Posts Tagged ‘American Short Line and Regional Railroads Association’

Groups Want USDOT to Use IIJA Funds to Help Ease Supply Chain Congestion Problems

May 15, 2022

Organizations representing the transportation, manufacturing and construction industries have asked U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to use funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help untangle supply chain congestion.

They sent a letter to Buttigieg requesting that USDOT “dedicate as much as allowable by law in discretionary grants for FY 2022 to support projects that will facilitate and ease the movement of goods.”

The groups want USDOT to use $18 billion for various grant programs over the next five years.

Among the signers of the letter were the Association of American Railroads, and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

During a Senate hearing earlier this month Buttigieg said the proposed federal year 2023 budget for USDOT includes $36.8 billion in advance appropriations provided by the infrastructure law.

Cleveland Rail Executive Honored by ASLRRA

May 4, 2022

A Cleveland railroad executive was recently honored at the annual conference of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association held in St. Louis.

Nathaniel Mazo received the organization’s Safety Person of the Year award.

Mazo is general manager for four OmniTRAX properties in Ohio, including the Cleveland & Cuyahoga Railroad, Cleveland Harbor Belt Railroad, Northern Ohio & Western Railroad, and the Newburg & South Shore Railroad.

He was recognized for instituting regional safety programs designed to ensure that employees understand the safety goals of the company, including training employees on work rules compliance, defining and implementing new employee training, supporting locomotive engineer certification and training, and expanding operational testing for all employees. 

In nominating Mazo, OmniTRAX CEO Dean Piacente said Mazo developed an operating philosophy of open and constant communications in the workplace including conducting daily safety meetings.

Piacente notd that Mazo established a regional safety committee that focuses on maintaining safe operations and looking for ways to improve on an already safe environment.

As a result, the railroads that Mazo oversees exceeded OmniTRAX’s key metrics in operations, safety, and finance.

Two Pennsylvania railroad were honored at the ALSRRA conference with business development awards.

The Allegheny Valley Railroad created a transload facility in Pittsburgh to serve the local steel industry.

The facility was created in Glenwood Yard with work beginning in the first quarter of 2021. AVR moved 500 carloads into this facility that year.

The Union County Industrial Railroad was recognized for creating new and innovative ways of providing customer service.

The short line serves eight shippers over 18.2 miles of track but grew its carload traffic by 300 percent over a 10-year period.

It reopened the Delta Place transload siding to serve agricultural shippers during the COVID-19 pandemic, rehabilitated an unused siding for Winfield Storage, and worked with two new customers to locate along the UCIR.

Shorts Urged to Make a Case on Crew Size

November 20, 2021

A key Federal Railroad Administration manager has invited short line and regional railroads to make the case for having crew sizes below the federal minimum.

As reported by Trains magazine, Amit Bose, FRA’s deputy administrator said during a speech to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association that the agency is considering creating a rule for minimum crew size that will allow for exceptions.

“If you make a safety case, you will be able to go below the crew size that is minimum,”  he said.

Noting that some short lines already operate below minimum crew sizes, Bose said, “If you have a safety case, make it. FRA will listen to it.”

Other rules that the FRA is considering, he said, will address locomotive recording devices, fatigue risk-management plans, and alcohol and drug testing for maintenance of way workers.

A Railroad Safety Advisory Committee may be revived

Michigan Short Line Honored by ASLRRA

September 3, 2021

A Michigan short line railroad is one of four carriers receiving a business development award for excellence in growing traffic in partnership with customers and local economic development authorities.

The Lake State Railway received the honor from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

In a news release, the short line trade association said the award recognizes carriers that have developed a keen understanding of customers’ needs, identified opportunities to grow business, and implemented plans to benefit their customers and communities.

Lake State was recognized for its work in developing transload business at seven sites in Michigan, receiving state grant money for five of them.

House Passes INVEST Act

July 6, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives approved last week a five year $715 billion surface transportation bill.

Known as Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act,, the legislation would authorize  $95 billion for passenger and freight rail, including $32 billion for Amtrak that could be used to pay for existing and new service.

The Association of American Railroads panned the bill, calling it filled with “misguided, divisive policies.”

AAR instead issued a statement lauding a bi-partisan proposal being considered in the Senate.

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association in a statement said the House bill contains some beneficial provisions for short lines but also contained some “troubling provisions.”

The American Public Transportation Association was more enthusiastic about the INVEST legislation, noting that it authorizes $109 billion for public transportation, which would enable transit systems to begin to address a $105 billion state-of-good-repair backlog as well as provide funding for capital funding for new projects.

Jake Safety Award Winners Named

June 4, 2021

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association said this week that 346 railroads will receive a Jake Safety Awards with 19 member railroads being recognized as President’s Safety Award winners.

In a news release, ASLRA said the awards recognize members for above-industry average safety performance during 2020.

An ASLRRA member must perform better than the industry average reportable injury frequency rate for railroads other than Class Is, commuter railroads and Amtrak based on data reported to the Federal Railroad Administration. Railroads must have completed all FRA-required employee-on-duty reporting for 2020.

That average industry reportable injury frequency rate for 2020 was 2.18 per 200,000 employee on-duty hours.

President’s Award winners posted the lowest reportable injury frequency rate per FRA regulations as measured within man-hour categories.

The Jake Awards are named for Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson, the president and general manager of the Copper Basin Railway who pushed to establish the award program named in his honor.

Among the Jake award winners were the Buffalo & Pittsburgh, Evansville Western, Indiana & Ohio, Gary Railway, Indiana Rail Road, Kanawha River, Paducah & Louisville Terminal, and Union Railroad.

President’s award winners included the Columbus & Ohio River Railroad for 150,000 to 250,000 man hours worked, and Gary Railway Company for 250,000 to 500,000 man hours worked.

Railroads Get Truck Driving Hours of Service Exemption

December 24, 2020

Railroads have received an exemption from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the hours of service law for truck drivers.

The agency granted the exemption because it was “likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the exemption.”

The exemption will be effective until Dec. 18, 2025.

The request for the exemption had been made by the Association of American Railroads, and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

The trade groups said it was needed to provide flexibility for maintenance workers who need to respond to an emergency

Bill Makes Permanent Short Line Tax Credit

December 23, 2020

The budget and pandemic relief legislation adopted by Congress on Monday night will affect various transportation programs, including short line railroads.

The bill also makes permanent a tax credit for short line and regional railroads.

The credit in question is known as Section 45G and has been used by short lines and regional railroads to pay for infrastructure projects.

The tax credit supports private investment in improving and building infrastructure up to a $3,500 cap per short-line railroad mile.

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association has long fought to make the credit permanent. Until now, it had been subject to being reauthorized periodically.

The credit was created in 2005 and ASLRA said it has enabled its members to invest more than $5 billion in infrastructure projects, including rebuilding track that had deteriorated due to deferred maintenance and was on the brink of abandonment.

ASLRRA President Chuck Baker said in a statement that making the credit permanent will assure “long-term tax certainty.”

Transportation Trade Groups Seek Priority in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

December 18, 2020

Trade groups representing railroad workers, public transit agencies and companies that supply the railroad industry are trying to pressure government officials to give some of their workers priority in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is now being distributed.

Among those writing letters to federal and state officials have been the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, the Association of American Railroads, the American Public Transportation Association and the Railway Supply Institute.

Trade groups representing various other modes of transportation have also sought priority for their workers.

The groups are citing  a guideline of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that essential workers, including those in transportation, be included in the second priority group or Phase 1b of the vaccine distribution.

Highest priority (Phase 1a) is being given to health care workers and others such as those working in nursing homes.

Some of the letters being written by the transportation trade associations have been sent senators on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Transportation and Safety Subcommittee to request “timely access” to the vaccine.

APTA has written to all state governors “urging them to consider prioritizing transit workers as they develop their vaccination distribution plans.”

In its statement, RSI said those working for railway suppliers should be among the early recipient groups vaccine because of their supporting role for passenger and freight railroads “as they deliver people, food, fuel, medicine, and other supplies that have sustained our nation’s pandemic response and economic recovery.”

2 Pa. Short Lines Get Safety Awards

August 29, 2020

Two Pennsylvania short line railroads have received President’s Safety Awards from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

Honored in the eastern region were the Buffalo & Pittsburgh,  and the York Railway Company.

The awards recognize railroads that achieved the lowest accident frequency rate based on 2019 Federal Railroad Administration data that is categorized based on the number of injury-free man hours worked.

Winners of the award will be recognized during the ASLRRA’s virtual Connections convention to be held Oct. 5-9.