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    83.820
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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
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    82.630
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
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    0.000
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  • ITVI.USA
    13,754.510
    83.820
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.920
    -0.140
    -0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,721.420
    82.630
    0.6%
  • TLT.USA
    2.840
    0.040
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

Lawmakers introduce short line railroad tax credit bill

A handful of U.S. senators and representatives introduced legislation Thursday that will make permanent a track maintenance tax credit for the nation’s short line railroads.

   A handful of U.S. senators and representatives introduced legislation Thursday that will make permanent a track maintenance tax credit for the nation’s short line railroads.
   The Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act “will create much-needed certainty for railroads that often are providing the economic lifeblood for small manufacturers and communities in Oregon,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., of the Senate Finance Committee, in a statement. 
   “That predictability will empower railroads to invest in the first and last mile of what is often a transcontinental journey for goods destined for factories, grain elevators, mills, and other vital parts of the economy,” he added.
   In addition to Wyden, other key sponsors of the bill are Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan. 
   “Our nation’s short line railroads supply an invaluable service to small factories, mills, grain elevators, and other facilities in Oregon and across the country,” said Blumenauer, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “More than one million Americans in urban and rural communities are employed by rail customers on these lines. Making this tax credit permanent will help these railroads to invest in the critical rail connections that bring their goods to market.”
   The short line railroad track maintenance credit provides short line and regional railroads a 50 percent tax credit for railroad track maintenance expenses, up to $3,500 per mile of track owned or leased by the railroad. 
   Wyden noted the credit has been important in the rehabilitation of Port of Coos Bay’s rail operation in Oregon. (For more details, read the October 2015 American Shipper article, “Coos Bay seeks more cargo,” pages 38-39.)
   Last December, Wyden successfully fought to pass the 2015 Short line Short Line Railroad Rehabilitation and Investment Act, which expanded and extended the credit through 2016. 
   “On the Coos Bay Rail Link we work with our rail customers to make infrastructure investments that will last for the next 40 years,” said Port of Coos Bay Chief Executive Officer John Burns in a statement. “Our business, and the businesses that depend on us, will benefit from the long range planning certainty provided by this bill. And it gives our customers, like Georgia Pacific, more reliable and economically efficient transportation options to move their products.”
   According Wyden’s office, Oregon hosts 15 short line and regional railroads, which together account for 1,292 miles of freight track across the state.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.