With Biden now in the White House, several policy areas are of particular interest for the rail industry beyond economic recovery, AAR said, “including trade, climate change and modernizing U.S. transportation systems.”

AAR to Biden-Harris: We ‘Stand Ready to Work’

Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in on Jan. 20 as the 46th President and the first woman Vice President of the United States, respectively. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has extended its support.

BNSF will put $2.41 billion toward maintenance, which includes nearly 11,000 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work, the replacement of 428 miles of rail and about 2.6 million ties, and rolling stock maintenance.

BNSF: $2.99B 2021 Capex

BNSF has set a $2.99 billion capital plan for 2021, with the largest portion going toward maintaining the core network and related assets, the railroad reported Jan. 20. The 2020 plan, at $3.08 billion, followed a similar strategy.

AAR: Intermodal Strength Again Boosts Weekly Rail Traffic

Total U.S. rail traffic was 528,547 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Jan. 16, 2021—up 5.8% compared with the same week last year, building upon intermodal’s continued strength, the Association of American Railroads reported on Jan. 20..

People News: MARTA CFO, AGM, Labor; Cando CCO

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has hired Raj Srinath as Chief Financial Officer and Patricia M. Lucek as Assistant General Manager of Labor and Employee Relations, a newly created position. Additionally, Cando Rail Services has promoted Steve Bromley to the newly created role of Chief Commercial Officer.

Nuria Fernandez stepped down as Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA) General Manager/CEO on Jan. 19.

Nuria Fernandez Joining USDOT

Nuria Fernandez is moving on from her position as Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA) General Manager/CEO to join the Biden-Harris Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation, VTA reported Jan. 19. Evelynn Tran is now interim General Manager/CEO.

The City of Portland, Ore., will receive $439,950 to replace Portland Streetcars’ cloth seat coverings with “easy-to-sanitize” vinyl; educate riders with new message boards at stops; and hire public health-trained staff to ensure vehicles are properly sanitized and the system is adhering to public health guidelines.

FTA Awards Grants to Help Transit Tackle COVID-19

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is distributing $15.8 million to 37 transit projects through its new Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program.

The South Coast Rail project will receive $825 million; phase one is extending commuter rail service on the Middleborough Secondary Line to New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton by 2023.

Report: Massachusetts Governor Signs $16.5B Transportation Bond Bill

Massachusetts’ $16.5 billion transportation bond bill, recently signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker, will support rail, bus and roadway improvement initiatives. The new law earmarks funds for the South Coast Rail, Green Line Extension and East-West rail projects, among others.

John Santamaria, Senior Vice President of Rail, Clever Devices

Santamaria Appointed SVP Rail, Clever Devices

Clever Devices, an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) provider, has named John Santamaria Senior Vice President of Rail.

Kansas City Southern has pledged to set a science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction target that it said “will align with what climate scientists say is needed to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.”

KCS Targets Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Kansas City Southern has submitted a letter to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) committing to setting a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.

Polly Trottenberg, Deputy Secretary of Transportation designee

New USDOT Deputy: Polly Trottenberg

Former New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has been tapped as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation.