Tim Coffey, general counsel, secretary and director of human resources, and Chris Steinway, manager labor relations and human resources, represented BRC at Railroad Day on Capitol Hill March 13 in Washington, D.C.
“It gave Chris and I a chance to meet with Chicagoland congressmen and congresswomen, exchange contact information and explain how these legislative issues directly affect BRC, our customers and employees,” Coffey said.
The two spoke with lawmakers and others as they lobbied for issues important to the Belt and railroad industry as a whole. Three specific issues took center stage.
One issue was regulation. Coffey and Steinway encouraged lawmakers to oppose legislation that could adversely impact the economic and regulatory balance established under existing federal law.
The duo also urged them to support legislation that would extend the short line railroad tax credit, which expired at the end of 2013. In 2005, congress enacted this to reduce the federal tax burden on smaller railroads.
Another issue regarded highway transportation. Long a competitor to the railroad, the trucking industry is seeking approval to increase federal truck size and weight limits. Such a shift would divert business from freight rail — the safest, most environmentally friendly and cost-efficient form of transportation, according to statistics presented during the event.
Coffey and Steinway urged lawmakers to oppose legislation that would increase those federal weight and size limits.
The pair’s presence cemented the BRC’s significance to the railroad industry.
“BRC is the largest short line railroad in the largest rail hub in North America,” Coffey said. “Our importance to the industry, and the fact that we have ‘Chicago’ in our name, makes us essential to the industry’s lobbying efforts.”