Accomplished Infrastructure Leader Receives Final Installment Of New Award Initiative in 2017.
Washington, D.C., — The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and GoRail today honored House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) with the Railroad Achievement Award. Chairman Shuster joins Representative Peter DeFazio and Senators John Thune and Bill Nelson as 2017 recipients of the award, which was created to recognize members of Congress for their leadership on policies affecting the freight rail network. The AAR and GoRail note that award winners have shown particular leadership in recognizing the capital intensive nature of railroads and the critical role they play in the U.S. economy.
“It is fitting to bookend the year by giving this new award to Chairman Shuster, a proven leader on transportation and infrastructure matters,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “In his time as leader of the T&I Committee, Chairman Shuster has helped steer several important pieces of legislation, including the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015, which included key rail provisions like Amtrak reauthorization. We are proud of our working relationship with Chairman Shuster knowing he understands the need for both freight and passenger rail in Pennsylvania and beyond, as well as the great lengths railroads go to invest in their private networks, and we look forward to continued discourse with the Chairman.”
The AAR presented the award today on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., thanking Chairman Shuster for understanding the critical importance of safe and efficient rail operations across the 140,000-mile network. Hamberger specifically praised Chairman Shuster for his role in reauthorizing the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) in 2015, an essential step in ensuring balanced economic regulation for the freight rail sector. He also discussed the valuable work the T&I Committee has undertaken this year in crafting the broad framework for infrastructure legislation, for examining the regulatory barriers infrastructure stakeholders face and for recognizing the increasingly technological nature of the rail sector.
“Communities and companies all across America benefit from an innovative freight rail industry that invests more than 40 cents of every revenue dollar back into the nation’s rail network,” said GoRail President Russell McGurk. “Making this possible are sound public policies and elected leaders like Chairman Shuster with the foresight to enact and protect those policies.”
The Railroad Achievement Award is given periodically to members of Congress who have shown leadership on policies that help ensure the vitality of railroads in the United States. Past winners include Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Commerce Committee, Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee, and Chairman Shuster’s counterpart on the T&I Committee, Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). The AAR and GoRail plan to give the award to several new lawmakers in 2018.