Washington, D.C.--A long-term, bipartisan effort by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) to permanently extend a critical tax credit used to repair and upgrade short line railroads was included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 omnibus package.
“Access to affordable and reliable options for transporting goods to markets is an important part of Idaho small businesses’ success and ability to grow and innovate,” said Crapo. “All over the country, short line railroads act almost like arteries, connecting freight from rural areas to the heart of our major transportation lines, and they have proven quite instrumental at moving Idaho goods to customers worldwide as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Witnessing first-hand the economic expansion efforts this industry has brought to Idaho and the nation has been incredible. I have been a longtime champion of the short line rail tax credit, and its permanent extension is excellent news for supporting critical infrastructure. I thank Senator Wyden for his partnership on this effort.”
“Shortline railroads play a critical role in creating good-paying jobs throughout Oregon,” said Wyden. “Permanently extending this tax incentive to rehabilitate and maintain these tracks, after years of effort, is critical to growing Oregon’s economy, and ensuring small businesses have accessible transportation options to move their goods to market. I greatly appreciate Senator Crapo’s longtime partnership on this issue, which is so important for both our states.”
“Making the short line railroad rehabilitation tax credit (45G) permanent is a tremendous victory for the thousands of agricultural, energy, and manufacturing customers throughout Idaho, Oregon, and the entire country that rely on short line service,” said Chuck Baker, President of American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. “Making the credit permanent after 15 years of on-again off-again extensions will create certainty and further incentive investment into expensive and hard-to-maintain short line infrastructure, allowing short lines to connect customers in small town and rural America to markets in the domestic and global economies and to move goods in an efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly way.”
The 45G tax credit provides short line and regional railroads a tax credit for railroad track maintenance expenses, up to $3,500 per mile of track owned or leased by the railroad. The short line railroads ensure that small manufacturers’ products can get to markets in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The incentive is credited with a number of rail expansion projects benefiting communities across Idaho and Oregon, and the permanent extension will allow communities to repair, maintain and upgrade additional short line railroads nationwide. Congress has acted periodically since 2006 to extend the credit, often retroactively. Earlier this Congress, Crapo and Wyden introduced S. 203, the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act to make the extension permanent. The BRACE Act had an additional 61 bipartisan co-sponsors in the Senate, and the House of Representatives companion legislation had garnered 303 bipartisan co-sponsors.