As Congress seeks to shape a final transportation bill, either through a reauthorization bill, or through reconciliation this summer, ASLRRA is actively working to ensure that Short Line priorities are considered and met.
ALSRRA has commented on both HR 3684, the INVEST in America Act passed by the House on July 1, and the Senate’s Surface Transportation Act.
ASLRRA feels strongly that the Surface Transportation Act better represents the short line priorities and will continue to engage with legislators during the process of getting a final bill to the President’s desk.
"Short line freight railroads strongly support the Surface Transportation Investment Act introduced by Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell and Ranking Member Roger Wicker. The bill rises to the moment for our country,” said Chuck Baker, President, ASLRRA. “The proposed legislation recognizes and supports the key role that short lines can play in helping to grow the economy in every part of America, creating and sustaining career jobs at railroads and rail shippers alike, protecting the environment, improving transportation safety, and reducing the burden of heavy freight on overcrowded and expensive-to-maintain highways.”
The ASLRRA’s legislative priorities for the rail portion of infrastructure legislation include:
Increase CRISI Funding - The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program is a very popular and successful program that includes short line railroads as eligible applicants. CRISI funding should be increased and there should be no big, new set-asides to ensure an even playing field for all applicants, including small business freight railroads. For more information on this legislative priority, visit our page.
No Increases to Truck Size and Weight (TSW) Limits - Increases and exceptions to current federal law resulting in a shift from freight rail to truck transportation would be harmful to everyday drivers, the environment and the public infrastructure paid for with taxpayer dollars. We oppose any legislation that increases current limits. For more information on TSW, visit our webpage.
Other Grant Programs - Congress should ensure short line railroad projects can access funding through programs like INFRA, BUILD, and new transportation grant programs targeting emissions and congestion reduction by including freight rail project eligibility and maintaining rural and small project participation. For more information on this legislative priority, visit our webpage.
Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) - Continue federal support for the SLSI. The SLSI helps build a stronger, more sustainable safety culture through safety culture assessments, training and education - including the safe transportation of energy products and hazardous materials - outreach activities, and research.
No Crew Size Mandate - Safety is our top priority, but there is no safety data to support the need for a crew size mandate, which could impede development and adoption of new safety technologies. Crew sizes have always been and should continue to be handled as part of collective bargaining agreements and not a one-size-fits-all federal mandate. For more information on this legislative priority, visit our webpage.