April 2021 NRC Bulletin
April 30, 2021
NRC Updates and Announcements
Virtual NRC Annual Equipment Auction is May 13

The NRC is pleased to announce that we will be hosting our annual construction and maintenance equipment auction virtually on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

This year’s virtual auction will be administered by experienced auctioneers Blackmon Auctions. Based on feedback from potential sellers, we anticipate pent-up demand from last year with many contractors looking to get under-utilized equipment off their books. With the virtual approach this year, sellers can avoid the time and expense of shipping items to the auction site. The virtual auction also means all the information is at your fingertips with no additional travel or expense required. 

We highly encourage all contractors, suppliers, and railroads to sell and/or donate their equipment. If you have a large item you are thinking about moving or having difficulty getting off your lot, then please contact NRC staff at info@nrcma.org and Thomas Blackmon Jr. of Blackmon Auctions at thomas@blackmonauction.com.

Sponsored by:
Auction Details:

Location: Virtual

Date/Time: Thursday, May 13th – begins at 9:00am ET.
A link to the auction will be made available in the coming weeks.

Equipment and Bidder Registration: To register equipment for sale or donation, or to register as a bidder, please email NRC staff at info@nrcma.org and Thomas Blackmon Jr. of Blackmon Auctions at thomas@blackmonauctions.org. If you are interested in participating in the 2021 Virtual NRC Auction, please click here to fill out the 2021 NRC Auction Form.

Equipment Inspection: Contact Thomas Blackmon at thomas@blackmonauctions.com for equipment inquiries.

Shipment & Delivery of Equipment: The 2021 auction is virtual, to schedule shipment or delivery of equipment following the auction, please contact Thomas Blackmon Jr. of Blackmon Auctions at thomas@blackmonauctions.com
NRC Chairman Jim Hansen Recognized as Railway Age Top 10 Most Influential Leaders

On April 20, Railway Age released their 2021 Readers' Influential Leaders list. People from all areas of the North American railway industry were polled and nominated who they believe to be influential. They nominated people whose mantra is making a difference, and who are committed to service. The honorees all play a pivotal role in railroad industry, and are poised to lead the industry through 2021 and beyond.

Among the honorees and top 10 was Jim Hansen, Chairman of the NRC Board of Directors, and Chief Commercial Officer of NRC member Herzog. Jim and the other honorees will have their profile appear in the May issue of Railway Age. Jim was named to the top 10 with influential leaders in the class I, short line, and transit agency personnel. To view the full list of winners, please click here.
Railroad Day on Capitol Hill 2021 Recap

On April 13 and 14, the NRC joined the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) and other stakeholders in the railroad industry for Railroad Day on the Hill to illustrate the importance of the services the industry provides to policymakers. The event featured over 475 attendees, and participated in more than 260 virtual meetings with Congressional offices. (Meeting with Rep. Tracey Mann KS-01 pictured left)

Per ASLRRA staff, they have followed up with approximately 70 requests from Congressional offices for additional information stemming from these meetings, thus showing the lasting impact of the event. This follow-up has further shown the significance of CRIS funding to the industry along with giving the opportunity to members of Congress to visit constituent member facilities. The NRC would like to thank ASLRRA staff and the strong coalition of railroads, suppliers, labor and shippers who demonstrated the breadth and depth of the industry during these virtual meetings.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg Announces Availability of $1 Billion to Modernize and Create New American Infrastructure

On April 13, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to apply for $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2021 discretionary grant funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants. RAISE, formerly known as BUILD and TIGER, has awarded over $8.9 billion in grants to projects since 2009. To view a press release, please click here.

Projects eligible for RAISE funding will be evaluated based on merit criteria that include safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation, and partnership. The DOT will prioritize projects that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity, reduce impacts of climate change and create good-paying jobs. To view the RAISE NOFO, please click here. To provide technical assistance to prospective applicants, DOT is hosting a series of webinars during the FY 2021 RAISE grant application process. To register for the webinars, please click here. The deadline to submit an application is July 12, 2021 at 5pm Eastern
Progressive Railroading Announces Rising Stars for 2021, NRC Board Member Erika Bruhnke Among Honorees

On April 28, Progressive Railroading announced its list of 25 Rising Stars in the North American railroad industry. This is the ninth year Progressive Railroading has sponsored the Rising Stars Awards program. A Rising Star is defined as someone under the age of 40 who has made, or is making, a positive impact on his or her company, organization, department or team, and is viewed by others as an up-and-coming leader in the rail industry.
NRC Board of Directors member, Erika Bruhnke, Vice President of Training Services at RailPros was named a Rising Star in 2021, and rounds out a list full of people who work for Class Is, regionals, short lines, passenger railroads, transit agencies, government, engineering firms and contractors and suppliers.

Other notable recipients of this years distinction are Harrison Armstrong of NRC member R.J. Corman Railroad Group LLC, Kimberly Howe of NRC member Siemens Mobility, and Sean Winkler of Tai Ginsberg & Associates LLC. Their stories will be shared this summer and published in the magazine's September issue. Additionally, the Rising Stars will be honored during a virtual ceremony sometime in July. To view the full list of Rising Stars, please click here.
NRC Sustainability Panel Recap
On April 20, and in honor of Earth Day, the NRC hosted a webinar featuring key sustainability personnel from the Class I railroad segment of the railway industry. The webinar discussed and identified upcoming trends in the 'ESG' space and gave NRC members key insight into what freight railroads are thinking about for their own railroads and the industry as a whole for this important and evolving topic.

The webinar was moderated by NRC Board of Directors member, David Ferryman, Senior Vice President, Pueblo Business Unit, EVRAZ North America. The panelists included Meaghan E. Atkinson, Manager Environmental Programs, CSX Transportation, Inc., Kayden Howard, VP Health, Safety & Environmental, KCS, and David Huck, Director, Sustainability, CP.

If you have any questions about this webinar, would like to view it now, please reach out to NRC staff by email at info@nrcma.org or by phone at 202-975-0365. 
NRC New Member Spotlight

With NRC membership renewals for 2021 underway, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of our new members that have joined in 2021! Each monthly bulletin, NRC staff will promote new and long-time members as a thank you for their continued support.

This month, we would like to highlight a few of our new members: Alabama Railroad and Construction Company, LLC, McClain & Co., Inc., and Milord Company.
Not an NRC member and want to access to this and many other membership benefitsJoin as an NRC member today! If you have any questions about joining the NRC, or your organization's current membership status, please simply reply to this email.
FRA Taking Steps to Advance Minority and Women Owned Business Participation in Federally Funded Rail Projects

On April 13, the FRA announced that it is conducting a first of its kind nationwide small, minority-owned and woman-owned business disparity study, seeking to determine whether the playing field is level for firms aspiring to win subcontracts from grantees receiving Federal funds administered by the agency. This study underscores the Biden-Harris Administration's focus on promoting diversity and inclusion.

FRA Administrator Amit Bose said, "We are firmly committed to increasing equity across the American economy and ensuring that women and minority-owned businesses have a fair shot at contracting opportunities funded by federal dollars...Assessing the current extent of DBE and WBE inclusion, and if any disparities exist, is necessary to accomplish this goal." To view the press release and for more information on the survey, please click here.
NRC Grassroots Events Survey

The NRC is dedicated to serving the needs of NRC Members and the railroad contractor and supplier community, and that includes making sure that our members have their voices heard on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress frequently mention in-person visits and site visits as one of the most effective ways to convey the importance of the industry.

As 2021 continues and the economy and nation begin to return to normal, we want to take the opportunity to gauge NRC member companies on their desire to host a Member of Congress or staff for in-person member facility visits. We are very curious to hear if there is interest in these visits from NRC members. If you are, please click here to fill out our short grassroots survey.

If you have any questions, or would like to talk with NRC staff about our grassroots program further, please email info@nrcma.org.
Industry News and Updates
As soon as the STB issued its decision granting Kansas City Southern (KCS) a waiver from prevailing merger rules established about 20 years ago, KCS said it would now consider CN’s counter-offer that was announced on April 20. KCS reported April 24 that its Board of Directors has determined that the unsolicited merger proposal it received from CN on April 20 might end up “superior” to the KCS-Canadian Pacific (CP) merger agreement announced March 21. KCS now intends to engage in discussions with CN. CN’s proposed acquisition of KCS “in a cash and stock transaction valued by CN at $325 per KCS share could reasonably be expected to lead to a ‘Company Superior Proposal’ as defined in KCS’s merger agreement with Canadian Pacific Railway Limited,” the Board “unanimously” determined, after consulting with KCS’s outside legal and financial advisors, KCS said. On April 20, CN said its counter-offer of $325 per KCS share “represents a 21% premium over the implied value of the CP transaction and values KCS at an enterprise value of $33.7 billion.” This story is ongoing and NRC staff will keep membership abreast of any news.

On April 27, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is making more than $1.69 billion available to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) to provide relief from the impacts of COVID-19 to the company's business operations, workforce, and state funding partners. The funding is provided under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. "The President's American Rescue Plan is already delivering for workers and the traveling public...this new assistance for Amtrak will get employees back to work and restore service on routes across the country, at a time when this help is urgently needed," said Secretary Buttigieg.

On April 27, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Board of Directors announced the appointment of Nadine Lee as its new president & chief executive officer. Lee, an experienced transit industry leader and engineer who has worked in the transportation industry for nearly 30 years, will assume her new position on July 12. Before joining DART, Lee served as the chief of staff of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "The DART Board is pleased to welcome a leader of Nadine's caliber and experience to direct the agency during these challenging and exciting times," said Paul N. Wageman, chairman of the DART Board of Directors.

On April 15, CSX Corp announced that it had closed the first phase of a comprehensive $525 million rail agreement with the commonwealth of Virginia. The transaction is part of Virginia's previously announced multibillion dollar rail-transportation initiative to improve service and infrastructure in the state. "This transaction highlights our ability to find creative ways to generate meaningful value from our assets while enhancing the safety and efficiency of passenger and freight rail service in a vital transportation corridor," said CSX President and Chief Executive Officer James Foote in a press release.

On February 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order imposing a mask mandate on public transportation systems, including rail, to help mitigate the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced. The CDC order implements President Joe Biden's executive order to promote COVID-19 safety during domestic and international travel, FTA officials stated in a press release. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a security directive that supports enforcement of the CDC's mask mandate. Freight railroads and their facilities are not covered by the TSA security directives, rather it appears DOT/FRA will be responsible for the scope of the CDC mask order as applied to freight railroads.

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The NRC is a trade association representing businesses from across the nation in the rail construction and maintenance field. NRC members range in size from small family businesses to the largest companies in the industry. NRC members perform work for transit, commuter, intercity passenger, industrial, and freight rail customers, with services including track construction and maintenance, grade crossings, signal and communications installation, bridge construction and repair, rail yard work, and many more. The NRC strives to put an emphasis on rail safety and quality while proudly serving the rail industry