Peters to Cosponsor Bill Providing Certainty for Short Line Railroads
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that he will be cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to make permanent a tax credit used to repair and upgrade short line railroads. The tax credit was extended for two years as part of the omnibus spending bill Congress passed in December, and the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy Act would provide certainty for short line railroads to invest in their infrastructure with a permanent tax credit rather than temporary extensions.
“Michigan’s short line railroads transport products and serve as critical links between businesses and consumers in nearly every county in our state, and this legislation will help them make long-term investments in their infrastructure,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “We must ensure that these short line railroad companies can expand and invest in their infrastructure so that they can continue to serve the farmers, small business owners, manufacturers, and other diverse industries that strengthen Michigan’s economy.”
The short-line railroad track maintenance credit provides short line and regional railroads a 50 percent tax credit for railroad track maintenance expenses, up to $3,500 per mile of track owned or leased by the railroad. This bill, which would make the tax credit permanent, was introduced by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and has 42 cosponsors from both parties.
Michigan is home to 21 short-line railroads, which handle 295,000 railcar-loads per year and cover 2,861 miles of track—nearly 80 percent of the total railroad track miles in Michigan.
Earlier this year, Peters toured the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad, where he saw firsthand the work being done in their facility to refurbish old railroad cars for a new purpose on the fleet. While there, he discussed his support for the Short Line Railroad and Rehabilitation and Investment Act, which he cosponsored in 2015 to support private investment in rail infrastructure by providing a 50-cent tax credit for every dollar spent on track improvements, up to $3,500 per mile of track through 2016.
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