|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.
Surface Transportation Bill Introduced, Marked Up in House
After being in the "coming soon" phase for several months, the Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have officially released their version of this year's surface transportation reauthorization bill. The previous version of the traditionally five-year legislation, the FAST Act, is set to expire on September 30th.
The new bill, H.R. 2, the INVEST in America Act, was subject this week to Congress' first-ever virtual markup, where amendments were considered by the committee. While unlikely to become law in its current form, the legislation includes a rail titlewhich invests $60 billion in the industry. A two-page fact sheet on the bill can be seen here.
REMSA Executive Director David Tennent said "We applaud the increases in funding that this bill provides for rail programs and the substantive investments it makes in maintaining and rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. Rail and the maintenance-of-way industry are a critical piece of the infrastructure landscape, and we hope that Congress continues working towards a bipartisan five-year reauthorization of the FAST Act."
On the COVID front, the only significant action from Congress in the past month has been H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which makes it easier for borrowers to receive loan forgiveness through the program and expands what the loans can be used for.
From the administration, the FRA issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity for nearly $300 million in funding for capital projects that repair, replace, or rehabilitate intercity passenger railroad assets. More on that can be seen below in the Industry News section.
If you are interested in learning more about REMSA's government affairs efforts, please reach out to Cooper Ehrendreich
REMSA's webinar series continues in July. Keep an eye on our
to view and register for upcoming webinars as they become available.
Our full library of webinars is also available to REMSA Members
Is there a topic you would like covered in future webinars? Contact
to share your ideas.
REMSA Board Member of the Month
Chase Armstrong, Vice President of Commercial Development
What do you enjoy most about being on the REMSA Board?
Participating as a board member of REMSA has been educational and enjoyable. The interaction with likeminded industry leaders has been valuable for me. Participation in the forefront for rail industry issues, challenges, and events has been extremely enjoyable.
What has your experience on REMSA Board taught you and what is your vision for the future of REMSA?
REMSA is a wonderful association with a strong executive staff and extreme talent in management positions. Participation in committees has taught me the importance and value of networking, governmental involvement, and standards in the rail industry. The future for REMSA is bright! This association is geared towards all members and truly considers all members input and is constantly striving to increase membership value.
How did you get started in the rail industry?
My uncle, Ken Adams was one of Rick Corman's early employees. I watched Mr. Corman grow the companies over the years. I had the privilege of meeting Rick (Corman) and the rest is history.
What do you love most about your job/the rail industry?
My favorite thing about the industry is the people! As large as the rail industry the comradery between clients and co-workers makes it seem like one big family.
What do you find yourself doing most in your downtime? Hobbies outside of work?
I have two boys Hudson, 9 and Duke, 7. So, my time at home is spent with the boys and my wife Kim. We enjoy sports, boating, and spending time together traveling.
How do you define the "future" of rail? Where do you think the industry is headed?
The rail industry has been around for a long time with no evidence of fading. I have seen major technological advancements in my short time in the industry and I expect that we will see many more. Additionally, I have seen increased interest and planning in moving passenger rail into larger municipalities over further distances.
Interested in being highlighted in the REMSA spotlight? Apply to become Member-of-Month.
Contact Madeleine Stern, Membership & Marketing Manager to apply today at:
or (202) 715-2919.
REMSA 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
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?
FRA Announces $291.4MM for Rail Capital Projects
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a $291.4 million notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grant Program (Partnership Program). This is the third such NOFO for the Partnership Program to help repair and rehabilitate intercity passenger railroad assets. (Railway Age)
CapMetro OKs rail expansion plan in Austin
The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (CapMetro) board earlier this week approved the final version of Project Connect, a plan for an expanded rail and bus system in Austin, Texas. The $9.8 billion plan includes four new light-rail lines and additional commuter-rail stations on the MetroRail Red Line. A key component in the plan calls for construction of a transit tunnel that will separate transit services from street traffic in downtown Austin. (Progressive Railroading)
Amtrak announced an update to its essential services plan drafted in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The national intercity passenger railroad noted that various states are undertaking safety precautions at stations for customers arriving from other states. Riders should check with each state for specific guidance, Amtrak officials said in a press release. (Progressive Railroading)
U.S. Railroads Resurgent With Digitization at Just the Right Time
The first plans to build a U.S. transcontinental railroad from East to West were drawn up in 1845. As "Last Spike" ceremonies came to an end during the late 1800s, this vast investment in infrastructure became the core of American culture and economic power. By the early 1900s, the U.S. was becoming increasingly urbanized with railroads acting as arteries, supplying cities with food, fuel, building materials and market access. (Railway Age)
How the rail sector fought Covid-19
The International Union of Railways' coronavirus task force has published its third document on the sector's response to the crisis, focusing on how the rail industry fought Covid-19 during lockdown periods and looking at the mitigation measures put in place to stop the spread of the virus.
UIC said the outbreak had created an unprecedented situation that was continuing to impact people around the world, but the rail sector had immediately mobilised and demonstrated its ability to 'resist, absorb, accommodate and recover from' the effects of the pandemic in a 'timely, co-ordinated and efficient manner'. This had enabled the preservation and restoration of essential public transport and freight services. (Railway Gazette)
USDOT to distribute 15.5 million masks to transportation workers
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will send 15.5 million masks to transportation workers to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the agency announced last week.
The cloth facial coverings secured by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be sent out over the coming weeks through the U.S. Postal Service, USDOT officials said in a press release. (Progressive Railroading)
iller Ingenuity was selected to supply ZoneGuard, its electronic roadway worker protection system, for the Bay Area Rapid Transit's (BART) mainline track in compliance with CPUC GO 175-A, to warn track workers and equipment operators of trains approaching on adjacent tracks. BART chose the ZoneGuard portable system kit, which includes train detector modules, train alert modules, and worker wearable devices. (Railway Age)
Focused Technology Solutions strikes a deal with Australia distributor
Focused Technology Solutions, a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway Company, President Peter Bartek announced May 27 that the company has entered into another international market sector by partnering with Freightquip, a distributor located in Australia. Freightquip will carry FTS' flagship product, the SpikeEase, a battery-operated spike puller. (RT&S)
RPM2.0, L.B. Foster's next generation Remote Performance Monitoring (RPM) interface for trackside wheel/rail Friction Management systems, is here. The system that provides immediate, intuitive insight into the operation and performance of friction management assets has been years in the making. Comprehensive research and in-field testing led by the Company's team of friction management experts in Vancouver, BC, paired with its software solutions team in the UK, have created a new, market-leading, data-driven monitoring solution that is now delivering on the promise of intelligent performance monitoring. (RT&S)
Harsco Rail reaches an important milestone with MTA Long Island Rail Road
Harsco Rail announced that earlier this month they hit a major milestone with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), which is one of the busiest commuter rail roads in the United States. On May 2, 2020, the 250,000th tie was successfully installed on Long Island Rail Road. (RT&S)
R.J. Corman Holds Graduation Parades for Local High Schools
On May 22, R. J. Corman opened up part of the 2,000-acre grounds at company headquarters in Nicholasville, Kent., for The Providence School, East Jessamine High School and West Jessamine High School to celebrate graduation with processions by car. It was different than the traditional graduation ceremony, but seniors were able to celebrate their graduation day with classmates and loved ones present in a way that kept everyone safe. (Railway Age)
AECOM to appoint W. Troy Rudd as Chief Executive Officer
AECOM, the world's premier infrastructure firm, announced the appointment of W. Troy Rudd to Chief Executive Officer. Currently AECOM's Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Rudd will assume the role from Michael S. Burke, who previously announced his plans to retire. Mr. Rudd's appointment marks the completion of AECOM's CEO succession search process. The Company also announced today the appointment of Lara Poloni, currently AECOM's Chief Executive of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), to President of AECOM. Both appointments are effective October 1, 2020. (AECOM)
ENSCO Rail Inc. has acquired an enhanced user license to the VAMPIRE® Pro vehicle and track interaction software. The software will integrate with the ENSCO Rail Autonomous Track Geometry Measurement System to provide automated vehicle dynamics simulations in near real time to conduct digital twin analytics. As track geometry data is streamed to ENSCO Rail's servers, vehicle dynamics simulations of the client's fleet will automatically be performed. Results are provided in an automated fashion, highlighting locations of concern for ride quality and derailment risk and producing data for track degradation and maintenance planning, company officials said in a press release. (Progressive Railroading)