Washington Update

On May 14, Congressman Jay Obernolte of California sent a letter to the EPA on the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) in-use locomotive regulation. It was cosigned by 73 other members of the House of Representatives. The letter includes every Republican from the State of California, and every Republican on the House Energy and Commerce committee. Please click here to view that letter
The May 14 letter by Congressman Obernolte follows weeks of discussion and letters on the proposed regulation that included 12 US Senators signing on to a letter opposing the regulation, as well as House Transportation & Infrastructure committee Republicans Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX), who also wrote a letter urging EPA to re-evaluate the request for a waiver. If implemented, the regulation would prohibit the operation of locomotives in California that are more than 23 years older than their original manufacture date unless they operate in a zero-emissions configuration, a technology not commercially available today, the senators wrote. The regulation also calls on railroads to deposit funds into spending accounts to be used to purchase new zero-emissions locomotives or invest in demonstration projects associated with zero-emissions locomotives.
On May 8, REMSA members joined rail industry stakeholders for Railroad Day on the Hill, featuring over 200 attendees participating in over 200 meetings on Capitol Hill. Attendees discussed several key issues to the industry, including Rail Safety, the in-use locomotive regulation proposed by CARB in California, and opposing any increases to current truck size and weight provisions.
On April 22, Brightline West broke ground on a 218 mile line connecting Las Vegas and Southern California. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was joined by more than half a dozen members of Congress and the governor of Nevada for the event. The service, slated to open in time for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, will feature fully electric trains. The Federal Railroad Administration completed environmental reviews for the project, which will run in the median of I-15 with no grade crossings, last September. “I have never heard a stretch of interstate described as a ‘parking lot’ more often than the I-15 corridor, if you're on it at the wrong time,” Buttigieg said. The business end: The project received $3 billion in DOT funding as well as DOT private activity bonds totaling $3.5 billion to spur private investment. The company said the project will use 100 percent American steel rail, will be built by union labor and will be fully compliant with Buy America rules.