Washington, DC, August 24, 2020 – The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) released the following statement in support of the bipartisan introduction of H.R. 8082, the Freight Rail Assistance and Investment to Launch Coronavirus-era Activity and Recovery Act or the “Freight RAILCAR Act” by Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Darin LaHood (R-IL-18), Dan Lipinski (D-IL-3), Rick Crawford (R-AR-1), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), and Drew Ferguson (R-GA-3) in the House of Representatives on Friday:
“The Freight RAILCAR Act will help incentivize private investment in the freight railcar manufacturing industry to preserve thousands of American jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, and ensure the integrity of our critical rail supply chains,” said Nicole Brewin, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs.
The bill offers freight railcar owners a time-limited 50% tax credit for purchasing new freight railcars or refurbishing existing freight railcars that result in improving capacity or fuel by at least 8%. The bill also provides separate tax credits for scrapping railcars based on their depreciated value and for capital expenditures on equipment or technology enhancements that improve environmental standards or the safety, quality, or efficiency of railcar manufacturing and repair operations.
This credit is intended to encourage freight railcar owners to modernize their fleet to better meet Precision Scheduled Railroading standards and to increase the efficiency of the fleet by utilizing more energy-efficient freight railcars. This legislation comes as demand for new freight railcars recently hit near record lows on par with the levels of the Great Recession.
“Railway suppliers are facing increasingly difficult economic circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and many have been forced to significantly reduce their manufacturing workforces,” Brewin said. “We thank representatives Schneider, LaHood, Lipinski, Crawford, Blumenauer, and Ferguson for introducing this bill to help restore and maintain the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on this industry and urge Congress to advance this legislation quickly to help railway suppliers cope with the economic fallout of this pandemic.”
Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the freight railcar manufacturing industry directly supported 65,000 U.S. jobs in all 50 states, with average salaries exceeding the national average by 40%.
About the Railway Supply Institute (RSI)
The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) is a trade association representing more than 200 companies involved in the manufacture of products and services in the freight car, tank car, locomotive, maintenance-of-way, communications and signaling, and passenger rail industries. RSI connects members to their customers and partners, supports the improvement of the industry, assists members in the global marketplace, and represents the industry during the regulatory and legislative process. For more information visit www.rsiweb.org, follow RSI on Twitter and join the RSI LinkedIn group.