HOUSE BILL WOULD PROVIDE $350 MILLION A YEAR TO SHORT-LINE RAILROADS
A bipartisan U.S. House bill would provide $350 million to the nation’s 500-plus short-line railroads.
Sponsored by Representatives Jack Quinn, R-N.Y., Bob Clement, D-Tenn., and Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the bill would set up a new program in the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide the capital to preserve and improve the short-line carriers’ rail track.
The funds would be authorized for each fiscal year between 2002 and 2004.
The bill sets an 80-percent cap on the federal share of the project cost, and funds must be used as quickly as possible, within the three years of the allocation.
“This bill will ensure that short-line railroads get the funding they need to continue carrying out their vital role in local commerce,” said Quinn, chairman of the railroad subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.
Frank Turner, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, said the bill “is vital” to the industry to save jobs and “to keep thousands of local shippers from losing their connection to the national rail network.”
In a related development, Canadian National said it will support efforts to secure the federal funding.