April 2020 NRC Bulletin
May 1, 2020
NRC Updates and Announcements
DC Update: Interim package passes, $2.7 trillion total committed to COVID-19 response

The NRC knows its members may have questions regarding the legislation being passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as it relates to rail contractors and suppliers. Below is a summary to date regarding the legislation that has been passed.

  • Bill 1 (passed March 6): $8.3 billion bill focused on COVID-19 vaccine research and development.
  • Bill 2 (passed March 18): $104 billion bill focused on paid sick leave and unemployment benefits for workers and families. Several provisions of note to small businesses. See CRS summary here and a helpful in-depth summary here.
  • Bill 3 (passed March 27): $2+ trillion stimulus package, largest stimulus bill ever passed, includes significant transportation and infrastructure funding. See bill text here.
  • "Bill 3.5" (passed April 24) $484 billion bill which includes an $321 billion for the Payment Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion in economic disaster loans for small businesses, and $25 billion to ramp up coronavirus testing.
  • Bill 4 (possible in the next few weeks or months): additional stimulus measures potentially including supplementary transportation-focused measures and funds. On April 22, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that any legislative action would be paused until at least May 4, when the Senate is scheduled to reconvene. On April 28, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi delayed plans for the House to reconvene May 4, and will announce a new date in the next few weeks.

Progressive Railroading Rising Stars selected, NRC's Wieland among honorees

Progressive Railroading annually recognizes railway industry professionals under the age of 40 in North America who have been chosen for recognition as Rising Stars.

NRC President Ashley Wieland was named as one of 25 to the prestigious list, and was "honored and humbled to be recognized alongside such great and hard-working railway industry professionals." Along with Wieland, NRC Member companies had employees who were recognized. Herzog employee Joe Stephens was named, along with Siemens' Jacob Street and Harrison Wadsworth. Congrats to all the honorees!

To view the full list of winners, please click here . Progressive Railroading will honor the 25 Rising Stars by publishing their profiles in the magazine's September issue and recognize them at a dinner on July 20 in Chicago.
NRC COVID-19 member resources and impact survey results

NRC members, railway contractors and suppliers across the United States continue to be hard at work, even as the COVID-19 situation disrupts and threatens life around the world. With our commitment to safety in mind, NRC Staff has compiled important and valuable resources for those in the industry. Please visit the NRC COVID-19 resource page by clicking here. This page will be updated as new information becomes available. If you need any additional assistance or would like more information, please contact NRC Staff at info@nrcma.org.

Earlier this month, NRC staff sent a survey to NRC member companies to gauge the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to thank all of those who participated in submitting feedback that better helps staff understand the situation members and the industry face. The information and anecdotes anonymously shared will help NRC staff more effectively communicate our member's stories during our frequent communications with Congress and federal agencies. If you would like to offer feedback, please email NRC staff at info@nrcma.org with the subject line 'NRC Member COVID-19 Feedback.'
CRISI grant notice of funding opportunity announced

On April 20, 2020 the FRA announced its Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for its Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program. Applications for funding under this solicitation are due no later than 5:00pm ET, June 19, 2020. To view online please click here .

Applications must be submitted via www.grants.gov, and only applicants who comply with all submission requirements will be eligible for the award. For further project or progra-related information about the notice, please contact Ms. Frances Bourne at frances.bourne@dot.gov or by phone at 202-493-6366.
NRC's Wieland named to Penn State Altoona Advisory Board

NRC president Ashley Wieland has been appointed to a three-year term on the Industry Advisory Board for the Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE) Program at Penn State Altoona. The Advisory Board for its RTE Program is comprised of a diverse cross-section of high-level railroad industry professionals from various sectors of the industry. The program is the first and only that offers a Bachelor of Science degree in RTE in the nation.

The board plays an important role developing and directing the RTE program so its students can effectively address the unique needs of the railroad industry. “There has never been a more important time to address the need for the next generation of leaders in the railroad industry,” says Wieland. “I am delighted to join with others on the board in shaping Penn State Altoona’s RTE program to recruit, train and prepare students to have successful careers in the railroad industry.”
NRC supports GoRail's 40th anniversary of Staggers Act letter to STB

This year 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. 
To commemorate this anniversary, 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. It will also ensure that our industry's voice is continuing to be heard across the Nation.

If you have questions about this project and letter, please contact NRC staff at info@nrcma.org or reach out directly to Russ McGurk, president of GoRail, at   rmcgurk@gorail.org .
SBA surety bonds: what you need to know

The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees bid, performance, and payment surety bonds issued by certain surety companies. The SBA guarantees surety bonds for those certain companies, which allows those companies to offer surety bonds to small businesses that might not meet the required criteria for other sureties.

During these difficult times in the Nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA is still available to help small businesses. By clicking here , you can find an informative and easy to understand powerpoint presentation the SBA has put together. In the presentation is an easy to understand step-by-step guide for the application process. If you would like more information about surety bonds, the SBA, please visit www.sba.gov.
Wanted: new testimonials and images to promote NRC

The NRC and its Marketing Committee are looking for testimonials and images to enhance our website and communications efforts. Here's how you can help:

Testimonial - Consider providing a testimonial about how the NRC benefits you, your company or the industry. Testimonials can generally address the benefits of membership that speak to Safety, Events (Annual Conference, Railroad Day, Grassroots Events), Advocacy, Scholarships or Educational Grants. The target length is about 40 words. Please also include your photo with your testimonial.

Images - Our members do some impressive work. Please share some examples with us. We're looking for images of work (as well as equipment and tools) in progress and completed work on railway construction and maintenance projects. Landscape images work best. Please make sure your company approves the usage of the image, and that there are no safety issues. A larger file size is better but images should be less than 10 MB. 

Please email your testimonials and images to NRC staff at info@nrcma.org.
Wisconsin & Southern Railroad (WSOR) RFP

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad LLC (WSOR) is requesting Sealed Bids from qualified contractors for furnishing all tools, equipment, materials, labor, supervision, transportation, and permits required for the Waukesha Subdivision 2020 CWR Installation Project which will take place between Whitewater and Eagle, WI.  Please click here to access the RFP.

A mandatory pre-bid meeting will be held at the WSOR Janesville Terminal, 203 S Pearl St. Janesville, WI on June 2, 2020 at 8:00am CT. Please RSVP to bjmarsh@watcocompanies.com if you plan to attend this meeting. The deadline for questions related to this project is currently Friday, June 5, 2020 at 5:00pm CT. Any questions must be emailed to bjmarsh@watcocompanies.com .

Qualified individuals and/or companies are invited to submit physical Sealed Bids as detailed within the Bid Documents for said activities no later than June 11, 2020 at 1:00pm CT. No email bids shall be accepted. The submission of multiple bids for this project by the same company or parent company shall be cause for such bids to be rejected.
Industry News and Updates
The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) awarded the Sacramento Regional Transit Agency (SacRT) two grants to help fund a light-rail system. Over $27 million dollars in grants will allow the agency to purchase eight light-rail vehicles and construct a new light-rail access tunnel on the north side of the multimodal Sacramento Valley Station (SVS) Transit Center.

The tunnel rehabilitation portion of the MTA’s L Project has been completed early and under budget. With the added challenges of pushing the project forward during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is noteworthy that the project came in $100 million under budget and was completed 3 months ahead of schedule. MTA Construction & Development implemented several protections including the launch of a daily reporting app, mandatory use of personal protective equipment, disinfection of contact surfaces, and even a ban on sharing tools. These new construction methods utilized could set a precedent for future rail transit projects in the U.S.  

Canadian Pacific President and Chief Executive Officer, and Keynote Speaker at the 2020 NRC Conference, Keith Creel issued a statement in support of people who are on the front line serving and protecting the public during the coronavirus pandemic. “From railroader to truckers to farmers and port workers and everyone in between, the supply chain is still working 24/7 to deliver for North Americans” said Creel. Click here to read the full statement.  

On 21 April 2020, in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, InnoTrans was posponed. The event was previously scheduled for September 22-25, 2020. Their website states, "After consulting with the leading market players and founding industry associations Messe Berlin has decided to postpone InnoTrans." The new dates will be April 27-30, 2021 and held in Berlin, Germany.

Last week the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced plans to expand two major projects this summer to take advantage of historically low ridership. Under the plan, WMATA will combine work to demolish and reconstruct platforms at several stations, causing them to be shuttered from Memorial Day to Labor Day. NRC Member Kiewit Corp. has implemented new protocols to ensure that construction crews are as safe as possible while working during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The ripple effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic are changing daily life on a global scale. As things continue to change, essential and critical workers continue working hard in the face of the pandemic. NRC member company R.J. Corman Railroad Company is a part of this hardworking network continuing to move goods through North America, serving all seven Class Is and operating 14 short lines. In addition to playing this pivotal role, Corman services a variety of important industries to the nation, including the equine industry near and dear to its' headquarters in Kentucky.
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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