June 2021 NRC Bulletin
July 1, 2021
NRC Updates and Announcements
Rail Merger Update: CN, KCS File With STB for Voting Trust Approval

On June 28, Canadian National (CN) and Kansas City Southern (KCS) announced their proposed combination continues to gain support, citing more letters from customers, suppliers, elected officials and stakeholders have submitted on behalf of the merger to the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Additionally, the same day Canadian Pacific (CP) announced that the entire North Dakota congressional delegation, consisting of U.S. Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, and U.S. Representative Kelly Armstrong supported the CP-KCS merger.

Furthermore, on June 24 CP announced that shippers of grain and other agricultural products across North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota had submitted letters to the STB opposing the CN-KCS merger, and its proposed use of a voting trust. The letters mention that the combination, proposed use of voting trust, or both would result in reduced options for agricultural shippers in the Upper Midwest.

Along with CP, Amtrak also expressed concern about the proposed voting trust, saying that unlike the CP-KCS merger, the CN-KCS proposal "would not be a purely end-to-end merger." SMART-TD, a rail labor group, echoed these sentiments saying "if the CN voting trust and proposed merger were granted approval, we fully expect significant job losses on either CN or KCS because ultimately the transaction would require either a sale or abandonment of duplicative rail lines."
House Passes INVEST Act

Today, the House passed the INVEST Act by a vote of 221-201; however the path forward and how it will get folded into the broader infrastructure package is unclear at this time. Earlier in June, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee reintroduced and marked up the INVEST in America Act. To read the NRC's full statement, please click here.

While the NRC is pleased to see the INVEST in America Act significantly increase funding for CRISI grants and for commuter and passenger rail that would help the growth and efficiency of the nation’s rail network, the bill is a missed opportunity. It includes numerous unnecessary regulatory and labor provisions that are problematic for railroads and rail contractors.
Senate Commerce Committee STIA Markup Summary June 16

On June 16, 2021 the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee introduced and marked up its bipartisan Surface Transportation Investment Act (STIA) of 2021. To read the NRC's statement on the STIA Act, please click here.

The NRC is encouraged that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has introduced and marked up its bipartisan Surface Transportation Investment Act (STIA) of 2021. This bipartisan bill is the result of extensive stakeholder engagement and careful negotiation. The NRC supports the bill and hopes to see it eventually signed into law.
INFRA Grant Awards Announcement

On June 30, U.S Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg today announced $905.25 million to 24 projects in 18 states under the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program. Of the 24 projects, five are rail-related and received over $105 million.

INFRA grants were selected based on several criteria. In addition to prioritizing projects that would improve local economies, create jobs, and meet all statutory requirements, for the first time in USDOT’s history, grants were considered by how they would address climate change, environmental justice, and racial equity. Further, USDOT prioritized funding to rural areas to address historic underinvestment. Approximately 44 percent of proposed funding will be awarded to rural projects. To see a full list of INFRA grant recipients, please click here.
NRC New Member Spotlight

With NRC membership renewals for 2021 underway, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of our new members that have joined in 2021! Each monthly bulletin, NRC staff will promote new and long-time members as a thank you for their continued support.

This month, we would like to highlight a few of our new members: B&P Enterprises, Lockton Companies., and ROBEL North America.
Not an NRC member and want to access to this and many other membership benefitsJoin as an NRC member today! If you have any questions about joining the NRC, or your organization's current membership status, please simply reply to this email.
NTSB Announces Completion of December 2020 Derailment Investigation

On June 17, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced it had completed its investigation into a rail tank car derailment on December 22, 2020 near Custer, Washington. The NTSB conducted a limited investigation of the accident, focusing solely on the performance of the DOT-117 rail tank cars.

The limited investigation did not determine probable cause for the derailment and did not publish a brief or report, however it is documented in a factual report. To view the report, please click here.

The derailment resulted in no injuries were reported in connection with the derailment; however, 120 people were evacuated from a ½-mile radius around the accident site, and about 29,000 gallons of petroleum crude oil was discharged from three tank cars.
CN Announces 2021 Capex Plan for Several Provinces

Over the month of June, Canadian National (CN) announced several of its capital expenditure plans for several of the Canadian provinces through which it operates. CN plans to invest $460 million in British Columbia, $445 million in Alberta, $370 million in Quebec, and $350 million in Ontario.

The goal of the proposed investments will focus on technology, capacity, and infrastructure maintenance to enhance safety and the fluidity of its network. All projects feature miles of rail replacement, rail tie installation, rebuilding road crossing surfaces and maintaining bridges, culverts, signal systems and other track infrastructure. To view a full list of the plan, please click here.
NRC Grassroots Events Survey

The NRC is dedicated to serving the needs of NRC Members and the railroad contractor and supplier community, and that includes making sure that our members have their voices heard on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress frequently mention in-person site visits as one of the most effective ways to convey the importance of the industry.

As 2021 continues and the economy and nation begin to return to normal, we want to take the opportunity to gauge NRC member companies on their desire to host a Member of Congress or staff for in-person member facility visits. We are very curious to hear if there is interest in these visits from NRC members. If you are, please click here to fill out our short grassroots survey.

If you have any questions, or would like to talk with NRC staff about our grassroots program further, please email info@nrcma.org.
Industry News and Updates
The heatwave enveloping the Pacific Northwest throughout late June has impacted regional and light rail operation in the area. On June 27, the The National Weather Service (NWS) reported Portland, Ore., reached 112°F, which is the highest temperature since records began in 1940. Amtrak Cascades service issued an alert June 25 that trains would be operating a reduced speeds through June 26 due to heat restrictions. The railroad explained extreme heat can cause railroad tracks to shift slightly, prompting the operations to slow down as a precaution. Sound Transit also issued similar alerts throughout the Link light-rail trains and Sounder trains were operating at reduced speeds due to excessive heat on the tracks.

On June 24, the planned Howard Street Tunnel expansion project in Baltimore, MD received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) as part of a project review under the National Environmental Policy Act. The project will expand the 126-year-old Howard Street Tunnel to accommodate double-stack container trains traveling to and from the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, increasing efficiency and capacity in the corridor. The project will make vertical clearance improvements at the Howard Street Tunnel and 22 other locations between Baltimore and Philadelphia.

On June 23, the Texas Central scored two legal victories as the Texas Supreme Court will not hear a case on whether or not Texas Central is illegally recognized as a railroad company under state law. With the Texas Supreme Court rejection, it appears Texas Central will now use eminent domain to construct the high-speed rail line. The next step for the project is securing federal funding, with construction estimated to begin in the coming months. Texans Against High-Speed Rail, a group trying to stop high-speed rail progress in the state, was behind the Texas Supreme Court Case and will file a motion for another hearing.

On June 21, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on the nearly $900 million Airport Metro Connector (AMC) project that will connect L.A. Metro's system to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The AMC project is the ninth station along the Crenshaw/LAX Line that is under construction. "This is an exciting project that will serve as the 'gateway' to LAX for future generations — just as LAX has long served as the gateway to Southern California for so many millions of people," said L.A. Metro Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Wiggins.
The NRC is a trade association representing businesses from across the nation in the rail construction and maintenance field. NRC members range in size from small family businesses to the largest companies in the industry. NRC members perform work for transit, commuter, intercity passenger, industrial, and freight rail customers, with services including track construction and maintenance, grade crossings, signal and communications installation, bridge construction and repair, rail yard work, and many more. The NRC strives to put an emphasis on rail safety and quality while proudly serving the rail industry