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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

ASLRRA releases Timmons' first-year president report


Since taking the reins as American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s (ASLRRA) president in September 2002, Richard Timmons has led the association through several achievements designed to create a more effective organization, according to Timmons’ first year report sent to ASLRRA members.

On the public relations front, the association worked to improve communications and "positively expose" the short-line industry to Class Is, state and federal legislatures, government departments and agencies, shippers and suppliers, and members, Timmons wrote. ASLRRA also began initiatives to build effective working relationships with Association of American Railroads (AAR), Class I senior officers, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Surface Transportation Board and key Congressmen.

"Good progress has been made in my opinion," Timmons wrote. "I am convinced we have made substantial headway."

The State Associations Committee was created to tap into state railroad associations throughout the United States. The committee currently is working to establish regular communications with state associations to use resources collectively for rail-related issues. Future plans include working with state associations in "Railroad Day on the Hill," providing Web access for state associations through the ASLRRA Web site, holding railroad days at state capitols, improving Class I coordination through AAR’s State Relations Policy Committee and holding a teleconference every other month to exchange information.

ASLRRA officials also revamped the Railroad Industry Working Group, which has eight short-line and eight Class I representatives. The group’s goal is to create a better to resolve issues between short lines and Class Is, and representatives have made changes to the Railroad Industry Agreement that will help develop new short-line business, according to the report.

The association created performance surveys that were taken at Class I/short-line marketing meetings. Class Is have agreed to focus on the top survey issues during the next year and report to short-line partners at the next annual meeting

In Washington, ASLRRA and other rail advocates are trying to secure passage of the rehabilitation tax credit. Their goal is to have 219 co-sponsors on the House version (H.R. 876) by early next year. So far, they have almost 170, Timmons wrote.

Since the association relocated to new offices about six months ago, personnel have redefined job descriptions, and meet weekly to coordinate and communicate ongoing and future activities.

ASLRRA also has developed a communication list to contact members in case of a terrorist attack. The association has developed a system to establish communications to keep members informed of suspicious activity, potential problems or areas of concern.

During the past year, ASLRRA has revised its Web-based training program. And, for the first time in more than four years, the association is represented on each AAR committee.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/13/2003