Author: Chuck Baker

Our Industry Must Present a United Front

Recently, I was honored to receive the OneRail Coalition’s newly established Canby Award. Named for the Coalition’s founder and former director, Anne Canby, the award recognizes an individual’s “dedication to preserving and

Chuck Baker, President, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association

CEO PERSPECTIVE: Four Parallel Paths to Growth

As part of a special series in Railway Age’s March 2022 issue, 11 North American railroad CEOs address what must be done to grow and gain market share from competing freight transportation modes. Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, rounds out the series, sharing his perspective.

For short lines, IIJA dramatically increases grant funding opportunities for the most expensive rehabilitation projects, expands short line eligibility in infrastructure programs, provides set-asides for small and rural area projects that help protect short line participation, and creates new highway grade crossing elimination funding.

Ebenezer Scrooge Was Nowhere In Sight

ASLRRA PERSPECTIVE, RAILWAY AGE, DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE: Christmas came early this year and the short line stocking was filled to the brim. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is the biggest federal infrastructure spending bill since, well, since ever.

Let Us Hope That Good Sense Prevails

ASLRRA PERSPECTIVE, RAILWAY AGE, OCTOBER 2021 ISSUE: In 2017, the previous Administration dubbed the week of June 5 as “Infrastructure Week” as part of an effort to promote its $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Seven times in the following three and a half years, that Administration declared that infrastructure would be the theme of the week, only to see those plans thwarted in one fashion or another each time.

A $3.47 million CRISI grant made replacement of the William J. “Bill” Duggan bridge by the Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAIS) possible. The new bridge opened to freight rail traffic on June 30, 2020.

Short Lines Need CRISI to Avoid a Crisis

ASLRRA PERSPECTIVE, RAILWAY AGE, AUGUST 2021: The New Jersey School of Architecture offers a master’s degree in infrastructure planning. In preparing for his course on infrastructure, Professor Alex Marshall used Google’s Ngram Viewer, which can search millions of books and publications to determine when a word was first used. He found that the word “infrastructure” made its first appearance in French publications in the 1880s in conjunction with railroad engineering.

Congress Needs to Move Forward, Together

ASLRRA PERSPECTIVE, RAILWAY AGE, JUNE 2021: In May, I was one of four witnesses fortunate enough to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Surface Transportation as it began work on surface transportation legislation. In another hopeful sign, the hearing was held face-to-face in the Committee room, and I am taking it as a good omen that my first in-person appearance in Congress in more than a year was to present the short line industry’s case for a robust infrastructure package with beneficial policies.