June 2020 NRC Bulletin
June 30, 2020
NRC Updates and Announcements
NRC releases statement on House T&I Committee mark-up of INVEST in America Act, continues to monitor House floor action on Moving Forward Act

On June 19, 2020 The NRC released a statement on the INVEST in America Act, read the full statement here. The NRC is actively monitoring the House floor activity this week on the bill as the major piece to the House Infrastructure bill, the “Moving Forward Act.”

The NRC is pleased to see the House T&I Committee leadership take action on the next iteration of the surface transportation bill which is set to expire on September 30, 2020. The lack of a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill upon the expiration of the FAST Act will undoubtedly create difficulties for all transportation stakeholders and hinder efficiencies. Therefore, we support every effort to get a surface transportation reauthorization bill enacted prior to the expiration of the FAST Act.

However, the NRC has concerns over certain provisions in the bill, namely, labor provisions that would restrict competition and legislate a permanent mandate for certain types of rail-related work to be performed exclusively in-house, or that contracting out can only be done under certain collective bargaining agreements. These provisions would increase costs and reduce flexibility for states, commuter and passenger rail authorities, and would make it harder to initiate or expand rail service, especially in an era of limited resources. In addition, the NRC shares its freight railroad customers’ concerns over numerous provisions in the bill.

The NRC’s legislative team and Policy and Legislative Committee (PLC) are actively engaged on the bill and look forward to working collaboratively with Congress on improving the legislation as it moves through the legislative process. If you have any questions, 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 hosted at the wonderful Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, FL. More information on registration, exhibit booths, sponsorships and a hotel room block will be forthcoming.

Your health and safety are our top priority. NRC staff 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.

Rail contractors and suppliers, and all other folks who plan to attend have the tremendous opportunity to network with their current and perhaps new railroad customers. Whether you want to participate in the annual NRC golf tournament, listen to Class I capital expenditure plans, attend a breakout session, or just want to be a part of the premier networking event of the industry, please make sure to mark January 6-9 on your calendar!
NRC COVID-19 best practices webinar

On June 18, NRC staff and members of the NRC Safety Committee hosted a COVID-19 best practices webinar detailing how to navigate job sites and facilities to keep employees and the general public safe amid the reopening.

The webinar was intended for management personnel with safety, operations, facilities and human resources or compliance responsibilities . If you would like to download and view this presentation, please click here.
NRC Members: is your NRC directory listing up to date?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused numerous issues to companies across the globe. To make sure that NRC staff is doing its part, we wanted to remind you of one benefit to NRC membership in particular is an online directory listing, which is available to the public.

To view your company's listing please view our website at www.nrcma.org . If you have any questions, would like to correct your company's listing, have trouble accessing the listing or any other questions please contact NRC staff at info@nrcma.org or by telephone at 202-975-0365.
USDOT announces $906 million investment to revitalize America's infrastructure

On June 18, US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the Trump Administration plans to invest up to $906 million in America's Infrastructure through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program. To read the full announcement, including a list of the winning projects, please click here .

Chao said " This Administration is focused on infrastructure improvements and this $906 million in federal funding will improve major highways, bridges, ports, and railroads across the country to better connect our communities, enhance safety, and support economic growth

INFRA grants support the Administration's commitment to fixing the nation's infrastructure by allowing public and the private sector opportunities to use innovative ways to fund infrastructure. DOT evaluated over 173 eligible applicants from over 47 states, who collectively asked for approximately $7.4 billion in grant funds; far more than the allocated amount of $906 million.
FRA issues notice for state-of-good-repair grants

On June 10, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) of up to $291 million dollars for intercity passenger rail assets in need of state-of-good repair grants.

Eligible applications may involve railroad infrastructure, equipment or facility assets such as track, ballast, switches and interlockings, bridges, communication and signal systems, power systems, grade crossings, stations, passenger cars, locomotives, maintenance-of-way equipment, yards, terminal areas and maintenance shops

Applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. ET, July 27, 2020. See the  FY 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)  for more information. On July 1, 2020 please attend a webinar hosted by FRA on the FY 2020 Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity . Click here to register for that webinar.
President Trump waives environmental reviews, citing pandemic economic emergency

On June 4, the Trump Administration directed Federal Agencies to waive requirements of some of the country's most significant environmental laws. The waiver is intended to fast-track big infrastructure projects that will help stimulate the economy as the country reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic. To view the full executive order, please click here.

The move is also aimed to help reduce time-consuming processes and regulatory hurdles that are typically associated with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and projects subjected to it. Big projects subject to NEPA and its' long approval process can sometimes take several years.
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FRA Job Posting: Director, Office of Railroad Infrastructure and Mechanical

The FRA has posted the Director, Office of Railroad Infrastructure and Mechanical position to its website. T his position is located in the Office of Railroad Safety within the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The role will serve as the Director, Office of Railroad Infrastructure and Mechanical and contribute to the development and execution of rail safety programs, including providing technical guidance to the Office’s inspection and technical staff on discipline-specific technical issues

Specifically, the Director, Office of Railroad Infrastructure and Mechanical will provide executive oversight of the motive power and equipment, track, rail integrity, and bridge inspection, enforcement, and accident investigation technical areas. As a senior member of the Office of Railroad Safety leadership team, the Director is a primary source of executive advice and leadership for technical standards, policies, and enforcement. If you would like more information on the posting, please click here.
Industry News and Updates
On June 29, CN announced it plans to invest nearly CA$1.3 billion in capital expenditure projects in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec. Included in those projects include expansion projects and multiyear initiatives to increase capacity at the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert in collaboration with the Canadian government, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

On June 25, the Build America Bureau of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has extended to August 15 the deadline for submitting letters of interest in financing through the pilot Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Express (RRIF Express) load program. The deadline, originally June 15, has been extended 60 days due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Administered by the Build America Bureau, RRIF Express is a pilot program meant to increase access to RRIF loans for short lines and regional railroads seeking financing for infrastructure projects.

On June 18, key rail industry associations released announcements on the INVEST Act and also raised their concerns. The NRC ( statement here ) was highlighted as being encouraged that Congress is working on an infrastructure package and a surface transportation reauthorization bill. However, concerns over certain labor provisions and serious issues raised by freight rail customers were echoed by the NRC.

Staggers Act 40th Anniversary Letter
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 to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) advocating for smart and balanced rail regulation. The letter will be signed by over 1,000 public officials, community leaders, and companies will help support healthy and strong railroads.
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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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