Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger announced the industry’s 2016 agenda, which will includes the issues of positive train control (PTC) implementation, maintaining “balanced” economic regulation at the Surface Transportation Board, extending the short-line tax credit, overall tax reform and advancing security-safety legislation.
Hamberger set out the agenda in his remarks at the 246th regular meeting of the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers, AAR officials said in a press release. The three-day conference focused on challenges and opportunities for shippers, railroads and the supply chain.
On the PTC front, freight railroads face a deadline later this month to provide the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) with PTC implementation plans. Hamberger reaffirmed the industry’s stance that the technology will be fully installed where required by 2018 and all testing for full coast-to-coast operations completed by 2020.
“The past year brought much excitement and success for the freight rail industry, both from a service perspective and in terms of regulatory and legislative activity,” said Hamberger. “We take very seriously our mission to deliver our customers’ goods efficiently, reliably and safely and look forward to our continued partnerships.”
He also addressed several successes for the rail industry from the past year, including stopping efforts to increase truck weights, pushing for safer tank cars that move flammable liquids, and achieving reform in environmental permitting.
Hamberger also mentioned a long-term project that will be getting more emphasis in 2016: working with other industries and government to review the rulemaking process and improve a regulatory system that, in the industry’s view, limits innovation and efficiency.
He maintained that with a still-soft economy, American industry requires empirically-driven policy rooted in sound science.