August 2020
 
 Washington Update: Atypical August Recess


 
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September 13th-17th

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September 21st-25th

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October 5th-9th


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A message from REMSA regarding COVID-19:
 
The safety and well-being of the REMSA staff and our members is of the upmost importance to our association, and we want to urge all REMSA members, staff, and their families to take the proper precautions necessary to maintain their health, safety and well-being during this uncertain and unprecedented time. Railroads continue to operate and are critical in transporting essential supplies throughout the country to those in need.  Thank you to our railroad operators, the crews maintaining the rails, and all of our member company employees who are taking the measures they need to ensure the well-being of the country and world during this crisis.

REMSA Member-of the-Month Spotlight


Industry News

FRA: PTC operating on nearly all route miles as of Q2



BTS: Freight TSI index edged up in June

Secure Rail 2020 adds to virtual conference lineup

Member News

WashingtonUpdateWashington Update

Atypical August Recess
 
Typically, the month of August is a slow one in Washington as Congress takes a month-long break. As with so much else, things are a little different in 2020. 

After negotiations between Congress and the Trump Administration collapsed on a major COVID relief bill, President Trump announced series of four Executive Orders. Those orders addressed deferring payroll taxes for most employees, extending federal unemployment insurance, deferring student loan payments and waiving interest, and directing HHS and the CDC to determine if action is necessary and feasible to halt evictions for the duration of the pandemic. 

Though Congress initially departed for its August recess, the House has announced that it intends to vote this Saturday on a bill that would provide $25 billion in funding for the USPS, which has come under scrutiny in the past few weeks. The Senate has also announced legislation that includes extended unemployment insurance, liability protections for businesses and healthcare providers, and also includes funding for the USPS in the form of a $10 billion loan. 

Though much diminished by the pandemic, this month also marks the party conventions that formalize the general election contest taking place this November: incumbent President Donald Trump will take on former Vice President Joe Biden as things begin to heat up on the campaign trail. 

When Congress formally returns in September, there will be a lot to accomplish in just a few short weeks, including reauthorization of the 2015 FAST Act, which funds surface transportation, and appropriations for the 2021 Fiscal Year. Many now expect a series of extensions and continuing resolutions in the short-term while negotiations proceed on those issues.


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If you are interested in learning more about REMSA's government affairs efforts, please reach out to Cooper Ehrendreich at ehrendreich@remsa.org.

stahlwebinarREMSA Webinar Series
  


Our webinar series continued in August, with Resume 101: Outshine Your Competition taking place on August 18th. 

REMSA is excited to announce another webinar coming up in September:

REMSA-NRC Joint Panel on COVID Best Practices
2:00PM ET, September 24th

Our full library of webinars, now at eight total and growing, is available to REMSA Members here.

Keep an eye on our events calendar to view and register for upcoming webinars as they become available. 

Is there a topic you would like covered in future webinars? Contact stern@remsa.org to share your ideas. 

memberofthemonthREMSA Member of the Month 
Maggie Kukovich, Account Executive, Engineering & Track Services, Progress Rail

How did you get started in the rail industry?
How did I get started in the rail industry...? Well, this is actually an interesting story that I get to tell often. It seems to be a common question within this industry. I had the pleasure of serving my country in the United States Army for five years. When my Army contract was up, my intention was to join the ROTC program, become an officer, go back into the Army, and continue to pursue a career in the military. I was back home living in Missouri and going to college when I received a call from my Army Company Commander. He asked me to interview for a position at Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCSR) in Shreveport, Louisiana. I was fortunate enough to get the position and off I went. Four years into my great career at KCSR, I decided to make a change and start working for Progress Rail in the sales department.

What do you love most about your job/the rail industry?
The people! I love the people! All the way from peers, to colleagues, to the customers. Sure, you have some challenging times. You have to work hard, but when it comes down to it, the people are what makes this industry great!

What is it like being a woman in a primarily male dominated industry?
Just like the Army, another male dominated industry, the rail industry has been good to me and I have been good to it. I cannot thank my leadership team enough for the opportunities they have given me. 

What do you find yourself doing most in your downtime? Hobbies outside of work?
I have a four year old that I adore!  I am a late Mom, as I was 35 years old when he was born, but he is the most amazing gift ever.  Friends and family always told me, "You will not know true love until you have a child." And, guess what, they are right!  During this challenging year, I find myself spending my downtime with family.  Anytime I can go fishing, you will find my line in the water.  It is my true hobby.  Growing up, my parents always found me down at the pond.

How do you define the "future" of rail? Where do you think the industry is headed?
Railroading is a unique industry, and just when you think you have it figured out, a new technology is introduced, or some other innovation is developed.  However, at the same time, many of the railroads' basic fundamentals are still the same as over 100 years ago.  This industry is headed for great things, and I look forward to being a part of it.

Anything else you would like to add/share?
I feel lucky!  I truly enjoy my job and the people I work for and with!  I want to say "thank you" to everyone in the industry who has taken the time to teach and lead me.  You know who you are! 

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Interested in being highlighted in the REMSA spotlight? Apply to become Member-of-Month. 

Contact Madeleine Stern, Membership & Marketing Manager to apply today at: stern@remsa.org or (202) 715-2919.


Back to top 
GrassrootsREMSA Grassroots Program
 Bring a Member of Congress to Your Company


The 116th Congress has more than 100 new members in the House of Representatives and 10 new Senators, making 2020 a terrific opportunity to host a REMSA grassroots event at your company.

REMSA hosted 12 grassroots events with member companies in 9 states in 2019 and has several scheduled for the first few months of 2020. Press releases detailing past events can be found here.

REMSA's Grassroots Program connects our association's membership with members of Congress to host tours and site visits of company facilities and ongoing projects.  It's a terrific way to showcase the positive impact that your company has in the local community, while also building strong personal relationships with your elected representatives.  We will also take the initiative to engage with local and regional media outlets to highlight your company and maximize the visibility of the great work that you are doing.  

Are you interested in growing your network and highlighting your products and services to the rail industry? 
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Please contact Cooper Ehrendreich at ehrendreich@remsa.org or (202) 715-2917 to get started.

IndustryNEWSIndustry News

As of June 30, positive train control (PTC) systems are governing operations on nearly 99 percent of all 57,537-PTC mandated rail route miles, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced yesterday. The news is based on the railroads' quarterly reports on their progress toward implementing PTC systems on their railroads as required by federal law. (Progressive Railroading) 



in4High-speed rail project connecting L.A. and Las Vegas records another win
Plans for a new high-speed rail line that will connect southern California to Las Vegas are forging ahead after the project has been awarded another critical public funding allocation. The XpressWest rail project has won $200 million of private activity bonds from the Nevada State Board of Finance. The Nevada award comes after a California committee, overseen by California Treasurer Fiona Ma, awarded the project $600 million of private activity bonds in April. (RT&S)


MemberNEwsMember News

AECOM, the world's premier infrastructure firm, [recently] announced it has launched its newest integrated technology solution, Transportation Resilient Integrated Passenger Solution (TRIPS), which supports the safe return to service for the entire passenger journey and employee experience for transit agencies. TRIPS integrates data and technologies for each point of the passenger's journey - from helping individuals decide when and how to travel, to informing transit operators when stations or vehicles are nearing capacity. (RT&S)

NARSTCO, a RailWorks company, has named Bruce Jones as its new general manager, based at the NARSTCO headquarters in Midlothian, Texas. Jones has more than 30 years of manufacturing operations experience across North America. Prior to joining NARSTCO, he served as the Managing Director and Vice President of Operations for Weir Group PLC, as well as Vice President of Operations for Dover Corp. Bruce earned his Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Wilkes University and his Bachelor's of Science in Accounting from Drexel University in Philadelphia. (Railworks)

Progress Rail has introduced a new battery-powered switcher to be available for sale globally. The zero-emission EMD Joule was developed in collaboration with Vale, the mining corporation headquartered in Brazil which operates about 1,200 miles of railroads in Brazil and leases lines in Africa. (Trains Magazine)

mn4Equipment update: Material handling (Featuring 10 REMSA member companies)
Progressive Railroading reached out to a sampling of material handling equipment suppliers to share information on some of their newest or in-demand offerings - from ballast excavators to rail threading machines to rail cranes. Emailed responses from 10 suppliers follow. (Progressive Railroading

mn5Rail supplier news from Alstom, Thales, IRS and TRAC Intermodal
Industry-Railway Suppliers Inc. (IRS) launched a new e-commerce website to further simplify the approach to supplying railroads in the United States and Mexico with specialty tools and heavy equipment online. Customers can now order tools and equipment directly from their computer, or from their smartphone while out on track, IRS officials said in a press release. (Progressive Railroading)

mn6Report Highlights Harsco's Sustainability Efforts
Harsco Corporation released its Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Report, the highlights of which include that more than 80% of the company's revenues are now derived from environmental solutions, compared to about 60% three years ago. (RT&S)

mn7Vossloh wins another major order for rail fastening systems in China
With its Fastening Systems business unit, Vossloh has won another important tender for the supply of rail fastening systems for the construction of a new high-speed line in China. The order volume is equivalent to over €30 million [about $35.5 million] and underlines Vossloh Fastening Systems' strong market position in the high-speed sector in China. (RT&S)