This week, the House will consider seven or more appropriations bills for FY2022, including the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development title which covers transportation and infrastructure programs and also fund agencies like the DOT, FRA, and STB. If the "minibus", which will include many but not all of the funding bills for the next fiscal year, passes the House it will then go to the Senate which hasn't taken action on appropriations yet this term. The 2021 fiscal year ends in just under ten weeks.
The House also passed the INVEST in America Act, its new version of the surface transportation legislation reauthorization, by a mostly party line vote at the beginning of July. The bill makes a number of funding increases and policy changes, but is unlikely to pass in its current form, and was used by Senate Majority Leader Schumer as the shell for the potential Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework last week in a failed effort to bring that negotiation to the Senate floor.
Last month, the Bipartisan Framework reached a tentative agreement and was celebrated at a White House press conference but has since faltered when deadlines came into play for legislative text to be finalized. Negotiators appear to once again have landed on an agreement, though nothing has passed a vote yet. If the vote does fail, the work of the bipartisan group could be rolled into a budget reconciliation package that the Democrats are planning alongside the infrastructure bill. A reconciliation bill can't include as much policy but only requires 51 votes to pass the Senate.
On July 9th, President Biden signed a wide-ranging Executive Order on competition in the economy which had major implications for the rail industry and was quickly panned by some rail industry groups.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman DeFazio wrote a letter to the STB urging them to reject the proposed voting trust in the CN-KCS merger, expressing his view that the trust would not be in the public interest and reduce competition.
If you are interested in learning more about REMSA's government affairs efforts, please reach out to Cooper Ehrendreich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|REMSA Board Member highlighted in Progressive Railroading's Rising Stars
REMSA Board Member Harrison Chase Armstrong of R.J. Corman Railroad Group was featured by Progressive Railroading as a "Rising Star" in the rail industry. Armstrong has been on the REMSA board for four years and oversees commercial efforts for R.J. Corman Railroad Services. Read his feature, "Rising Stars 2021: Harrison Armstrong"
Read more about the rest of 2021's Rising Stars and about the program at Progressive Railroading's website here
. Congratulations to Chase Armstrong and all of this year's Rising Stars!
How did you get started in the rail industry?
My background was in the chemical industry, but I saw an opportunity to utilize recycled polymers to provide a more sustainable future for rail and infrastructure projects. Trojan was formed over 20 years ago in the UK and led to TroTrof Composites in N. America providing recycled polymer lineside cable trough.
What do you love most about your job/the rail industry?
Being able to work with major projects to drive innovation. Taking a design idea from concept to a completed product and seeing it being used to build rail projects round the world whilst keeping plastic out of landfill.
What do you find yourself doing most in your downtime? Hobbies outside of work?
When not coming up with the latest product ideas I enjoy biking in the Alps and travel.
How do you define the "future" of rail? Where do you think the industry is headed?
The industry must embrace new ideas to provide a sustainable and lower carbon impact future. We can't simply carry on doing the same just because that's what's always been done. As technology progresses the railways of the future need to adapt and utilize these advances.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the association (REMSA)?
REMSA provides a great insight into the wider rail market and allows us to develop new connections across the industry.
Each month, REMSA features one of its members in the rail industry as our Member of the Month. If you are interested in participating or nominating someone your company, please contact Madeleine Stern at email@example.com
| Join Michigan State University's Center for Railway Research and Education for a one week Railway Engineering and Technology module
Join Michigan State University for the week-long Railway Engineering and Technology module September 13-17, 2021.
This week is designed to give non-technical people an overview of key technologies and engineering principles for progress in a railroad career. The program will also cover motive power and alternative fuels as well as critical concepts such as the wheel to rail interface.
The program includes two days on-site at TTC where participants will hear from subject matter experts and visit some of the laboratories, test tracks and facilities.
Register now for a virtual career fair for engineering professionals on Thursday, September 23rd, hosted by REMSA and Naylor's engineering partners.
The fair will take place from 11:00am to 2:00pm ET. More information can be found at REMSA's jobseekers page
|REMSA Grassroots Program: bring a Member of Congress to your company
The 117th Congress has more than 50 new members in the House of Representatives and 7 new Senators, making 2021 a terrific opportunity to host a REMSA grassroots event at your company.
REMSA has hosted nearly 50 grassroots events with member companies since the program was launched in 2015. 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?
Reciprocal Switching: Complex, Expensive, Time-Consuming (i.e. Mostly a Bad Idea)
Here are a few observations about the often operationally complex competitive rail carload service that many shippers and public advocates would like federal regulators to shove down the throats of the railroads: "reciprocal switching," or as the Association of American Railroads calls it, "forced access," a "misguided" method that could, ultimately, undermine the railroads' ability to reliably serve customers. (Railway Age)
Canada Invests C$1.9B for Trade Corridor Projects
Transport Canada's National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) has received an additional C$1.9 billion (US$1.52 billion) to finance new projects that support Canadian road, rail, air and marine shipping route improvements "to foster domestic and international trade." (Railway Age)
Texas Central and Renfre ink deal for early operation of high-speed rail project
Texas Central makes a major decision to move it's high-speed project forward. As the Texas Central high-speed rail project, which will provide high-speed service between Houston and Dallas moves forward, it has signed an agreement with Renfre to be an "Early Operator" for the line. Renfre's role will be to provide advice to the Texas Central as it makes decisions on how to develop the system. (RT&S)
STB asks Class Is to report on intermodal supply chain problems
has appointed Pam Arpin vice president and chief information officer, the Class I announced yesterday on social media. In her new role, Arpin is responsible for redefining CP's digital strategy and information services roadmap, enabling the Class I's strategic business goals with the right investments in technology, according to her bio on the railroad's website. (Progressive Railroading)
Surface Transportation Board
(STB) Chairman Martin Oberman yesterday sent a letter to all Class Is expressing his concern over persistent problems with congestion in the international intermodal supply chain and significant container storage fees that some shippers are being required to pay in order to receive their containers. Oberman asked the Class Is to provide certain information about the extent of congestion at key container terminals and their policies and practices for assessing storage charges. (Progressive Railroading)
The U.S. Economic Development Administration
(EDA) is awarding a $2.2 million grant to the city of West Plains, Missouri, to improve railroad infrastructure. To be matched with $3.9 million in other federal, state and local dollars, the grant is expected to create 50 jobs and generate $31.4 million in private investment, EDA officials said in a news release. The project calls for replacing a grade crossing on Highway 160 with a bridge and overpass. (Progressive Railroading)
House Transportation Chair DeFazio opposes CN-KCS voting trust plan
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who chairs the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, yesterday submitted to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) a letter in opposition
's request to use a voting trust in its merger proposal with Kansas City Southern
. (Progressive Railroading)
The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) is celebrating its 50th year as the nation's premier multimodal advocacy organization for minority professionals and businesses in the transportation industry. COMTO is now seeking a new CEO to take the reins and leverage their role on the national stage to accomplish their mission. (Press Release)
ENSCO, Inc., has announced two promotions, effective July 3, 2021: Kevin Pruett has been promoted to the new position of Senior Vice President of the ENSCO Aerospace and Engineering Group (AEG).The newly created AEG consolidates ENSCO Aerospace Sciences and Engineering Division and the ENSCO Avionics subsidiary. Jeffrey Stevens has been promoted to the new position of Senior Vice President of the ENSCO Surface Transportation Group (STG). The newly created STG is comprised of the Applied Technology and Engineering Division, Railway Technology Division and two subsidiaries: ENSCO Rail, Inc. and ENSCO Rail Australia, Pty Ltd. (Press Release)
Hatch LTK announced Donna Bowers, former chief operating officer of the Rock Region Metropolitan Transit Authority in Arkansas, has joined as a systems consultant. Bowers has 13 years of transit experience. "Donna brings a valuable owner-operator's perspective to the Hatch LTK team," said Dominic DiBrito, Hatch's managing director of U.S. infrastructure, in a press release. (Progressive Railroading)
Omaha Track hosts Senator Fischer for tour of Omaha Track's headquarters L.B. Foster Co.
has announced Robert Bauer is retiring after serving as president and chief executive officer since 2012.The decision is the culmination of a comprehensive CEO succession-planning process resulting in the appointment of John Kasel as the company's next president and CEO, effective July 21, L.B. Foster officials said in a press release. (Progressive Railroading)
On Friday, July 23 the NRC and member company Omaha Track hosted Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) for a tour of Omaha Track's headquarters in Omaha, Neb. Senator Fischer was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, becoming the first Nebraska woman elected to a full term and the first Nebraska state senator elected directly after service in the state legislature. (RT&S)
PNR RailWorks upgrades Fort Edmonton Park's streetcar system
PNR RailWorks upgraded the streetcar system at the historic Fort Edmonton Park in Alberta, Canada, which reopened this month after a years-long closure for improvements. In 2019, work began on the Fort Edmonton Park Enhancement Project to improve the expansive park and its historical sites. From fall 2019 to June 2021, PNR RailWorks rehabilitated the aging streetcar system that provides free transportation around the park. (Press Release)
New Trimble GEDO GX50 laser scanning system introduced
Trimble introduced the GEDO GX50, a flexible laser scanning system designed to operate with Trimble GEDO track measurement systems for clearance analysis and asset data collection, further enhancing the modular track survey and scanning solutions portfolio. The Trimble GEDO GX50 features new Trimble-designed profiling lasers for high-accuracy data collection. (RT&S)
Jeffrey Bennett and Josh Lippy have joined Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) as Director of Business Development - Passenger and Emerging Technologies and Director of Business Development - North American Freight Railroads, respectively. (Railway Age)