Montgomery, AL — U.S. Congressman Mike D. Rogers (R-AL-3) joined Knox Kershaw, Inc., to tour their long-held Montgomery facility and discuss pressing rail and manufacturing issues with representatives from local railroads and businesses on October 27. The Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) coordinated the event and GoRail also participated.
Led by J. Knox Kershaw, II, chairman and CEO of Knox Kershaw, the tour highlighted Knox Kershaw’s ballast regulator machines, used in the maintenance of way industry to shape and distribute gravel track ballast, as well as the company’s state-of-the-art facility, which also produces tie cranes, track brooms, material handlers and other railway maintenance equipment.
“We are honored to host Congressman Rogers and demonstrate our commitment to providing high quality products manufactured here in Alabama,” said Kershaw. “Our business has been an integral part of our local community for over three generations and we were humbled to recently be recognized by Governor Bentley for a Trade Excellence Award. It is crucial that our policymakers in Washington support sound rail and trade policies to promote high-skilled and high-paying jobs here in Montgomery.”
Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Knox Kershaw began as a family owned railroad contracting company in 1924. Over generations, the company has grown into a leading manufacturer of maintenance-of-way equipment with a diverse product line of machines and spare parts for domestic and international markets. The company is not only a leader in the railroad maintenance equipment industry, but also a pillar of the local community, supporting causes that improve the city of Montgomery and providing jobs to over 100 citizens of Alabama.
Congressman Rogers focused his remarks on encouraging economic development in Alabama, ensuring awareness and safety at rail-highway grade crossings, and the need for a strong, efficient, and safe freight rail system to connect Alabama’s agricultural and energy producers to the global market.
“We must do all we can in Washington to ensure our small and medium sized businesses succeed,” said Congressman Rogers. “I look forward to working with strong Alabama companies like Knox Kershaw to continue to create manufacturing jobs here in Montgomery and promote American products abroad.”
The rail stakeholder group discussed the bipartisan and bicameral Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act, which would make the Short Line Tax Credit permanent. This effort will allow the nation’s small, local freight railroads to increase their reinvestments to upgrade and expand the “first and last mile” of their transportation infrastructure. The bill has garnered over 220 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including Congressman Rogers.
The group also discussed recent regulation initiatives issued by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) on reciprocal switching and commodity regulation. These efforts risk creating major inefficiencies in the national freight network as well as government-mandated price caps, which would lead to reduced capital investment in the freight rail network that is critical to supporting high-paying rail supply jobs throughout the United States.
In Alabama, 26 freight railroads operate over 3,100 miles of track and support over 3,700 jobs.