June 2023 NRC Bulletin

July 5, 2023

NRC Updates and Announcements

Save The Date

More information on registration, booths, sponsorships and speakers will be forthcoming. Make sure to check the NRC website for the most up-to-date information


The NRC Pays Tribute to the Late Kevin Brons, Principal with Commercial Insurance Associates and NRC Safety Awards Judge

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) joins with many others in the railroad industry to mourn the passing of Kevin Brons, principal with Commercial Insurance Associates based in Brentwood, Tenn. Kevin passed away May 4, 2023.

“Kevin was a good friend to the NRC and a valued advocate for a strong safety culture and safety performance in the railroad industry,” says NRC President Ashley Wieland. “In his position with Commercial Insurance Associates, Kevin sponsored the NRC’s annual ‘Safe Contractor of the Year’ awards and spent countless hours grading award applications.”

“Kevin was one of the truly good guys in our industry,” added Ashley. “He was a pleasure to work with but also someone who positively impacted people and rail safety. On behalf of the NRC, we extend our deepest sympathy to Kevin’s children and family.”

Kevin worked in the railroad industry for more than 25 years to provide companies with risk-management strategies and insurance. He was an active member of the NRC, the American Association of Short Line and Regional Railroads (ASLRRA) and numerous regional and state railroad associations.

Press Release: https://www.nrcma.org/nrcma-news/the-nrc-pays-tribute-to-the-late-kevin-brons-principal-with-commercial-insurance-associates

Kevin’s obituary: https://www.woodbinefuneralhome.com/obituary/kevin-brons


NRC 2023 Scholarship Program Application Now Available

New in 2023: The NRC has expanded its scholarship program. We're pleased to announce the following two changes:

  1. Employees of NRC member companies are now eligible to apply for NRC scholarships. This expansion means that the NRC Scholarship Program is open to employees of member companies, their children and grandchildren.
  2. The NRC has added one scholarship for trade school students. This addition means the program will offer a total of four scholarships: one trade-school scholarship and three undergraduate scholarships.

The NRC awards scholarships each year to provide higher-education and trade-school tuition assistance for employees and children or grandchildren of employees of NRC member companies. The scholarships were established by NRC members to honor the memory of two former NRC members –Vinnie Vaccarello (Co-President of All Railroad Services Corp.) and Patsy Crisafi (Executive Vice President of Roadway Worker Training, Inc.) – who were killed in a small plane crash. Since 2013, the NRC has awarded more than $150,000 in scholarships to eligible students.

Award Details - Scholarship funds in the following amounts are sent directly to the student winners at the beginning of the next term of study:

Undergraduate Scholarships:

  • First-place award of $12,000
  • Second-place award of $6,000
  • Third place award of $3,000

Trade-School Scholarship:

  • One $3,500 scholarship for a trade-school student - new this year

Eligibility - Applicants must meet these qualifications to be eligible for the scholarships:

  • Be a full-time employee of an NRC member company (new this year) or a daughter, son, granddaughter or grandson of a current employee of an NRC member company.
  • Be enrolled at the time of application as a full-time college student at an accredited two-year college offering an associate’s degree or an accredited four-year college or university offering a bachelor’s degree or a trade school, or a recent high school graduate enrolling at one of the institutions mentioned above.
  • Must be enrolled at a qualified school for a full year following receipt of the award.
  • Previous NRC Scholarship winners are eligible to apply for a scholarship if they still meet the requirements noted above.

Applications – Applicants should review all materials before submitting applications. Any application deemed incomplete will not be graded or considered eligible for an award.

  • Application - Applicants must submit the following items in one PDF: 1) completed application, 2) reference letter on the member company letterhead, 3) office school transcript, 4) Essay on the following topic that is 500 words or less:
  • Safety has always been the railroad industry’s number one priority. Outline three specific areas that could help drive further improvements of the rail industry and its public image. Provide examples for each.

Deadline - August 31, 2023

Download the NRC scholarship application

Nebraska Governor Pillen visits NRC member Omaha Track

On June 19th, Omaha Track hosted Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen for a comprehensive tour of its three Omaha-based facilities. During the visit, the governor met with key industry stakeholders on government funding for infrastructure. Representatives from Union Pacific Railroad, Nebraska Central Railroad, TranSystems, Herzog, and the Twin Cities & Western Railroad were also in attendance. 

More info on the NRC grassroots program

FRA announces Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE) Program FY2022 Awards

On June 5th, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reported that 63 projects in 32 states will share more than $570 million in Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program funding to address safety at 400-plus at-grade crossings nationwide.

Along with projects that build or upgrade physical infrastructure at railroad crossings, FRA awarded $15.7 million for planning activities and $33.1 million for project development and design activities that will build a pipeline of projects for future funding. Twenty two percent of all funding, $127.5 million, was awarded to projects in rural areas or on Tribal lands. 

RCE Program Awards: https://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary/railroad-crossing-elimination-rce-program-program-fy2022-selections

Press Release: https://railroads.dot.gov/about-fra/communications/newsroom/press-releases/biden-harris-administration-announces-funding-63-0

Source: FRA, Railway Age

DOT announces RAISE FY2023 Awards

On June 28th, The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the awards of more than $2.2 billion from the RAISE discretionary grant program to 162 different infrastructure projects across the country. This year the RAISE program funds projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two territories.

Press Release: https://www.transportation.gov/RAISEgrants

RAISE Program Awards: https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2023-06/RAISE%202023%20Fact%20Sheets_2.pdf

Source: DOT

Industry News and Updates

VRE approves $20 million in funding through 1-395/95 Commuter Choice program

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) secured $20 million in funding through the 1-395/95 Commuter Choice program, which reinvests express lane tolls revenues in public transit and other transportation improvements in northern Virginia’s I-66 and I-395/95 corridors.

The funding will support reinstatement of the Amtrak Step-Up program and construction of a new VRE station in Crystal City. The projects represent two of VRE’s five projects it submitted applications for in the Fiscal Year 2024-2025 cycle. The cycle has a total of 16 projects total. The commuter choice program has awarded $107.9 million to 58 projects since 2017.

More information on the Commuter Choice Program: https://novatransit.org/programs/commuterchoice/

Source: Mass Transit


Amtrak applies for FRA grants to fund projects on Northeast Corridor, long-distance, state-supported lines

Amtrak has submitted applications for nearly $7.3 billion in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding for 14 proposed Northeast Corridor (NEC) projects and $716 million in funding for 16 proposed projects that would improve reliability, reduce travel times and expand service on its long-distance and state-supported lines.

The applications were submitted through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program (FSP-NEC Program).

More information on Example Northeast Corridor projects: https://media.amtrak.com/2023/06/amtrak-applies-for-7-3-billion-in-federal-grants-to-advance-northeast-corridor-infrastructure-upgrades

Source: Amtrak, Progressive Railroading

DOT announces 2023 Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant (MPDG) Program:


The MPDG is a three-in-one grant opportunity for communities interested in funding made available through the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) discretionary grant program, the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (Rural), and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program.


The Department is combining three major discretionary grant programs into one Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant (MPDG) opportunity to reduce the burden for state and local applicants and increase the pipeline of “shovel-worthy” projects that are now possible because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These investments will create good-paying jobs, grow the economy, reduce emissions, improve safety, make our transportation more sustainable and resilient, and expand transportation options in rural America and other underserved communities. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding will help enable more communities to build vital infrastructure projects that also strengthen supply chains and reduce costs for American families.

The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program is an existing competitive program that will see a more than 50 percent increase in this year’s funding due to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These grants advance the Administration’s priorities of rebuilding America’s infrastructure and creating jobs by funding highway, multimodal freight and rail projects that position America to win the 21st century. Projects will improve safety, generate economic benefits, reduce congestion, enhance resiliency, and hold the greatest promise to eliminate supply chain bottlenecks and improve critical freight movements. Last year, DOT received over $27 billion in application requests, but could only fund around $1.5 billion of projects. To see last year’s INFRA grants, click here. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides approximately $8 billion for INFRA over 5 years, of which approximately $3.1 billion will be made available through this NOFO.  Application closing date is August 21, 2023.

More information and how to apply: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=348879

Source: DOT

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