Senator Jay Rockefeller today announced that he introduced legislation offering a tax credit to incentivize short line rail companies to invest in rail track upgrades.
Such upgrades are particularly important for rural areas like West Virginia -- the country's second largest producer of rail ties -- where short line service is often the only railroad service available for many companies trying to ship their products.
"This tax credit is about boosting manufacturing in West Virginia, improving our rail infrastructure, and creating jobs," said Rockefeller. "And with the right incentives, we can make all of these things happen through private investments. Since this tax credit went into effect, about 750,000 more railroad ties have been purchased nationwide than would have taken place without the credit. That has huge benefits across West Virginia, especially since our state is a leader in rail ties production. I'm fighting to make sure this tax credit continues into the future."
Originally enacted in 2004, this tax credit encourages short lines rail companies to rehabilitate rail tracks by providing a credit of 50 cents for every dollar spent on track improvements. This tax credit means better, safer railroad tracks and more reliable, competitively priced railroad service for companies to transport their products. The credit is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2013, and Rockefeller's bill would extend it for another three years.
More than 12,000 rail customers across America depend on short line railroads, which are small freight rail companies responsible for bringing goods to communities that are not directly served by large, trans-continental railroads. Supporting small railroads allows the communities surrounding them to attract and maintain businesses and create jobs.