Surface Transportation Board (STB) staff recently released a rate reform report with a series of recommendations. Readers should remember that before any of those recommendations become regulations, the Board must conduct rulemakings. This process could extend beyond 2020 and into the next Administration.
Short Lines & Regionals
The Twin Cities & Western Railroad Co. has promoted Tina Ryberg to Assistant Vice President Administration and Operations, based at the railroad’s headquarters in Glencoe, Minn. Ryberg oversees multiple departments including transportation/operations, maintenance-of-way, mechanical, safety, accounting, human resource, and administration.
The House Ways & Means Committee on June 19 introduced H.R. 3301,the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019. The 45G railroad infrastructure maintenance tax credit is covered in Section 112, which extends 45G to Jan. 1, 2021 and retroactively to Jan. 1, 2018. (45G expired on Dec. 31, 2017.) The bill is expected to be marked up in committee on June 20.
Rail equipment finance veteran Andrew J. Falcone has joined Railroad Financial Corp. as a Vice President, based in Boston.
In an unfortunate sign of the times, U.S. weekly rail traffic has continued its slide, according to figures released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Railroad tank cars transporting TIH (toxic inhalation hazard) substances in Canada will be required to have heads and shells constructed of normalized steel under updated Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations established by Transport Canada. The new rules, which take effect July 2, 2021, are consistent with updated U.S. regulations. Normalized steel undergoes heat treatment that increases its durability and resistance to cracking at low temperatures.
If one looks at recent developments, the Federal Railroad Administration’s withdrawal of the two-person-crew-minimum NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), it may seem “logical” to say the march toward one-person crews is accelerating. However, that may be an illusion.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently announced that 45 projects in 29 states will benefit from $326 million-plus in grant money under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program and the Special Transportation Circumstances (STC) Program.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the Short Line Safety Institute’s (SLSI) program, Safety Culture Assessment (SCA), was named “the most comprehensive or robust approach in the U.S. railroad industry” in evaluating safety culture.
The time is now, say the 1,000 railroad and supplier members of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), for Congress to act on the Short Line 45G tax credit, expired since December 2017.