February 2021 NRC Bulletin
February 25, 2021
NRC Updates and Announcements
NRC Annual Equipment Auction is Going Virtual on 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

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 Webinar: Register for Short Line Railroad CEO Panel
on March 18, 2021

Sponsored by:
On Thursday, March 18 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET, the NRC is hosting a webinar featuring CEO's from the short line railroad segment of the railway industry. The webinar will help rail contractors identify upcoming trends and forecasts in the short line industry and learn about how they can play a role going forward. This webinar is free and for NRC members only.

Panelists:
  • Doc Claussen, President, Gulf & Ohio Railways
  • John Fenton, CEO, Patriot Rail & Ports
  • Dan Smith, CEO, Watco Companies, LLC
  • ‍Lon Van Gemert, CEO, Progressive Rail
‍‍‍Moderator:
  • Ashley Wieland, President, NRC

If you would like to register, please click here. Sponsorships are available for this webinar, so please contact NRC staff for more information. If you have any questions at this time, please reach out to NRC staff by email at info@nrcma.org or by phone at 202-975-0365. 
Save the Date: Railroad Day on Capitol Hill 2021 is Going Virtual on April 13 and 14

Railroad Day on the Hill has proven to be one of the most effective ways of getting the industry's message to Congress. The diversity of the participants, and the unified railroad industry message helps Congress understand our issues, and allows the industry to make connections for future advocacy efforts.

In 2021, the meetings with Congressional Offices will be conducted via Zoom. The event will be spread out over two days, April 13 and 14. You will be scheduled into Zoom meetings that are directly relevant to your business, without having to worry about committing to 10 hours of meetings, or a trip to DC.

Attendance is open to all Class I, II, and III railroad personnel, shippers, labor rail representatives, state and local government representatives, as well as members from the contractor and supplier community with an interest in furthering the political goals of the railroad industry. If you would like to register, please click here.
USDOT INFRA NOFO Released

On February 17, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced it is seeking applicants for the FY 2021 round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program to fund transportation projects of national and regional significance. The funding available for this year's grants totals approximately $889 million, and the NOFO will remain open through Friday, March 19, 2021 at 11:59pm ET.

"We are committed to not just rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, but building back in a way that positions American communities for success in the future—creating good paying jobs, boosting the economy, ensuring equity, and tackling our climate crisis. The INFRA grant program is a tremendous opportunity to help achieve these goals" said DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg. USDOT seeks projects that apply innovative technology, delivery, or financing methods with proven outcomes to deliver projects in a cost effective manner. For more information, please click here.
NRC and Mass Transit Magazine Webinar:
Register for Recap of Rail Ballot Initiatives from the 2020 Election on March 3, 2021
On March 3 from 2:00 - 3:00pm ET, please join the NRC and Mass Transit for a webinar recapping rail ballot initiatives from the 2020 election. The webinar will feature insights from key industry thought leaders on the topic and how it will impact your business and local communities. Register today to learn more about the successful commuter rail-related ballot initiatives from the 2020 election cycle and important next steps. 

Panelists:
  • Randy Clarke, President & CEO, Austin Cap Metro
  • ‍Josh Cohen, Executive Director, APTA Center for Transportation Excellence
  • Eric Lausten, Principal, Husch Blackwell Strategies
‍‍‍Moderator:
  • Mischa Wanek-Libman, Executive Editor, Mass Transit

If you have any questions at this time, please reach out to NRC staff by email at info@nrcma.org or by phone at 202-975-0365. 
NRC Membership 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: Guzzler Manufacturing, Maintenance of Way Solutions, Inc, and Robolube Industries, Inc. DBA RBL.
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.
FMCSA Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 Expanded and Extended

On February 12, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared that the continuing national emergency warrants extension of the expanded modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002. FMCSA issued the Emergency Declaration in response to the March 13, 2020 declaration of a national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the risks the virus poses to public health and welfare.

FMCSA has previously modified the Emergency Declaration to expand and remove categories of supplies, equipment and persons covered by the Emergency Declaration to respond to changing needs for emergency relief. After being expanded and extended in 2020, the Emergency Declaration will continue through May 31, 2021. To view the announcement, please click here.
Register for UT Knoxville's Center for Transportation Railroad Track & Safety Standards Workshop

From March 15-19, the University of Tennessee - Knoxville's Center for Transportation Research is hosting an online workshop on railroad track and safety standards.

During the workshop you will learn how to organize conduct, and document track inspections, how to measure track parameters, develop a clear understanding of the Federal Track Safety Standards and the FRA track inspection process, and how to use inspection results to identify track maintenance needs and plan for maintenance activities.

To view the workshop flyer, please click here. The program's intended audience are track inspection personnel from short line, regional, and Class I railroads along with railroad contractors and consultants. If you have any questions or would like to register please visit http://ctr.utk.edu/CTRrailcourses/ or call 865-974-5255.
Industry News and Updates
This month, Progressive Railroading Magazine reported that many rail advocates are cautiously optimistic about the potential for major surface transportation legislation to pass on Capitol Hill this year, despite the nation's political leaders dealing with multiple crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Rail executives and associations alike believe the industry is ideally suited to help solve national infrastructure challenges and help boost the economic recovery. In particular NRC members are "hoping Congress will pass increases in federal grants and funding allocations of transit-rail and Amtrak construction projects, which would help boost economic recovery by putting rail contractors to work" said NRC President Ashley Wieland in the article.

On February 24, CN's board announced the creation of an Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC), an independent body comprised of Indigenous peoples from across Canada. The council's mandate is to advise the board and senior management on issues that either the company or the IAC believe are relevant to CN, company officials said. The IAC's formation is among new environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures announced by CN including an annual advisory vote on the company's climate action plan, and increasing the diversity of CN's board and senior management.

On February 23, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced they had selected the design-build team of Hensel Phelps-Stantec to design and deliver the WMATA Rail Heavy Repair and Overhaul (HRO) Facility, located in Prince George's County, Maryland. The project is approximately $225 million, and will support WMATA's goals for greater efficiency and a new process for railcar maintenance, repairs, and overall operations. The upgraded facility will advance WMATA's goals for an improved transit experience as authorities across the nation prepare for a rebound in ridership following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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