Ranking member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee honored by AAR, GoRail for demonstrated commitment to the U.S. rail network.

Eugene, Ore. — The Association of American Railroads (AAR), in partnership with grassroots advocacy organization GoRail, today honored Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) with the Railroad Achievement Award, an initiative launched in May 2017.

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GoRail State Director Nate Kaplan (left) presents Railroad Achievement Award to Rep. DeFazio at Willamette Valley Co. in Eugene, Oregon.

Recognized for his longstanding, bipartisan leadership on issues affecting both freight and passenger railroads, Congressman DeFazio accepted the award at the manufacturing facility of Willamette Valley Company (WVCO). The Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), which represents WVC, as well as eight other Oregon rail manufacturers, coordinated the event.

“Freight railroads serve almost every industrial, wholesale, retail and resource-based sector of the economy and provide firm footing for the vast majority of passenger and commuter rail in this nation,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “As the Ranking Member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and with an accomplished career in Congress, few leaders understand this fundamental truth more than Rep. DeFazio. His leadership was especially evident in passing the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015, the first long-term surface transportation bill in a decade, which included several key railroad provisions, such as Amtrak reauthorization.”

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. Award winners like today’s have particularly shown an understanding of the distinct role railroads play in the American economy and the need for safe and efficient operations made possible through sustained investment, the organizers said.

“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 Congressman DeFazio with the foresight to enact and protect those policies.”

“Congressman Peter DeFazio has long been a strong advocate of the rail industry, the State of Oregon and especially, Lane County.”

In prepared remarks introducing Rep. DeFazio, GoRail’s Nate Kaplan discussed the critical safety enhancements made possible through the FAST Act. Kaplan also pointed to the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in 2015 and applauded the broad representation of the rail sector at the event, including western rail carriers BNSF Railway and Union Pacific, short line Genesee & Wyoming, Oregon-based rail suppliers and the host, WVCO, a major local employer and international transportation supply and technology company.

“Congressman Peter DeFazio has long been a strong advocate of the rail industry, the State of Oregon and especially, Lane County,” added John Murray, of Vice President at WVCO. “Willamette Valley Company is honored to host this award presentation.”

“It was our pleasure to join our industry counterparts in honoring and thanking Congressman DeFazio for his continued leadership on vital transportation and infrastructure issues,” said David Tennent, Executive Director & CEO, REMSA. “Today would not have been possible without the leadership of Willamette Valley Company and I wanted to thank them for their efforts on behalf of the rail supply industry. We look forward to continuing to unite railroads and suppliers to advocate for sound, fact-based policies that will continue to create jobs and growth across the United States.”