February 16, 2017

Wyden Introduces Shortline and Regional Railroad Bill

Legislation would make permanent the tax credits essential for continued growth of Oregon’s 15 shortline & regional railroads

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden today introduced bipartisan legislation that would make permanent a tax credit key to rehabilitating shortline and regional railroads in Oregon and nationwide.

“These railroads play an essential role in creating good jobs throughout Oregon by providing a crucial link in the chain to move goods made and grown in our state to factories, grain elevators, mills, and other parts of the economy,” said Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

“My legislation to make this track maintenance tax credit permanent provides much-needed certainty for railroads to make vital investments in the first and last mile of their tracks,” Wyden said.

Wyden’s Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act is co-sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

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. 

Oregon is home to 15 short line and regional railroads, which together make up 1,292 miles of freight track in the state—more than half of all Oregon freight rail lines.  These rail lines directly employ hundreds of Oregonians and serve as the crucial link to the dozens of rail-dependent businesses that would not be competitive without rail access.