L to R: Celia Urguhart (Graham), Delores Dacosta (Scott), Doug Lowe (Koppers)Florence, SC – Representatives from the offices of Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC) joined GoRail and the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) to tour Koppers’ rail tie manufacturing facility, learn about the burgeoning rail and manufacturing communities in the Pee Dee region, and discuss public policy priorities for the industries on April 5.

Led by S. Doug Lowe, plant manager, the group toured the 210-acre site where Koppers employs over 80 people and produces crossties, switch ties, bridge material, and preplated crossties as well as utility poles and piling.

“Koppers has been committed to the Pee Dee area since 1946 and we are thrilled to be able to represent a piece of the expanding rail and manufacturing industries here in South Carolina,” said Lowe. “With our focus on safety and quality in the rail industry, we welcomed the opportunity to host GoRail, REMSA, and Senators Graham and Scott come to discuss public policies that affect us all.”

The group discussed the private nature of America’s freight railroad network, which unlike other modes of freight transportation, does not rely on federal support for the expansion or maintenance of its network.

Additionally, the group advocated for support of the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy Act (BRACE). The BRACE Act will allow the nation’s small, local freight railroads to increase their reinvestments to upgrade and expand the “first and last mile” of transportation infrastructure, benefitting South Carolina shippers that depend on affordable freight access.

“Railroads are spending massive amounts of private dollars—$600 billion since 1980—on the nationwide rail network that helps connect South Carolina businesses to the country and beyond,” said Christy Sammon, state director for GoRail. “These continued investments then not only propel the economy, they are also critical to supporting the rail, maintenance-of-way, and manufacturing industries, like we see here at Koppers.”

In South Carolina, 15 freight railroads operate and maintain over 2,300 miles of track and employ over 1,700 individuals.

Koppers is an integrated global producer of carbon compounds, chemicals, and treated wood products for the aluminum, railroad, specialty chemical, utility, rubber, steel, residential lumber, and agriculture industries. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Koppers serves its customers through a comprehensive global manufacturing and distribution network, with facilities located in North America, South America, Australasia, China, and Europe. Koppers has maintained a presence in Florence, SC since 1946.