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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Short-line tax credit bill introduced in U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow
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U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) last week announced they've introduced the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy, or BRACE Act, which would make permanent the 45G tax credit used by short lines and regionals for infrastructure improvements.

The bill would make permanent a measure that has provided a 50 percent tax credit for railroad track maintenance expenses, up to $3,500 per mile of track owned or leased by the railroad. Congress has acted periodically to extend the tax credit, often retroactively. Most recently, the credit expired Dec. 31, 2016.

Uncertainty over whether Congress will extend the tax credit impacts the railroads' ability to ensure their customers' products can get to markets on time, the senators said in a press release.

Crapo and Stabenow's bill is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Last month, a BRACE Act bill was introduced in the U.S. House and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

The tax credit helps more than 550 short lines preserve nearly 50,000 miles of track that otherwise would have been abandoned, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. The association has been advocating on behalf of its members to permanently extend the tax credit.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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