The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) released the following statement regarding the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee mark-up of the surface transportation reauthorization bill, INVEST in America Act.
The NRC is pleased to see the House T&I Committee leadership take action on the next iteration of the surface transportation bill which is set to expire on September 30, 2020. The lack of a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill upon the expiration of the FAST Act will undoubtedly create difficulties for all transportation stakeholders and hinder efficiencies. Therefore, we support your every effort to get a surface transportation reauthorization bill enacted prior to the expiration of the FAST Act.
However, the NRC has major concerns over certain provisions in the bill, namely, labor provisions which would restrict competition and legislate a permanent mandate for certain types of rail-related work to be performed exclusively in-house, or that contracting out can only be done under bargaining agreements. These provisions would increase costs and reduce flexibility for states, commuter and passenger rail authorities, and would make it harder to initiate or expand, especially in an era of limited resources.
Additionally,the NRC shares its freight railroad customers’ concerns over numerous provisions in the bill that would create an unfriendly business environment and add new unnecessary requirements for the rail industry during an already challenging time.
The NRC is encouraged by the funding levels put forth in this bill, particularly the $60 billion Rail Title and increased transit formula funds, which would positively benefit rail transit and commuter railroads.
The NRC’s legislative team and Policy and Legislative Committee are actively engaged on the bill and look forward to working collaboratively with Congress on improving the legislation as it moves to the House floor.
As Chair of the new NRC Policy and Legislative Committee, I see opportunities for us to make a greater impact on the future. Our committee is exploring new ways to participate while further examining issues that affect our member companies. We realize not everyone can attend events, such as Railroad Day, so will be offering other opportunities for employees of our member companies to get involved.
Vice President, Business Development
Ames Construction Co.