Wednesday, December 06, 2017

AAR, GoRail honor Rep. Shuster

Written by  Stuart Chirls, senior editor, Railway Age
AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger presents Rep. Bill Shuster with the Railroad Achievement Award Dec. 5 in Washington, D.C. AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger presents Rep. Bill Shuster with the Railroad Achievement Award Dec. 5 in Washington, D.C.

The Association of American Railroads and GoRail have honored House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) with the Railroad Achievement Award.

Shuster is the final calendar year recipient of the award, which was created in 2017 to recognize members of Congress who have shown consistent, bipartisan leadership on issues most pertinent to the nationwide rail network. The winners have shown particular leadership in recognizing the capital-intensive nature of railroads and the critical role they play in the U.S. economy, the organizations added.

"It is fitting to bookend the year by giving this new award to Chairman Shuster, a proven leader on transportation and infrastructure matters," said AAR President and Chief Executive Edward R. Hamberger. "In his time as leader of the T&I Committee, Chairman Shuster has helped steer several important pieces of legislation, including the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015, which included key rail provisions such as Amtrak reauthorization. We are proud of our working relationship with Chairman Shuster knowing he understands the need for both freight and passenger rail in Pennsylvania and beyond, as well as the great lengths railroads go to invest in their private networks, and we look forward to continued discourse with the Chairman."

In presenting the award Monday in Washington, Hamberger praised Shuster for his role in reauthorizing the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) in 2015, an essential step in ensuring balanced economic regulation for the freight rail sector. He also discussed the valuable work the T&I Committee has undertaken this year in crafting the broad framework for infrastructure legislation, for examining the regulatory barriers infrastructure stakeholders face and for recognizing the increasingly technological nature of the rail sector.

"Communities and companies all across America benefit from an innovative freight rail industry that invests more than 40 cents of every revenue dollar back into the nation's rail network," said GoRail President Russell McGurk. "Making this possible are sound public policies and elected leaders like Chairman Shuster with the foresight to enact and protect those policies."

The Railroad Achievement Award is given periodically to members of Congress who have shown leadership on policies that help ensure the vitality of railroads in the United States. Past winners include Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Commerce Committee; Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Commerce Committee, and Shuster's counterpart on the T&I Committee, ranking member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).

The AAR and GoRail plan to give the award to several new lawmakers in 2018.