Friday, November 13, 2015

Yoho visists Balfour Beatty Rail

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On Nov. 12, 2015, Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) member Balfour Beatty Rail hosted Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) for a tour of its Jacksonville, Fla., facility and discussed public policy priorities for the rail industry at-large.

A major U.S. rail hub, Jacksonville is home to CSX and Genesee & Wyoming headquarters, major engineering firms, six REMSA members and many other rail employers. “Balfour Beatty Infrastructure demonstrates not only the importance of Jacksonville’s rail employers to the local economy, but of its importance to projects nation-wide, particularly in the design-build arena,” REMSA said.

The group touched on two important rail issues Congress recently addressed: extending the Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation deadline from 2015 to 2018, with possible case-by-case extensions to 2020; and Senate confirmation of Sarah Feinberg as Federal Railroad Administrator. However, there is still work to be done as Congress has yet to act on extending the 45G Short Line Tax Credit, which would allow Florida’s 12 short line railroads to invest and improve their infrastructure. Yoho is a co-sponsor of House bill H.R. 721, which extends the credit. The bill  is set to go to a House/Senate Conference Committee as part of H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015, the long-term transportation funding bill.

Attendees included Joe Arbona, Assistant Vice President- Government Affairs, Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services; Mike Cella, Candidate for Clay County Commission; Colin Kendrick, Director of Contract Management, Balfour Beatty Rail; Michael Roberts, Director of Business Operations, W.J. Sapp & Son; William Roseborough, Director-Project Management, CSX; Mark Snailham, Vice President, Balfour Beatty Rail; and Sean Winkler, Grassroots Coordinator, REMSA.

Balfour Beatty Rail, a division of Balfour Beatty Infrastructure (BBII), headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., specializes in construction and maintenance services for public and private railroad markets. The company’s services include design, signal, AC & DC traction power, catenary systems, track construction and maintenance services. In July, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure was awarded a $140 million contract to extend Denver’s light-rail line to its southeast suburbs. This project is BBII’s fifth major contract with RTD, representing over $3.6 billion of work for the transit agency. The Jacksonville regional office employs approximately 30 people in Fleming Island.

“It was a pleasure to host Congressman Yoho for a tour of our Fleming Island facility,” said Snailham. “Jacksonville’s an important rail hub in America. Locating here gives us access to Class I’s, short lines, engineering companies and other major suppliers, allowing us to compete for and win projects across the nation. We look forward to continuing to promote a strong rail industry in Jacksonville.”

“I was honored to have the opportunity to tour the Balfour Beatty Rail facility and see all the important work that is being done there,” said Yoho. “This facility and others like it not only help move the freight that makes our economy and our country strong, it helps make our highways, bridges, and rail lines safer.”

In Florida, 14 freight railroads operate and maintain more than 2,900 miles of track and support more than 4,900 jobs. Phosphate and chemicals were responsible for 56% of freight tonnage originated in Florida in 2012, followed by aggregates and intermodal.

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