Representing the Short Line Industry - Telling Our Story

Experts from ASLRRA’s staff represent the short line industry, and particularly our members, testifying before a variety of Congressional and Regulatory bodies.  We are engaged in topics such as rail technology trends, economic impact of rail, increases in truck size and weight, regulations and compliance issues, customer service, interchange challenges, safety and tax policies such as the short line tax credit. Below you will find recent written testimonies given by ASLRRA on behalf of our members.


April 2, 2020:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Railroad Administration has given ASLRRA 90 additional days to review the rule to determine whether to file a petition for reconsideration of the Risk Reduction Program.
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March 30, 2020:
ASLRRA joined AAR in a response to the Environmental Protection Agency‘s (EPA) Draft Methodologies for Estimating Port-Related and Goods Movement Mobile Source Emission Inventories. The response offers objections to the use of train counts vs. gross-ton miles for calculation of fuel use and emissions, the use of uncontrolled line-haul emissions on Class II/III movements which overestimates the size of the pre-1973 locomotive fleet and the use of a 2009 OTAC document in favor of more up-to-date data for forecasting emission factors.
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March 25, 2020:
ASLRRA requested that the Federal Railroad Administration extend the deadline for submitting a petition for reconsideration of the final Risk Reduction rule by 90 days to August 9, 2020, and to extend the effective date of the regulation by 90 days to August 19, 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 on short line railroads.
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March 21, 2020:
ASLRRA joins AAR and APTA in an Emergency Relief Request under FRA-2020-0002 for a number of regulations for a period of at least 60 days, and so long as the declared national emergency remains in effect and while normal railroad operations and staffing levels are restored.
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March 16, 2020:
ASLRRA provided comments in response the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) request for information on improving and/or reforming regulatory enforcement and adjudication. ASLRRA provided suggestions in several areas – actions prior to the initiation of adjudication, during the settlement process, and the independence of government counsel.
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March 16, 2020:
ASLRRA filed comments in response the Federal Railroad Administration’s NPRM revising 49 C.F.R. Parts 218, 221 & 232, supporting the proposed codification of long-standing brake system safety standards, and provided additional comments on various aspects of the rule.
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March 10, 2020:
ASLRRA filed an amicus brief supporting DOT/FRA’s decision to withdraw the crew size rulemaking.
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March 2, 2020:
ASLRRA and AAR submitted joint comments in response to the Federal Railroad Administration’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NRPM) to revise its regulation governing Track Safety Standards (“TSS”) at 49 C.F.R. Part 213.1. AAR and ASLRRA generally support the NPRM proposals and the incorporation of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee’s TSS Working Group’s work. In particular, they support the proposed codification of longstanding railroad industry waivers that have proven to provide for the safety of railroad operations. FRA’s proposals to codify the use of continuous rail testing to satisfy part 213 track inspection requirements illustrate regulatory flexibility, allowing for the expanded use of technology to enhance railroad safety for both Class I and smaller railroads.
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February 13, 2020:
In a letter to the Surface Transportation Board, ASLRRA responded to two issues concerning small railroads that arose during the testimony of some of the shipper witnesses in hearings on EP711 and EP 761 on December 12 and 13, 2019. ASLRRA requested that the Board disregard the comments or testimony of those shippers who advocated the imposition of the concept of reciprocal switching proposed in EP 711 (Sub-No. 1) in EP 761 and EP 722 as out of scope. Additionally, the Board should also disregard the use of URSCS as recommended by the RRFT within these matters. To do otherwise would be a manifest injustice to small railroads.
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February 10, 2020:
ASLRRA filed comments in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Request for Information: National Freight Strategic Plan. ASLRRA provided the short line industry perspective on questions posed, including the three most important challenges facing the U.S. freight transportation system, approaches to the multimodal freight system, and what barriers to freight efficiency (such as regulatory, technological, institutional, statutory) should DOT better understand.
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January 27, 2020:
ASLRRA filed comments in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Request for Information: Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success. ASLRRA called for the creation of a Disaster Recovery Program for rural railroads, a request to modify the financials required for applications to the RRIF Express program, and also offered suggestions making small ports eligible for the Port and Intermodal Improvement Program.
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December 20, 2019:
ASLRRA and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) submitted comments in support of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed rule allowing for the movement of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail tank car.
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December 6, 2019:
ASLRRA filed a formal response to the STB's Policy Statement on Demurrage and Accessorial Rules and Charges (EP 757), Demurrage Billing Requirements (EP 759), and the NPRM - Exclusion of Demurrage Regulations From Certain Class Exemptions (EP 760) addressing comments in the Ex Parte proceedings.
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December 5, 2019:
ASLRRA President Chuck Baker provided testimony to the House T & I Committee Subcommittee On Highways and Transit Hearing On: “Where’s My Stuff? Examining the Economic, Environmental, and Societal Impacts of Freight Transportation”. Baker discussed the positive impacts of the Short Line Industry, stating that we have lots of stuff, it’s the right stuff, and we are here to transport America’s stuff in a safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly manner.
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November 6, 2019:
ASLRRA provided comments in response to the STB NPRM - EXCLUSION OF DEMURRAGE REGULATIONS FROM CERTAIN CLASS EXEMPTIONS (EP 760). ASLRRA recommends that no action be taken on this matter, but if action is taken, Class II and III should be exempt from this regulation, as there is no evidence that railroad demurrage practices involving exempt commodities are problematic and require regulatory oversight. ASLRRA also asserts that the proposed rule does not adequately address short line railroad considerations under SBREFA, and that the rulemaking may also expose short lines to other regulatory oversight in compliance with the STB regulations.
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November 6, 2019:
ASLRRA provided comments in response to the STB POLICY STATEMENT ON DEMURRAGE AND ACCESSORIAL RULES AND CHARGES (EP 757). ASLRRA reiterates that a one-size fits all railroads does not work for demurrage issues and placing global demands on the entire freight railroad industry for demurrage billing requirements will likely create financial stress on those small railroads least able to comply with the new regulatory demands. ASLRRA states that the proposed exemption of Class II and III railroads from new demurrage billing requirements is critical to the success of the Class II and Class III railroad industry. The comments also note that while two of the proposals have the potential to assist railroads in efficiently responding to emergencies such as adverse weather conditions and blocked crossings when using a commercial motorized vehicle (CMV), they urge FMCSA to grant the outstanding request to provide additional on-duty time for railroad employees responding to an unplanned event.
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November 6, 2019:
ASLRRA provided comments in response to the STB DEMURRAGE BILLING REQUIREMENTS (EP 759). The comments note ASLRRA’s agreement with the STB that Class II and III railroads be exempted from the requirements of these proposed rules. Keeping in place the proposed exemption of Class II and III railroads from new demurrage billing requirements is very important. Placing global demands on the entire freight railroad industry for demurrage billing requirements would likely create financial stress on those small railroads least able to comply with the new regulatory demand.
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October 21, 2019:
ASLRRA joins the Association of American Railroads (AAR) in providing comments in response to the 2019 Hours Of Service NRPM from FMCSA. The comments note that while two of the proposals have the potential to assist railroads in efficiently responding to emergencies such as adverse weather conditions and blocked crossings when using a commercial motorized vehicle (CMV), they urge FMCSA to grant the outstanding request to provide additional on-duty time for railroad employees responding to an unplanned event.
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September 23, 2019:
ASLRRA joins the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and BNSF in supporting the States of North Dakota and Montana’s request that a law recently passed in Washington State, the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA), should be issued a preemption determination, as the HMTA is an obstacle to the federal hazardous material transportation legal and regulatory regime, and it is not substantially the same as federal regulations governing the classification and handling of crude oil in transportation.
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August 19, 2019:
ASLRRA Submits Testimony to Small Business Administration for National Regulatory Fairness Hearing.
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July 31, 2019:
ASLRRA joins the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) in submitting a petition to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), requesting a delay in the implementation of the so-called training rules (49 CFT Part 243) from May 1, 2023 to May 1, 2025 while the FRA considers the June 28, 2019 petition for amendments previously submitted. Alternatively, the petition seeks a suspension of the implementation dates pending the FRA's consideration of the June 28, 2019 Petition.
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July 31, 2019:
ASLRRA joins AAR in providing comments in response to FRA’s Guidance on Section 106 ROW Exemption. The comments list several areas in the proposed Guidance that are concerning to the industry, and overall suggest that the Guidance ignores Congressional intent of Section 11504 of the 2015 FAST Act. The railroad industry encourages DOT to develop final guidance that limits Section 106 consultation to exceptional historic properties that uniquely “illustrate the history of the development of the nation’s railroads or rail transit systems,” in accordance with the FAST Act.
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July 8, 2019:
ASLRRA joins AAR in providing comments in response to FRA’s proposal to revise its regulation governing the qualification and certification of locomotive engineers. The railroads take no issue with the creation of the unified OCRB but have concerns with some of the additional burdens created by this notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”).
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July 8, 2019:
ASLRRA joins AAR in providing comments in response to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s June 6, 2019 Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for a Special Permit (SP) Request for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by Rail
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June 28, 2019:
ASLRRA joins AAR in providing comments on Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) proposal to move FRA civil penalties schedules and guidelines from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to the FRA website.
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June 6, 2019:
ASLRRA provides Testimony on behalf of 45G/Short Line Maintenance Tax Credit before the United States Senate Finance Committee’s Cost Recovery Task Force.
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June 6, 2019:

ASLRRA provides comment on behalf of Class II and Class III railroads re: Surface Transportation Board Docket No. EP 754 -Oversight Hearing on Demurrage and Accessorial Charges.
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April 12, 2019:
ASLRRA joins AAR in providing supportive comments in response to the Environmental Protection Agency and United States Army Corps of Engineers’ February 14, 2019 notice of proposed rulemaking “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” addressing the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1251 et. seq.
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March 12, 2019:
Chuck Baker provides written statement for House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee hearing on “Temporary Policy in the Internal Revenue Code”.
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February 26, 2019:
ASLRRA provided a written statement for House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing “Examining How Federal Infrastructure Policy Could Help Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change”, providing ASLSRRA perspective on the effect thattax and truck size and weight policies can have on climate change and on the efforts that Class II and III railroads are already making to provide safe, reliable, and fuel-efficient transportation.
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February 26, 2019:
ASLRRA President Chuck Baker testifies before Senate Commerce Committee, Transportation and Safety Subcommittee.
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September 17, 2018:
ASLRRA submits comments supporting AAR on OSHA Cranes & Derricks Rule and the expansion of railway work exemptions.
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August 20, 2018:
ASLRRA and AAR submitted joint comments responding to the CEQ’s ANPRM on Implementation of Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. 

June 13, 2018:
ASLRRA and AAR Submit Joint Comments on Section 106 Exemption. 
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May 23, 2018:
ASLRRA President Linda Darr sent a letter to the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Truck Size and Weight Research Plan Committee last week detailing the Association’s concern with the committee omitting rail freight diversion from its initial public report.
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May 21, 2018:
House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways & Transit, Coalition letter addressing opposition to truck size and weight increases ahead of hearing on “FAST Act Implementation: Motor Carrier Provisions” 
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May 16, 2018:
DOCKET NO. FRA-2018-0027: AUTOMATION IN THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY: REQUEST FOR INFORMATION.  Response to FRA on Railroad Industry Automation. Comments on FRA Railroad Industry Automation
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March 21, 2018:
ASLRRA representatives Jo Strang and Judy Petry testified at separate hearings on Capitol Hill in favor of equitable transportation funding opportunities and the need for permanence for the 45G tax credit.
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March 21, 2018:
Jo Strang testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on The Rebuilding of Infrastructure in America: State and Local Transportation Needs.  
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March 21, 2018:
Judy Petry press release following house hearing on 45G tax credit. 
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March 21, 2018:
Judy Petry testimony before House Ways and Means on 45G tax credit.
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March 13, 2018:
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Merchant Marine, Infrastructure, Safety and Security, Hearing on “The Rebuilding of Infrastructure in America: State and Local Transportation Needs”
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February 27, 2018:
Before the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) and Department of Homeland Security. Docket No. DHS-2017-0037: Information Collection Request Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Personnel Surety Program. Comment submitted by Thomas Farmer on behalf of AAR and ASLRRA.
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January 22, 2018:
Before the Federal Railroad Administration.  DOCKET NO. FRA-2009–0033, Notice No. 5 Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees.
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