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U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday toured Flexovit USA Inc.'s recently reopened manufacturing facility in Angola, N.Y.During his visit, Collins discussed "pressing rail and manufacturing issues" with rail industry stakeholders and local officials, according to a press release from the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), which coordinated the event.Flexovit Chief Executive Officer Tom Calabrese led the tour of the 100,000-square-foot facility, which was severely damaged by severe snowfall in 2014. The company has been working "around the clock" to repair the facility and bring production back online, REMSA officials said.Founded in 1977, Flexovit produces abrasive products for portable power tools. The company's grinding and rail-cutting products also were demonstrated as part of the tour. The company employs 80.The group also discussed the Surface Transportation Board's recent proposed rules on reciprocal switching and commodity regulation — measures that REMSA officials say would create "major inefficiencies in the national freight network" and result in government-mandated price caps.Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry on Monday toured Rocla Concrete Tie Inc.'s facility in Amarillo, Texas.
Rocla Vice President of Business Development Brett Urquhart led the tour and walked the congressman through the manufacturing process for concrete railroad ties. The Amarillo facility was opened in 1999 to address the demands of Class Is and the increased use of concrete ties in transit projects, according to a press release from the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, of which Rocla is a member.Rocla also has plants in Portsmouth, Ohio; Fort Pierce, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; and San Jose Iturbide, Mexico.