July 2020 NRC Bulletin
July 30, 2020
NRC Updates and Announcements
Legislative Update: House Passes Moving Forward Act, NRC Staff Monitoring Transportation Appropriations in House and COVID-19 Stimulus bills in Senate

Congress is staring down the barrel of a month-long August recess but appropriations bills in the House and additional stimulus measures in the Senate stand in the way.

On July 27, Senate Republicans unveiled language for a $1 trillion dollar package, the HEALS act, that addresses unemployment benefits, healthcare funding, airports, and some other transportation-related areas. However, transit funding and state and local government funding was left out of the initial draft bill. See here for a summary. The proposed bill is roughly $2 trillion dollars less than the HEROES Act, which passed the House in a mostly partisan vote on May 15. With only a short time remaining before the scheduled August recess, lawmakers are in DC this week and next trying to work out the details. To see the NRC's comprehensive list of COVID-19 resources (including a thorough breakdown of the stimulus packages), please click here.

Additionally, the House will be voting later this week on a package of its FY2021 spending bills, including the Transportation-HUD bill. NRC staff is continuously monitoring the bill for funding levels and amendments relevant to NRC members.

Finally, on July 1, the House passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The bill addresses major funding provisions to federal-aid highway, transit, highway safety and several rail programs of the Department of Transportation. Among other provisions, the bill extends FY2020 enacted levels through FY2021 for federal-aid highway, transit, and safety programs. reauthorizes several surface transportation programs (including rail), includes language to combat climate change, and revises some Buy America provisions. If you would like to read a summary of the bill please click here.

The NRC’s legislative team and Policy and Legislative Committee (PLC) are actively engaged on all of the above mentioned bills.   If you have any questions, please reach out to NRC staff by email at  info@nrcma.org  or by phone at 202-975-0365.
NRC Webinar: Class I CapEx updates for rail contractors and suppliers
Sponsored by:
Please make sure to join us on August 11, 2020 from 3-4pm ET or capital expenditure updates from two Class I railroads! These updates are always a highlight of the NRC Annual Conference each January. In this unprecedented year, the NRC is pleased to bring you a webinar featuring mid-year updates from the engineering departments of both BNSF Railway and CN Railway.

This hour-long webinar is an opportunity to learn how these Class Is have changed their 2020 CapEx programs and what’s ahead in the post-coronavirus world. The webinar is geared toward railway contractors and suppliers. You don't want to miss this invaluable information and insight from panelists followed by a candid discussion and Q&A. 

  • Carole Morey, Assistant Vice President, Capital Cost Management, Environment and Design Construction, CN
  • Craig Rasmussen, Assistant Vice President, BNSF

  • Ashley Wieland, President, NRC

This webinar is open to NRC member companies and their employees. Not an NRC member and want to participate?  Join by clicking here . It will be of particular value to senior and middle management in sales and marketing and business development, or anyone at your company who forecasts business and executes projects. A replay will be available on the members only portion of the NRC website following the presentation. 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: 2021 NRC Conference will be January 6-9!

NRC Members and industry friends, please make sure to save the dates of January 6th through the 9th for our 43rd Annual NRC Conference. More information on registration, exhibit booths, sponsorships and other logistics will be forthcoming.

Your health and safety are our top priority . NRC staff and the Board of Directors are monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and guidance from the CDC as well as local, state and federal officials in order to host a safe and healthy conference.

Whether in-person or virtual, the NRC conference will be an opportunity for rail contractors and suppliers and others in the industry to kick-off the year with valuable insight from rail customers as well as opportunities to connect with friends old and new. You won’t want to miss it.  
NRC Members: The 2020 NRC Scholarship application period has begun!

The 2020 NRC 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 for the application is September 15, 2020.

In order to apply, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
  • be a son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter 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 mmcgonagle@nrcma.org with "2020 Scholarship Application" in the subject line.
Trump eases major environmental protection laws to spur infrastructure projects

On July 15, President Trump rolled back permitting requirements for new infrastructure construction under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in an attempt to speed up lengthy reviews of large projects like bridges and highways.

" This is a truly historic breakthrough which means better roads, bridges, tunnels and highway...together we're reclaiming America's proud heritage as a nation of builders and a nation that could get things done" said President Trump of the move. As a part of the order come an overhaul to the process, speeding up decisions by imposing deadlines and eliminating redundancies for reviews.
NRC Members: Update your company's directory listing and help show industry footprint and impact to Congress

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused numerous issues and business disruptions across the globe. Corporate offices have shifted to satellite or remote offices, and company employees are no longer located in one area. To make sure we are doing our part, we request that NRC members to update their company's directory listings by clicking here. In doing so, you can help NRC staff have a better understanding of the footprint that our members have across the globe.

When advocating for industry issues to Members of Congress, being able to provide tangible statistics of where our members operate truly shows the value this industry provides. Additionally, if your company is interested in a virtual grassroots event with a member of Congress to show off your facility or project site, please contact NRC staff at info@nrcma.org.
FRA announces reorganization, debuts new organizational chart

On June 8, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that the Office of Railroad Safety had been working on and had completed a proposed reorganization. The reorg is part of FRA's answer to plateauing safety statistics and changes in railroad operations. FRA is responding to these changes to "continue to have a positive influence on safety of the railroad industry" said FRA Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety Karl Alexy in a letter to industry stakeholders.

The reorg encourage clear and consistent communication and collaboration between the Administration and its' industry partners. The FRA established Safety Management Teams that will serve as a primary FRA point of contact for each individual Class 1 railroad or group of railroads. This move will benefit the entire industry as there will be more consistent enforcement of compliance regulations across the board. If you would like to see an overview of the changes, please click here .
Be aware of unsolicited phishing attacks from third party vendors

We are sure that many of you have received unsolicited emails from companies claiming to sell attendees lists to the NRC Conference, along with many other trade shows and events in the industry. The NRC does NOT sell or share its members' or conference attendees' contact information and wants to reiterate that groups selling these lists are NOT affiliated with the NRC.

Please make sure to be vigilant of scams including any solicitations via email that could be phishing attacks. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this contact NRC staff at info@nrcma.org.
Industry News and Updates
Sign the Staggers Act 40th Anniversary Letter today !
2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act, which de-regulated the railroad industry. This historic Act led to the creation of short line railroads and allowed freight railroads to earn enough revenue to make necessary massive investments into the rail network, which continue to be the life blood of rail contractors and suppliers. GoRail, NRC, and other industry trade associations support, and encourage, the signing of this letter t o the Surface Transportation Board (STB) advocating for smart and balanced rail regulation. The letter is only collecting signatures for the next few months, so make sure to sing today.

On July 27, New Jersey Transit's board entered an agreement with Amtrak to begin replacement of the Portal Bridge in spring 2021. NJ Transit and Amtrak will take bids from construction companies interested in the project later this year or early next year. The 110-year-old swing span bridge over the Hackensack River is a constant source of delays on the Northeast Corridor.

The week of July 20, US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao released a policy document intended to serve as a roadmap for crossmodal technology innovators to engage with the USDOT. The "Pathways to the Future of Transportation" was released a year after Chao announced the formation of the Non-Traditional and Emergency Transportation Technology (NETT) Council. The document "will help address legitimate public concerns about safety, security, and privacy without hampering innovation" said Chao.

On July 30, Canadian Pacific released its first public statement on climate change. President and CEO Keith Creel, and keynote speaker at the 2020 NRC Conference, said "CP recognizes the importance of using energy efficiently and reducing the impact our operations have on the environment." The railroad continues to align with climate initiatives, and they are adopting strategies that take the potential climate change risks into effect. Please click here to view the full statement and CP's commitment to sustainability.

On July 27, CN announced plans to spend $60 million across Louisiana and $50 million across Mississippi on infrastructure projects this year. In Louisiana, the dollars will go toward a multiyear project to rebuild the McComb Spillway Bridge. Over the past five years, CN has spent more than $280 million on capital investments in the state. In Mississippi, CN will focus on implementing PTC and installing over 125,000 ties. In the state, CN has spent more then $265 million on infrastructure over the past five years.
The NRC is a trade association representing businesses from across the nation in the rail construction and maintenance field. The NRC’s member companies 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.
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