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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Lake State Railway hosts Rep. Kildee, advocates for 45G

Kildee (left) listened as Lake State CMO Roger Fuehring (center) explained locomotive maintenance operations. Also pictured: John Rickoff (right).
Photo – ASLRRA


Late last month, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) met with Lake State Railway officials to tour the short line's headquarters in Saginaw, Michigan, and discuss federal rail policy.

The tour was led by Lake State President and Chief Executive Officer John Rickoff and Vice President of Marketing and Sales Shasta Duffey. The group toured Lake State facilities and locomotives before discussing federal legislation and policy related to rail.

"Railroads are an important part of Michigan’s economy and play a critical role in connecting businesses and farmers with markets around the world,” Kildee said in a press release. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to once again meet with Lake State Railway and receive an update on their work to boost mid-Michigan’s economy. I will continue to work in Congress to invest in Michigan’s infrastructure and make our region more economically competitive.”

Lake State has invested millions in rehabilitating the railroad to better serve customers and improve safety. The federal 45G short-line tax credit, which allowed short lines and regionals to take a tax credit for infrastructure investment, has provided an important part of that investment, railroad officials said.

"Our company is dedicated to serving our many customers and the 45G tax credit plays a key role in the long-term and safe operation of the Lake State Railway," Duffey said. "We thank Congressman Kildee for his early and ongoing support for 45G and short line industry overall.”

Lake State officials advocated for support of the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act, which calls for making the 45G tax credit permanent.

Created in 2005, the tax credit expired at 2017’s end. The measure allows a credit of 50 cents for each dollar railroads invest in track and bridge improvements, capped at $3,500 per mile. The credit has spurred $4 billion in infrastructure investment since 2005, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), of which Lake State Railway is a member.

The group also discussed the need for increased funding under the federal Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) and the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant programs as part of the federal fiscal-year 2020 appropriations package.