August 2021 NRC Bulletin
August 31, 2021
NRC Updates and Announcements
NRC 2022 Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition is Jan 5-8!

Mark your calendars for January 5-8, 2022 in Phoenix, AZ at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa for the 43rd Annual NRC Conference & NRC-REMSA Exhibition.

The NRC is pleased to announce that Union Pacific Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance M. Fritz will be the Fireside Chat Keynote at the annual conference. The fireside chat is a candid and far-ranging discussion with a Class I chief executive. Fritz is expected to share his insights about Union Pacific, the issues confronting the rail industry, and the state of commerce across North America and beyond. For more information, check out the press release on the NRC website.

NRC members received a significant registration rate discount. Not currently an NRC member? Please visit for more information. If you have any questions regarding registration or your membership status please contact Mike McGonagle at or call 202-975-0365.

Hotel: The NRC has secured a room block for conference attendees at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. You may make your hotel reservations through our passkey link here or by calling the JW Marriott Desert Ridge directly at 1-800-835-6206. Make sure to mention the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Conference to receive the discounted room rate. All guest rooms must be guaranteed with a non-refundable deposit for the first night’s room and tax.

Exhibit Hall: Exhibit space for the 2022 NRC-REMSA Exhibition is on sale now! For questions regarding booths, see the links below or contact Urszula Soucie at (202) 844-6026 or by email at

Questions? Contact Mike McGonagle at or 202-975-0365.
We ask that our members and conference attendees be vigilant of scams including any solicitations via phone or email that offer hotel deals or conference registration lists on behalf of the NRC. These groups are not affiliated with the NRC. Please check the NRC website or contact staff directly for the most up-to-date conference information.
FRA Announces CRISI Grants

On August 27, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO), making available almost $362 million through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program. CRISI grants fund projects that reduce congestion, improve short-line and regional railroad infrastructure, relocate rail lines, enhance multimodal connections and facilitate service integration between rail and other modes.

The grants will help build resilience across U.S. supply chains in support of the Buden-Harris administration's ongoing Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. "CRISI is an opportunity to invest in safety and economic progress across the rail networks that support and connect the nation continues to recover from the pandemic, these projects will create jobs and improve communities" said FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose. For more information on CRISI grants, and to register for a September 21 CRISI NOFO Webinar, please click here.
Senate Passes Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, heads to House

On August 10, the Senate passed the $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), by a vote of 69-30. The bipartisan infrastructure deal includes $110 billion for roads, bridges, & major projects, $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, and $39.2 billion for public transit funding.

In a joint statement, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) said "The bipartisan legislation the Senate is now considering is a historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure needs... This investment is being made without new tax hikes on everyday families. Independent studies have shown that the long-term spending for capital assets in this measure will improve economic efficiency and productivity, increase GDP, generate additional revenue, and will not increase inflation."

On August 24, after lengthy negotiations with 10 moderate House Democrats, the House passed a rule on a party line vote (220-212) that automatically passes the budget resolution previously passed by the Senate, and set a deadline of September 27 for a final vote on the IIJA. That deadline comes days before the FAST Act extension is set to expire on September 30. The NRC’s legislative team and Policy and Legislative Committee (PLC) will remain actively engaged on the bill as it proceeds through the legislative process. More information on IIJA is on the NRC website.
KCS to Hold CN-KCS merger vote in September, CP offers revised merger bid

On August 19, Kansas City Southern (KCS) announced it will wait until September 3rd to decide whether they will approve the merger agreement with Canadian National (CN). KCS had planned to hold the vote the week of August 19, but opted to postpone the meeting until after the Surface Transportation Board renders its decision on CN's proposed voting trust. That STB is scheduled to render a decision on August 31, 2021.

On August 10, CP offered a revised bid worth an estimated $31 billion to acquire KCS, which KCS subsequently dismissed. CP is still interested in acquiring KCS should the merger fall through. “By rightly postponing Thursday’s meeting, the KCS Board of Directors appropriately will allow stockholders to have access to all the information needed before voting on the CN-KCS merger proposal,” including the STB’s decision on CN’s proposed voting trust, CP said Thursday in response to KCS’ decision.
2021 NRC Scholarship Applications Due September 30

The NRC 2021 Scholarship Program is currently accepting applications and wants your child or grandchild to apply. The NRC offers tuition assistance to children or grandchildren of NRC member company employees. The deadline to submit your application is Thursday, September 30, 2021.

This year, three total scholarships will be awarded as follows: the first place applicant will receive $12,000, the second place applicant will receive $6,000, and the third place applicant will receive $3,000. Scholarship funds, awarded annually, will be sent directly to the student at the beginning of the next term of study. Students must be in attendance for a full year following receipt of the award.

In order to apply, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
  • be a daughter, son, granddaughter or grandson of a current employee of an NRC member company. Not a member? Click here to join today.
  • be enrolled at the time of application as a full-time college student at an accredited two-year college offering an Associate's degree or an accredited four-year college or university, or if the student is a recent high school graduate enrolling at one of the aforementioned institutions.

Please compile the completed application with all required materials and send directly by email to with "2021 NRC Scholarship Application" in the subject line.
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: Coreslab Structures, Industrial Railroad & Civil Services, and Polycorp.
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.
TSA Extends Mask Mandate

On August 20, The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it was extending the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the United States, including airports, on-board commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through January 18, 2022.

The TSA’s update does not affect the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Emergency Order Requiring Face Mask Use in Railroad Operations (EO 32), which has remained in effect since it was issued on March 1, 2021. As a reminder, the U. S. Department of Transportation has published responses to FAQs pertaining to the applicability to the EO on its website. Any additional questions on EO 32 can be directed to the FRA at
NRC Grassroots Events Survey

The NRC is dedicated to serving the needs of NRC Members and the railroad contractor and supplier community. That includes making sure that our members have their voices heard on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress frequently mention in-person 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 interested, 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
Industry News and Updates
On August 29, more than three months after service was suspended, limited service started on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail-system. The service returned in time for football fans to use light rail to ravel to Levi's stadium for the San Francisco 49ers preseason games. Light-rail service had been suspended for more than three months following the tragic May 26 shooting at the authority's Guadalupe Yard, where nine employees were killed. As the authority helped its employees work through the tragedy, it had to contend with operational impacts, as well. A temporary bus bridge ceased operation due to limited staffing levels and an initial target to restore light-rail service at the end of July was revised. The light-rail service is operating fare free through Sept 12., and the authority says it will continue a return to service in phases.

On August 27, the grade separated crossing at East 31st Avenue in San Mateo, CA will open to all modes of traffic for the first time, providing a new east-west connection from El Camino Real to the Bay Meadows neighborhood. This is the final road component of the 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project, which improves transit accessibility for San Mateo’s Bay Meadows neighborhood, reduces train horn noise and gives the city welcomed ease from east-west traffic congestion. The new road will provide an additional east-west connection that grants easier and safer access to the Hillsdale Shopping Center, Bay Meadows Town Square and the Hillsdale Caltrain Station.

The week of August 23, the Biden-Harris administration announced that John Porcari, former secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, will be the port envoy to the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. The task force, which was established in June, will address supply-and-demand mismatches that emerged in several sectors as the economy reawakened following the administration's vaccination and economic relief effort. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg leads the task force's focus on ports and trucking issues.

On August 24, Kansas City Southern (KCS) announced it had recently forged a partnership with Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College (NLTCC) to offer a skilled trade women's scholarship program. The scholarships will fund the education, training and skills improvement of three women who are pursuing diesel, electrician, industrial maintenance technology, industrial instrumentation and electrical technician, or welding careers. "The goal of this scholarship program is to increase awareness of the excellent job opportunities and increased economic stability available to women who work in a skilled trade profession," said KCS Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Lora Cheatum.

On August 20, USDOT Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg led a news conference announcing the department's intent to approve expanded TIFIA financing for Sound Transit's critical transit expansions. The action will represent USDOT's largest-ever package of loans for a single borrower in the history of the department's Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. The package will total $3.84 billion for six projects. It includes a new TIFIA loan for the Downtown Redmond Link Extension, and refinancing of five previously approved loans under improved terms. 
"The major package of loans that USDOT has approved for Sound Transit demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to public transit, job creation, equity and tackling climate change," said Deputy Secretary Trottenberg.
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