REMSA Member IPS Cranes Hosts Congressman Pete Stauber
DULUTH, MN - On Saturday, Congressman Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota) joined the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) and its member IPS Cranes for a tour of their manufacturing facility in Duluth, Minnesota. IPS Cranes operates one of the only crane refurbishing facilities in the country for the rail, petroleum, and mining industries. Before the tour, Congressman Stauber met with IPS Cranes President and CEO Jackie O'Connell, company employees, and representatives of the railroad industry to discuss the importance of infrastructure investments, jobs and the short line tax credit. REMSA and the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) coordinated the event.
Congressman Pete Stauber with representatives from IPS Cranes, REMSA, NRC, the City of Duluth, and Canadian National Railway
Congressman Stauber was first elected to Congress in 2018 and serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he sits on the Subcommittee on Railroads and oversees the economic and safety regulation of freight and passenger railroads. As a member of the Railroads Subcommittee, the Congressman has direct oversight of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Surface Transportation Board (STB). The FRA is responsible for administering and overseeing railroad safety laws and railroad infrastructure and development programs; while the STB has broad economic regulatory oversight of railroads.
Prior to his time in Congress, Stauber worked in Minnesota as a St. Louis County Commissioner, as a City Councilor in Hermantown, and as a Duluth police officer for over two decades.
IPS Cranes is a manufacturer and remanufacturer of custom cranes for the rail, petroleum and mining industries. Their facility in Duluth, MN, is a complete repair, rebuild, and manufacturing facility for all types of track equipment. IPS Cranes maintains a full-service shop with staff expertise in welding, fabrication, hydraulics, pneumatics, electrical and mechanical assembly. The company offers a complete line of support services including field inspection, field repair, shop repair, complete crane rebuilding retrofitted with today's technology, new cranes, unit exchange cranes, full crane rental fleet, operator and mechanic training and 24-hour technical support. IPS Cranes continues to add to its capabilities by designing and manufacturing specialized equipment for the mobile crane industry, as well as innovative redesign of existing equipment.
Congressman Stauber speaks with employees from IPS Cranes
"IPS Cranes was honored to meet with Congressman Pete Stauber, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, at our Duluth manufacturing facility," said Jackie O'Connell, President and CEO of IPS Cranes. "As the leading crane manufacturer who builds locomotive cranes to support our nation's rail, petroleum and mining industries, we are proud to invest in the economic growth within Minnesota and providing opportunities for the local skilled workforce."
In 2016, IPS Cranes announced their new IPS Metro Crane, an emission free railway track crane used for maintenance of the underground rail systems. Currently, they are the only company in the United States that can manufacture this type of crane, which has the capacity to lift heavy loads while working inside the subway system.
"I'm glad I had the opportunity to tour IPS Cranes and thank the hardworking men and women who are committed to producing products that serve our state's railway system," said Congressman Pete Stauber. "From farmers to manufacturers, so many critical sectors of Minnesota's economy are dependent on an operational railway system. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass an infrastructure package that improves our state's rail infrastructure and keeps our economy running on all cylinders."
IPS Cranes President and CEO Jackie O'Connell and Congressman Stauber
Attendees at the event spoke with Congressman Stauber about infrastructure investments, jobs, and H.R.510: The Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act. The BRACE Act would make the short line tax credit permanent and allow the nation's small, local freight railroads to increase investment into their rail infrastructure and better serve their customers throughout rural and small-town America. The tax credit has helped small railroads invest more than $4 billion in capital infrastructure improvements since it was enacted in 2005.
"The short line railroad tax credit, which would be made permanent by the BRACE Act, is an essential piece of the economic puzzle, allowing short lines to invest more of their own capital in rail improvements and maintenance to provide ever-safer and more robust service capabilities for their customers," said Judy Petry, Chair of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). "ASLRRA was happy to hear from Rep. Stauber on this important issue and looks forward to an opportunity to work together in the future."
Congressman Stauber receives a crane demonstration
In Minnesota, 18 freight railroads operate and maintain over 4,258 miles of track, employing more than 4,270 people.
In attendance were: Jackie O'Connell, President and CEO, IPS Cranes; Nate Jutila, Project Manager, IPS Cranes; Andy Rausch, Sales Department Head, IPS Cranes; Matt Bell, Executive Vice President, NRC; Jacob Carter, Government Affairs Manager, REMSA; Joan Christensen, Assistant City Attorney, City of Duluth; Zack Filipovich, Councilor, Duluth City Council; Isaac Schultz, District Director, Congressman Pete Stauber; and Nick Stavig, Trainmaster, Canadian National Railway.