On Feb. 11, HR 510, which calls for permanence of the 45G short line tax credit, formally received its 100th co-sponsor. The bill, introduced Jan. 11 by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), “has rapidly garnered significant bi-partisan support, as it has every Congress since the credit was introduced in 2004,” said the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). “House support for this legislation is growing at a record pace, with 106 co-sponsors in just four weeks.”
Hoping to improve safety and efficiency in the construction industry, New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering has created the Institute of Design and Construction (IDC) Innovations Hub and selected railroad construction veteran Dr. Michael Horodniceanu as Chairman.
U.S. rail freight traffic rose a negligible one-tenth of 1% in the first week of February 2019, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on Feb. 13. An intermodal gain was almost completely negated by a drop in carload traffic.
BNSF Railway will invest $3.57 billion in capital in 2019—a 5% increase from 2018—toward “maintaining and expanding its network with an unwavering focus on operating a safe railroad that meets customers’ demands.”
Miami-based Virgin Trains USA LLC, previously known as Brightline before it rebranded itself following a 2018 partnership forged with Virgin Enterprises Ltd. and founder Richard Branson, has canceled issuing the IPO scheduled for the week of Feb. 11, saying it will pursue other fundraising options. No indication was given whether it will reconsider an IPO in the near future.
South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), operator of the Tri-Rail regional/commuter rail system, has restructured its senior management team and promoted several staff members, Executive Director Steven L. Abrams announced on Feb. 12.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, citing budget pressures, says the state will not move forward with plans to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by high-speed rail. Rather, Newsom said the state will build only the 119-mile Central Valley segment of the line, linking Merced and Bakersfield. Newsom’s remarks, made during his first State of the State address Feb. 12, were not widely expected.
Wabtec Corp. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Stéphane Rambaud-Measson has resigned from his position and as a Director of the company “to pursue other interests,” Wabtec announced on Feb. 12.
The Center for Railway Research and Education in the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University has completed the inaugural session of a new continuing education program focused on sustainability: “Railway Motive Power and Alternative Propulsion.”
Norfolk Southern, at its Feb. 11 Investor and Financial Analyst Conference in Atlanta, said it plans to hold capital expenditures to between 16% and 18% of revenues through 2021, as the railroad targets a 60% operating ratio by that year.