|BEAUFORT, SC - Today, Congressman Joe Cunningham (D-South Carolina) joined the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) and its member Geismar North America for a tour of their headquarters and manufacturing facility in Beaufort, South Carolina. Congressman Cunningham met with Geismar North America President Al Reynolds, company employees, and representatives of the railroad industry to discuss the importance of the short line tax credit and opposition to increasing limits on truck size and weights. REMSA and the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) coordinated the event.
Congressman Joe Cunningham with employees from Geismar North America, REMSA, and the NRC
Congressman Cunningham was elected to Congress in 2018 and serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. He is a member of the Infrastructure Taskforce for the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of centrist lawmakers that focuses on fiscal issues and national security. Prior to his election to Congress, Cunningham was an attorney and an ocean engineer.
"It was a pleasure to tour Geismar North America's headquarters and manufacturing facility in Beaufort today," said Congressman Joe Cunningham. "Geismar North America plays an important role in Beaufort's economy and I look forward to continuing to work with all the stakeholders involved to maintain strong relationships with our business and transportation industries."
Congressman Cunningham with Geismar North America President Al Reynolds
Geismar North America is a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality railway maintenance equipment that has been serving the North American railroad industry, exclusively, for over 40 years. They offer a full selection of maintenance of way equipment from gas, hydraulic and electric tools, measurement instruments, OHL equipment, tampers, tie-inserters as well as a range of road-rail and steel-wheeled personnel and material transport vehicles. Geismar North America recently opened their 47,000-square foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Beaufort, South Carolina.
"It was a privilege to host Congressman Cunningham at our headquarters here in Beaufort," commented Geismar North America President Al Reynolds. "We thank him for meeting with our employees and seeing firsthand how their hard work contributes to the economy in South Carolina."
Congressman Cunningham speaks with employees from Geismar North America
Attendees spoke with Congressman Cunningham about 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, allows 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 Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). "ASLRRA thanks Congressman Cunningham for his support of Geismar North America and other key businesses in the South Carolina 1st that support the rail industry and the entire national economy."
Congressman Cunningham speaks with local news reporters
In South Carolina, 11 freight railroads operate and maintain over 2,278 miles of track, employing more than 1,615 people.
In attendance were: Al Reynolds, President, Geismar North America; Matt Bell, President, National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association; Jacob Carter, Government Affairs Manager, REMSA; Jose Casey, Field Representative, Congressman Joe Cunningham; Gilbert DeMareschal, Chief Operating Office, Geismar North America; Rebecca Drago, Communications Director, Congressman Joe Cunningham; Tim Henderson, District Engineering Administrator, South Carolina Department of Transportation; Lane Lofton, Chief of Staff, Congressman Joe Cunningham; Janessa Lowery, Communications & Events Manager, Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce; Whitney McDaniel, Board Member, Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce; T Ravenel, Director of Special Projects, Palmetto Railways; and Charlie Stone, Project Manager, Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation.