renewed six times since 2005. It last expired on Dec. 31, 2017.
The BRACE Act represents "smart public policy" by allowing the short-line industry to maximize its own investment in rail infrastructure, Baker said. It also would affect thousands of U.S. businesses — particularly in rural and small towns — that rely on rail as an option to compete in the national and international economies. And, the measure would benefit employment and growth among rail suppliers, he said.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.