November 2020 NRC Bulletin
December 1, 2020
NRC Updates and Announcements
NRC FirstLook 2021 Program Speakers, Panelists, and Information

In early November, the NRC announced that Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS) Chief Executive Officer James A. Squires will be the keynote speaker for NRC FirstLook 2021. Mr. Squires will be the featured executive for the first webcast on January 6, 2021 at 2:00pm ET, and will be hosted by NRC Chairman Jim Hansen, Chief Commercial Officer at Herzog, and NRC Vice Chairman Steve Bolte, Vice President of Business Development North America at Danella. To view the official press release, please click here.

Additionally, the NRC is pleased to announce the below speakers and panelists for our other primary tracks that are a part of the NRC FirstLook 2021 program:

Title: Signal and Communications Opportunities for Contractors and Suppliers Panel 

Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 2:00pm ET

Moderated by: Carl Walker, Chief Engineer Communications and Signals, CSX

-Tom Hilliard, Chief S&C, Canadian National Railway
-Jim LeVere, Vice President Eng-Signal and NCS, BNSF
-Jay McAndrew, General Director Signal Design & Construction, Union Pacific

More panelists/speakers will be announced as we receive confirmation.

TitleFreight Procurement Opportunities for Contractors and Suppliers Panel
Date: Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 2:00pm ET

Moderated by: Evan Bell, Head of Procurement, CSX

Panelists: To be announced in the coming weeks.

More panelists/speakers will be announced as we receive confirmation.

Title: Class 1 Capital Program and Opportunities for Contractors and Suppliers Panel 

Date: Wednesday January 27, 2021 at 2:00pm ET

Moderated by: To be announced in the coming weeks. More panelists/speakers will be announced as we receive confirmation.

-Ed Boyle, VP Engineering, Norfolk Southern
-Tod Echler, Chief Engineer M of W, CSX
-Shane Keller, Union Pacific
-Craig Rasmussen, AVP Engineering, BNSF

More panelists/speakers will be announced as we receive confirmation.
NRC FirstLook 2021 Registration:
To register, please click here. You will have the opportunity to register for individual events or take advantage of the discounted bundle price for all four events if you’re an NRC member. Not a member and want to join to get the discounted bundle, access to early booth registration for the 2022 conference, and more? Join now by clicking here. For more information on NRC FirstLook 2021, please visit:

For questions regarding the agenda, registration, sponsorships, the awards or anything else please reach out to NRC staff at or by phone at 202-975-0365.
NRC Elects Holland's Maggie Vuono to its Board of Directors

Holland LP National Sales Manager Maggie Vuono will officially join the NRC Board of Directors. Vuono will officially start her three-year term on January 1, 2021. She assumes the board position vacated by Scott Norman, Vice President of Operations at Herzog, when he terms out at the end of 2020.

Vuono will serve as one of 20 board members (see the current list here), and joins five other railway industry professionals who have been re-elected to board positions. The NRC’s board is made up of diverse group of railway professionals who have all excelled in the industry,” notes NRC President Ashley Wieland. “In addition to sharing their expertise, they roll up their sleeves and get things done to benefit our membership. I look forward to building a safer and stronger railway construction industry working with this talented board.
NRC Board of Directors Veteran Jody Sims Announces Retirement

On December 11, long-time NRC Board member Jody Sims will be retiring from the railroad construction industry after 35 years in the industry. Jody currently is the Business Development Manager at NRC member Stacy and Witbeck, having been a part of the team there for over seven years. Prior to joining Stacy and Witbeck, Jody was also a Business Development Manager at NRC Member Kiewit. Jody received a Bachelor's Degree from Utah State University prior to entering the industry.

NRC Chairman Jim Hansen of Herzog had this to say: "Jody has been absolutely essential to the continued success of the NRC. Jody has made a tremendous impact to the NRC Membership Committee and exemplifies the attributes of the NRC membership. It has been an honor to work with her over the years." In her retirement, Jody plans to spend more time with her grandchildren, family, and travel more.
NRC Board Member Kevin Hicks Named Freight Market Sector Leader for TranSystems

On December 1, NRC member TranSystems Corp., a national transportation consulting firm that provides engineering, architectural, planning and construction solutions, names Kevin Hicks, PE, as Market Sector Leader for the Freight Sector. In this role, Kevin will oversee sales and strategy for the company’s goods moving services for freight rail carriers, ports, and private developers. 
Kevin joined TranSystems in January 2019 and works out of the Omaha, Neb., office. He has more than 25 years of experience working for a Class 1 railroad with expertise in design and construction as well as maintenance of existing infrastructure. Hicks holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Missouri - Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology).
FY 2021 Senate Release Appropriations Bill

The Senate released its FY2021 appropriations bills on November 10, 2020. Please see below for an updated chart for the transportation accounts that are of importance. The goal is still to pass an omnibus appropriations spending bill before the end of the current CR (Continuing Resolution) which expires December 11, 2020.
USDOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on NEPA Procedures

On November 23, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) proposed to update and codify the Department-wide internal order regarding the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementation currently found in DOT Order 5610.1C, titled "Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts." To view the public notice, and see comment submission information, please click here.

USDOT proposed modifications to its NEPA procedures in response to the Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ's) final rule updating its NEPA regulation, as well as past reauthorization measures related to USDOT's environmental review process. Persons interested in submitting written comments on this NPRM must do so by December 23, 2020. For further information, please contact April Marchese by email at or by phone at 202-366-4416.
FRA Final Rule on Metrics and Standards for Intercity Passenger Rail

On November 16, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published the final rule in the Federal Register for measuring the performance and service quality of intercity passenger train operations. To view the press release, please click here.

The performance and service quality metrics relate to on-time performance and train delays, customer service, and financial and public benefits. The final rule requires Amtrak and its host railroads to certify Amtrak schedules, and sets an on-time performance minimum standard of 80% for any two consecutive calendar quarters. Other metrics include ridership, train delays, station performance, and host running time. For further information, please contact Kristin Ferriter by email at or by phone at 202-493-0197.
Austin, TX Light Rail Initiative Passes

On November 4, 2020 voters from the City of Austin, TX approved "Proposition A" which is a $7 billion project designed to expand bus and rail lines across Austin. The project, also known as "Project Connect," promises to strengthen mass transit and cut down on traffic in the area.

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk said "With the passage of Proposition A, voters have given the green light to a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revolutionize our transportation infrastructure and provide people in our community with a safe, reliable way to get around." Gina Fiandaca, Assistant City Manager for Mobility, said "We look forward to enagaging with the community as we move forward with our partners to reshape transit in Austin."
Thank you to our Fireside Chat NRC FirstLook 2021 Sponsors!

Many Thanks to our Primary Track and General Sponsors!
Industry News and Updates
On November 25, the state of Maryland announced they will pay $250 million to settle a legal dispute with the private Purple Line Transit Partners, a consortium of contractor firms hired to build the oft-delayed Purple Line, a 16-mile light-rail route that would extend from Bethesda to New Carrollton. The agreement between MDOT and the contractor consortium settles all outstanding calims and terminates the current litigation between the parties regarding the project. Governor Larry Hogan said, "This agreement is a major step toward completing the Purple Line a transformative project for our state and the region."

On November 30, the U.S. DOT's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced grant awards to six projects in six different states, totaling approximately $1.37 million in research funding through the Real-Time Asset Management Program. "These research grants will help improve transit operations and enhance safety for riders who use these systems everyday" said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. This program is an opportunity for transit agencies to assess, detect, monitor and track deficiencies related to infrastructure and evaluate the cost-effectiveness and practicality of proposed state-of-the art solutions.

Last week, Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Agency (WMATA) announced that it is temporarily sidelining its fleet of 6000-series railcars following a train-separation incident on the Red Line on November 24, 2020. The suspension will remain in effect until investigators fully understand the underlying causes and contributing factors involved. In the interim, WMATA will accommodate riders using its remaining in-service fleets and newer 7000-series cars.

On November 20, the U.S. Senate confirmed Robert Primus of New Jersey and Michelle Schultz of Pennsylvania to fill the two remaining vacancies on the Surface Transportation Board (STB). The confirmations result in the first time that the STB has been fully staffed since the STB Reauthorization Act in 2015. Freight rail companies and contractors alike are encouraged by the results, and look forward to more meaningful and in-depth conversations with the STB.

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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