Members of the NRC's Policy & Legislative Committee (PLC) met with key Members of Congress on April 18 to discuss safety and other pivotal issues impacting the rail industry.
PLC committee members and NRC staff held discussions with Members of Congress and staff assigned to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.
“Our objective was to establish and build relationships with Members of Congress so we can have ongoing dialogue about important rail-related issues, ”said Kevin Hicks, chairman of the PLC Committee and freight business leader with TranSystems. “The NRC members who participated provided first-hand perspectives that resonated with the Members of Congress. It was a successful experience for everyone involved.”
In addition to rail safety issues, the NRC group discussed a balanced freight rail regulatory framework, infrastructure investment, truck size and weight limits, THUD appropriations accounts, and environmental policy and streamlining.
Matt Ginsberg, president of the NRC’s government affairs firm in Washington, TGA Association Management Solutions, said the timing was right for these meetings due to the large turnover in Congress and the need to generate greater awareness about the rail industry. “We’ve seen a significant turnover in key committee leadership and composition and almost 150 new Members of Congress. It was perfect timing to build relationships so Members of Congress and their staff better understand the rail industry and its impact on the U.S. economy and in their districts in particular.”
Ginsberg suggested contractors and suppliers have an important story to share about their work in the industry as well as their innovations that propel safety and productivity improvements. “The NRC continually looks for opportunities to help our members build connections with elected officials through Capitol Hill visits as well as grassroots events. The elected officials always tell us now valuable it is to actually see the work of rail contractors and suppliers at rail-related facilities and project sites.”
NRC members should contact NRC Vice President of Government Affairs and Operations Michael McGonagle to learn more about scheduling a grassroots event.
In addition to Messrs. Hicks, Ginsberg and McGonagle, the following PLC Committee members and staff participated in the advocacy event: Steve Bolte with Danella Companies, Curtis Bilow and T. Craig Morgan with Ames Construction, Joe Daloisio with Railroad Construction Co., Bob Hirte with Hamilton Construction, Gary Kohnert with Loram Maintenance of Way, Jon Michael McGrath with McGrath Railroad Construction, and NRC President Ashley Wieland.
"Walking the halls of Congress and meeting with members of the Senate and House of Representatives on behalf of our industry is a true privilege. Railroad Day on the Hill has enabled me to build valuable relationships and discuss important rail legislation and pending regulatory issues affecting our industry."
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