State Representative Jon Koznick and Staff of US Congressman John Kline Tour RailWorks in Lakeville
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
by: Lindsey Collins
Section: 2016 NRC Grassroots Events
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Lakeville, MN – On May 6, Minnesota State Representative Jon Koznick and Lynda Boudreau, staff for U.S. Congressman John Kline, joined GoRail and National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association (NRC) shared member company – RailWorks – for a tour of their facility in Lakeville, MN.
RailWorks builds and maintains rail infrastructure for railroads, transit lines, and rail-served industries throughout the United States and Canada. Its Lakeville region has about 45 employees with an annual payroll in excess of $4 million. The region supports operations that perform work throughout 13 Central states.
RailWorks’ Lakeville facility is comprised of an office, shop and outer building positioned on just over two acres on the southern edge of downtown Lakeville. RailWorks recently completed constructing track for Flint Hill Resources and Cargill in the region as well as Metro’s Green Line and the Interchange in the Twin Cities.
The group discussed the tax increase of nearly $100 million annually being proposed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. Imposing massive tax increases on railroads would limit their ability to invest back into their track, signals, rolling stock and new technology. In 2015 alone, railroads invested $500 million in private capital improvements in Minnesota. Freight railroads have invested $600 billion in their network since 1980 resulting in a train accident rate that is the lowest ever, down 79 percent from 1980 and a grade crossing collision rate that was also down 80 percent from 1980.
Representatives from GoRail and NRC also advocated for support of the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act, which would make the Short Line Tax credit permanent. The credit, known as “45G,” from its section in the tax code, was extended through the end of 2016. Since 2005, a series of one- and two-year extensions of Section 45G enabled smaller freight railroads and their customers to reinvest billions of dollars to improve their lines. The upcoming expiration at the end of this year presents an opportunity for a more logical approach to ensuring all of the public benefits of this credit continue in the future.
Rep. Koznick was elected to serve Lakeville as a state representative in 2014. He serves on the Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division Taxes, and Transportation Policy and Finance committees.
Congressman Kline has represented Minnesota’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives since first being elected to Congress in 2002. In 2010, John was chosen by his peers to serve as the Chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee – the first member of Congress from Minnesota selected for this position. A 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps, he also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.