Short Lines & Regionals

A ‘Gow’ Infused STB Chairman

Years ago, as general counsel to the Illinois Racing Commission, Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chairperson Martin J. Oberman chased the “gow”—jockey-speak for opium used illegally to improve race horse performance. These days, the 76-year-old Oberman is himself infused with a legal form of gow: an unabated resolve to use his regulatory cudgel to splinter railroad market power.

Rivet Counting, Railroad-Style

In model railroading, there’s an annoying practice known as “rivet counting.” It involves people who have nothing better to do than finding fault with what someone else has created closely examining a painstakingly reproduced miniature (pick your scale—G, O, S, HO, N, Z—doesn’t matter) of a particular locomotive or car and finding some minuscule flaw, because the finished model doesn’t reproduce the actual equipment with 200% accuracy.

“We’re proud to support these [90] great projects that will improve infrastructure, strengthen supply chains, make us safer, advance equity, and combat climate change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who announced the RAISE discretionary grants program recipients on Nov. 19.

USDOT Awards $1B in RAISE Grants

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will distribute nearly $1 billion to 90 rail, transit, road and port projects through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants program; California High-Speed Rail Authority and Genesee & Wyoming are among the grantees.

GoRail: What IIJA Means for Railroads

On Nov. 15, President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), described by rail advocacy organization GoRail as “a momentous, bipartisan bill for fixing and improving U.S. roads, bridges, waterways, airports and other infrastructure systems, and reauthorizing surface transportation programs for the next five years.”

FRA Renews RSAC Charter

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has renewed the charter of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) for a two-year period. The renewed charter, or “recharter,” as FRA terms it, increases the number of represented organizations by three, from 23 to 26, and the number of individual voting members by 17, from 34 to 51.