WASHINGTON, D.C. – Illinois Congressmen Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Brad Schneider (D-IL), members of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the Freight Rail Assistance and Investment to Launch Coronavirus-era Activity and Recovery (Freight RAILCAR) Act, which will incentivize private investment in Illinois’ freight railcar manufacturing industry, support good-paying jobs, and protect America’s supply chain.

The Freight RAILCAR Act would provide a tax credit for railcar leasing and manufacturing companies for the cost of replacing two existing railcars with a new fuel-efficient railcar or for refurbishing an existing railcar. This tax credit expires on December 31, 2024. The bill offers an additional tax credit for capital expenditures that modernize equipment and technology to meet environmental standards. This tax credit would expire on December 31, 2022.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting infrastructure across the country, including the railway supply industry which is vital to the freight rail system in central and west-central Illinois,” said Rep. Darin LaHood. “This bill will spur job growth in the freight rail manufacturing sector, creating opportunities to invest and innovate in the critical infrastructure of freight rail, and strengthen our transportation system as we work to recover from COVID-19. I am proud to join my colleague from Illinois, Rep. Schneider, in the effort that will support thousands of manufacturing jobs in the United States.”

“The railway supply industry provides thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs to Illinoisans across the state,” said Rep. Brad Schneider. “Incentivizing the industry to make investments now will help protect these jobs, while creating additional environmental benefits to modernize for the future.”

“We are grateful for the leadership of Representatives LaHood and Schneider for introducing the Freight RAILCAR Act. The timing of this legislation could not be more important to our nation as we seek a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Erik Olson, Vice President, Rail Security Alliance.

For decades, Illinois has been a major hub of the nation’s rail network. Illinois is home to a significant rail affiliated industry with:

  • More than $5 billion in annual economic value generated by rail suppliers in Illinois
  • More than 9,400 employees working directly for rail supplies in Illinois
  • Approximately half of these jobs are in the manufacturing, construction, and industrial sector
  • This legislation would support industry companies like Progress Rail in Danvers, Illinois

The Freight RAILCAR Act will result in increased security, efficiency and capacity, benefitting our nation’s freight railroads, manufacturing base and supply chains:

  • Railroads, shippers and freight rail leasing companies will benefit from the increased efficiency and capacity of new freight railcars, addressing concerns about declining freight volume and environmental benefits
  • Freight railcars will be upgraded or replaced outright due to increased capacity requirements of at least 8 percent on modernized freight railcars
  • Older freight railcars will be taken out of storage and modernized to meet or exceed Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) standards
  • Other incentives that encourage scrapping of freight railcars that are not utilized or are beyond their useful life will result in a smaller, modern and overall more efficient freight railcar fleet