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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight
U.S. Reps. Finkenauer, Emmer tour rail businesses in Iowa, Minnesota
Two Congress representatives visited rail industry businesses in Minnesota and Iowa in recent days.
On Aug. 27, U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) toured the operations center and rail yard of Iowa Northern Railway Co. in Waterloo, Iowa. The short line operates through the state from Manly to Cedar Rapids.
Representatives of Iowa Northern and the GoRail association joined her on the tour and discussion of legislative issues of interest to the rail industry.
"I’m grateful to get a first-hand look at the operations of an Iowa small business and learn more about our freight rail ecosystem across the country," Finkenauer said in a press release issued by GoRail.
During the discussion, Finkenauer talked about the 45G short-line tax credit, which allowed a credit of 50 cents for each dollar railroads invest in track and bridge improvements, capped at $3,500 per mile. The credit, which expired in December 2017, has spurred $4 billion in infrastructure investment since 2005, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Finkenauer is a co-sponsor of H.R. 510, known as the BRACE Act, a bipartisan-backed bill that would make the short-line tax credit permanent.
In Iowa,16 freight railroads maintain 3,834 track miles and employ 3,181. Short lines like the Iowa Northern operate 49.2 percent of freight rail track in the state.
Meanwhile, on Aug. 22 U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) joined the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) and its member Park Construction Co. at the company's headquarters and equipment shop in Minneapolis. Emmer met with company executives, local business and community leaders and rail industry representatives to discuss transportation infrastructure and the short-line tax credit.
Park Construction's services include heavy earth moving, structural work, demolition and paving. The company has a long history of working with the nation's largest railroads on a range of projects, according to a REMSA press release.
Emmer also is a co-sponsor of H.R. 510.
"Congress can work together by passing bills like the BRACE Act," Emmer said. "This legislation is co-sponsored by every member of the Minnesota delegation, and showcases the importance of the rail industry for Minnesotans."
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.