June 2022 NRC Bulletin

June 30, 2022

NRC Updates and Announcements

FRA Announces Over $368 Million in CRISI Grant Recipients

On June 2, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced over $368 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program funds to 46 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia. The selected projects announced will improve and expand passenger rail, increase supply chain resilience and fluidity, support short line railroads, invest in new technology and safety advancements, and benefit rail industry workforce development. 

“This round of CRISI grants – one of the largest ever – is a major step forward for the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to revitalize and rebuild the country’s infrastructure,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “These awards will allow FRA to support rail projects that lay the groundwork for future economic growth.” Examples of projects funded this year include the Raleigh to Richmond Corridor Infrastructure Engineering & Safety Program (Up to $57,900,000), Great Lakes Corridor Improvement (Up to $21,340,300), and the Port of Baltimore Rail Capacity Modernization Project (Up to $15,680,000). To view a full list of FY21 recipients, please click here

NRC and REMSA Unveil Grassroots Events Video 

NRC and REMSA staff put together a short video to highlight past successful grassroots events and the efforts of both NRC and REMSA member companies to advance our industry's message on Capitol Hill. The video discusses how these events are an effective tool in showcasing the economic benefit of railroad contractors and suppliers to the industry, supply chain, and nation. To view the video, please click here or click on the thumbnail below: 

Are interested in learning more about the NRC grassroots program and advocacy for members? Is your organization interested in hosting or participating in a grassroots event? If you and your organization are, or have any questions about the program and the benefits to membership, please click here or email NRC staff at info@nrcma.org. 


NRC 2022 Education Grant: Deadline Extended through August!

The NRC is now accepting applications for its Education Grant Program. Originally scheduled to have a deadline in late Spring, and in order to give each University the chance to apply given the large workload at the end of the spring semester, the deadline is now Wednesday, August 31.

The Program awards an education grant to a college, university or technical school within the United States with a railway construction, railway engineering or construction management program. This year the NRC will award one $15,000 grant to the top applicant. Applications will be judged by the NRC Education Committee. NRC Education grant funds are intended for targeted student educational and research purposes. Learn more about the program and download the application here.

The deadline for receiving completed applications is Wednesday, August 31. Applicants will be informed of their application status shortly after Labor Day. Grant application materials can be emailed to info@nrcma.org, sent via Adobe PDF, Dropbox or similar program.

Renew Your NRC Membership or Join Today!

It's time to renew your company's NRC 2022 membership. NRC staff has emailed your organization's primary contact for with all corresponding information for your organization's renewal. If your organization was a member in 2021, and you would like to renew or have any questions about renewing or joining in please contact NRC staff at info@nrcma.org

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.

RSAC Meets for First Time in 2022  

On June 27, the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) met in-person in Washington, DC for the first time in 2022. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss five tasks the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is proposing the committee take on, including improvements to worker protection protocols. 

After a safety briefing and remarks from FRA Administrator Amit Bose, RSAC members discussed the different RSAC working groups that are currently working on the topic track standards and geometry. Specifically, Automated Track Inspection (ATI) was highlighted and FRA staff cleared up some confusion from a June 14 Freight Rail Safety Hearing, reiterating that test programs and waivers are not needed to use ATI, and current FRA regulations do not restrict ATI. The group also highlighted ongoing efforts on Roadway Worker Protection (RWP), and Confidential Close Call Reporting (C3RS).

The meeting adjourned without votes, as RSAC will vote once the membership is fully appointed. The Biden Administration rechartered RSAC in November 2021, increasing the number of voting members from 34 to 51. RSAC plans to meet again before the end of the year. 

House Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Markup FY 2023 Bill 

On June 23, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) marked up the FY 2023 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill and approved the bill. Click here to view the full bill text. The full House Appropriations Committee will hold its markup of the proposed bill and several other FY23 appropriations bills on June 30. Please see below for an updated appropriation chart: 

Additionally, a brief summary can be found below:

  • Total FY23 funding for USDOT: $105.4 billion in total budgetary resources, $2.4 billion above FY22.
  • RAISE/BUILD/TIGER grants: $775 million for FY23, the same amount as provided in FY22 – this is additional to the $1.5 billion provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for FY23 RAISE grants. At least 5 percent must go toward planning projects and $30 million is set aside for projects in historically disadvantaged communities or areas of persistent poverty.
  • CRISI grants: $630 million in addition to the $1 billion made available by the BIL for FY23. Of this $630 million, $150 million is reserved for the development of new intercity passenger rail service routes and $25 million for trespassing prevention projects.
  • PIDP grants: $300 million in addition to the $450 million provided by the BIL. Of the amount made available by the appropriations bill, at least $275 million must go toward coastal seaport or Great Lakes port projects. Funding may not be used for the purchase or installation of fully automated cargo handling equipment or fully automated terminal infrastructure.
  • Regional Infrastructure Accelerator: $12 million for the RIA demonstration program, the same amount as provided in FY22.
  • Earmarks: approximately $1.275 billion for highway projects in Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending.
  • Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy: $2 million for salaries and expenses.

NRC Member Testifies at House T&I Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Freight Rail Safety Hearing

On June 14, the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure's Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials held a hearing titled "Examining Freight Rail Safety." The purpose of the hearing was to hear from government and industry stakeholder witnesses on the state of freight rail safety and issues pertinent to keeping rail operations, rail workers, and communities safe. 

During the hearing, Members of Congress and witnesses alike discussed ongoing safety initiatives and challenges facing the railroad industry. Nate Bachman (photo top right), VP Marketing and Business Development at NRC Member company Loram Technologies, Inc. delivered testimony at the hearing. During his testimony, Bachman discussed Automated Track Inspection (ATI) technology, the economic significance of the rail supply segment to the country, the benefits of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the value of industry associations. To view the hearing, please click here. 

FRA Issues Fatigue Management Final Rule 

On June 13, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published a final rule that now requires Class I railroads, Amtrak, and commuter railroads to include fatigue risk management plans as part of their larger system safety and risk reduction programs. The final rule titled "Fatigue Risk Management Programs for Certain Passenger and Freight Railroads," can be viewed here

“Under the regulation,” the FRA said in a statement, “Class I freight railroads, Amtrak and commuter railroads must develop and implement a Fatigue Risk Management Program (FRMP) as part of their larger system safety and risk reduction programs. Before submitting a FMRP plan to FRA for approval, each railroad is required to consult with affected employees to identify fatigue hazards, as well as specific actions to be taken to mitigate or eliminate those risks...This rule is one of several ongoing FRA initiatives to address the complex operational, environmental, and cultural issues that contribute to fatigue.” FRA’s rule comes as Democratic leaders with the U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials urged FRA in April to do something about worker fatigue. 

Industry News and Updates

Three dead, dozens injured after Amtrak train derails in Missouri

On June 27, an Amtrak train derailed near Mendon Missouri, killing three people and injuring dozens. The accident occurred at 12:42pm CT when Amtrak's Southwest Chief Train 4, on its way from Los Angeles to Chicago, collided with a truck that was obstructing a grade crossing, resulting in eight rail cars and two locomotives derailing. About 275 passengers and 12 crew members were on board. The NRC extends our deepest condolences to all those impacted by this unfortunate event. 

Silver Line Extension transferred to Metro’s control

During the week of June 20, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) took control of the Silver Line Extension. This milestone, known as the "Operational Readiness Date" (ORD) marks the point where provisional care and control of the extension, which includes six new Silver Line stations, 11.4 miles of new track, and a new rail yard, is formally transferred from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to Metro. The Silver Line Extension will connect the Metrorail system with Herndon, Washington Dulles International Airport and points in Loudoun County, Va. The six new rail stations are: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway, and Ashburn. The Extension also includes a new, 90-acre rail yard with storage capacity for 168 railcars and new maintenance facilities to service, inspect and clean the trains.

STB orders four Class Is to provide more detailed service recovery plans

On June 13, The Surface Transportation Board (STB) ordered BNSF Railway Co.CSXNorfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad to correct deficiencies in their rail service recovery plans filed in response to a board order issued May 6. The STB had required the railroads to develop the plans in response to severe service problems occurring across their networks. This comes in response to the two-day STB hearing in April on shippers' complaints about problems with recent rail service. In response, the board asked the four Class Is to file service recovery plans that would specifically describe their remedial initiatives and promote a clearer vantage point into operating conditions on the rail network. 

At BNSF, 'Orange is the New Green.' The Class I aims to cut emissions 30% by 2030

Within the past year, BNSF committed to achieving a 30% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) by 2030, however the largest freight railroad in North America by volume has been working on shrinking its carbon footprint for decades. BNSF is focusing on three areas to reach that 2030 goal: fuel efficiency, renewable fuels (diesel and biofuels) and advanced energy, says John Lovenburg, the railroad's vice president of environment and sustainability. "We see [sustainability] is part of the future. And as a key part of meeting our carbon targets, we also have to meet our customers’ expectations as far as where they’re going," says Lovenburg. 

Mid-Coast Corridor Program Delivered with a Project-First Mentality

Mid-Coast Transit Constructors (MCTC) is a joint venture of NRC member companies Stacy & Witbeck, Herzog, and Skanska, and also were the recipients of the 2021 NRC Large Construction Project of the Year award for the Mid-Coast Corridor Program project. MCTC was tasked with general management and general construction of the 11-mile extension, which "provides a one-seat ride from the U.S./Mexico border to University City and carries with it the promise to increase opportunities for the region’s residents and help the region achieve its climate action goals." The extension was called “a phenomenal addition to [the region’s] public transit system” and is the centerpiece to one of the area’s largest infrastructure programs that took a dozen years of planning, six years of construction and included enhancements to infrastructure that spanned beyond rail improvements and the 11-mile trolley extension. 

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