Congressman Quigley joins REMSA member Industry-Railway Suppliers, rail stakeholders and local officials for Elmhurst facility tour and rail discussion
Elmhurst, IL - On April 10, 2017, Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL-5), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD), and Mayor Steve Morley, City of Elmhurst, joined representatives from Industry-Railway Suppliers, Inc. (IRS) and local railroads to tour IRS’s new Elmhurst headquarters, learn about their extensive railway supply equipment and tools, and discuss public policy priorities for the business and rail communities in greater Chicagoland. The Railway Engineering-Maintenance and Suppliers Association (REMSA), a non-profit trade group representing over 340 railway engineers, contractors, consultants, and suppliers across the country, coordinated the event. The $5 billion maintenance of way industry supports over 35,000 jobs nationwide. Thirty REMSA members maintain operations in Illinois.
Rail stakeholder discussion
Industry-Railway Suppliers, Inc. is an industry leading distributor of abrasives, AREMA track tools, roadway work equipment wear-parts, and mechanical shop tools to railroad customers of all sizes throughout North America. IRS is committed to meeting the needs of engineering and maintenance of way departments as well as mechanical, signal and bridge departments across the United States. IRS is a part of the Railway Supply Group, a diverse family of railway equipment supply companies that have served the railway industry for well over half a century. Other companies in the Railway Supply Group include: Davanac Inc., a companying offering a wide selection of maintenance of way products, freight car and locomotive parts, and abrasive products for both the railway and industrial sectors; IRECO, LLC, a company providing freight car components for railcar manufacturers, railroads and repair shops throughout North America and; Unity Railway Supply Co., Inc., a distributor of freight car components. In the fall of 2016, IRS relocated into a larger facility in Elmhurst, IL to position the company for future growth.
The tour was led by IRS’s President and REMSA Board Director Scott Commo. Also in attendance were Tom Gehr, President, ESCO Equipment Services Co. and REMSA Director; Dylan Hawyard, Program Manager, Midwest High Speed Rail Association; Jim Kvedaras, Director, U.S. Government Affairs, Canadian National Railway Company; Bill O’Connor, Chairman & CEO, Railway Supply Group; John Quigley, President and CEO, Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Liisa Stark, Assistant Vice President - Public Affairs, Union Pacific Railroad; Emily Traiforos, Field Director, GoRail; Marc Trani, Chief Operating Officer, Railway Supply Group; and Sean Winkler, Director of Advocacy, REMSA.
“We are honored to host Congressman Quigley, a leader on transportation issues affecting the Chicago region, and to demonstrate to him our commitment to growing our business in Elmhurst,” said Commo. “Railroads invest tens of billions of dollars annually into their networks, supporting rail supply jobs across our country. It is critical our policy makers do not upset the delicate regulatory balance that enables this sustained private investment. We thank the Congressman for his continued support of Chicago’s rail community.”
Mayor Morley, Rep. Quigley, Scott Common on Tour
Congressman Quigley is a leading voice for Chicago and a key supporter of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program, which is investing billions to support critical infrastructure projects needed to improve Chicago’s rail efficiencies. As a member of the House Appropriations’ THUD Subcommittee, he has fought for increased funding for the Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grant program, a competitive and innovative funding mechanism for critical infrastructure projects across the United States.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to tour IRS’s new Elmhurst facility and see firsthand how they are growing their business and strengthening the regional economy,” said Rep. Quigley. “I look forward to continuing to engage with those present today as we work together to create jobs, spur economic activity across the state, and ensure our communities are safely and efficiently served by freight and passenger rail service alike.”
The group discussed the private nature of America’s freight railroad network, which does not rely on federal support for the expansion or maintenance of its right-of-way unlike other modes of freight transportation. Also discussed was the recent bipartisan and bicameral introduction of the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act which is cosponsored by Rep. Quigley.
In Illinois, approximately 40 freight railroads operate and maintain over 6,900 miles of track and support over 13,000 jobs.
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