Green Railcar Enhancement Act Could Stimulate Freight Car Industry

The American Railcar Institute Committee (ARCI) of the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) has commended Congress for introducing The Green Railcar Enhancement Act of 2010, which is currently co-sponsored by and supported by over 50 Members of Congress.

"This legislation will help revitalize the U.S. freight car manufacturing industry, generate between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs nationwide, and stimulate the adoption of "green" technology enhancements in only two years," says James Unger, vice chairman of American Railcar Industries and spokesman for the ARCI.

The Green Railcar Enhancement Act of 2010 provides a 25% tax credit for replacing or rebuilding old, inefficient railcars. The tax credit will be limited to cars built in 2010 and 2011 and would require a minimum of 8% increase in capacity or fuel efficiency. In effect, the legislation will shift market demand from 2012-14 to this year and next, which will help the freight car component supply industry survive the recession.

The domestic freight car building and component supply industry has virtually collapsed, according to ARCI, as approximately 54,000 jobs have been lost in the past 18 months. In addition, the railcar fleet is aging rapidly and eventually will have to be replaced or rebuilt, ARCI claims. The effort to enact the Green Railcar Enhancement Act of 2010 is being spearheaded by the Railway Supply Institute's American Railcar Institute Committee and several freight car component suppliers.

Without help from Congress, "many American suppliers may not survive the current economic crisis," Unger asserts. "But with the modest federal incentive provided for in this Act, some of the fleet could be replaced or rebuilt during 2010 and 2011 while putting thousands of Americans back to work while the economy recovers. For the sake of the railway supply industry in particular, and to prevent the further erosion of our domestic manufacturing base, ARCI urges swift consideration and passage of the Green Railcar Enhancement Act of 2010."

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