Staff of US Congressman Flores and Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver Join NRC/REMSA Member Axion Structural Innovations for Tour, Rail Discussion
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
by: Lindsey Collins
Section: 2017 NRC Grassroots Events
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The NRC's grassroots program was created to invite United States Congressmen to visit NRC member facilities and construction project sites. These visits give the Members of Congress firsthand knowledge of the rail industry and demonstrate how rail contractors and suppliers are positively affecting the rail industry and the local and national economy. If your company is interested in hosting your Congressman for a visit, please contact Lindsey Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the process.
On March 13, 2017, staff of U.S. Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX-17) and Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver joined representatives from Axion Structural Innovations LLC to tour their Waco manufacturing facility and discuss pressing rail and manufacturing issues with various rail stakeholders and local officials. The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) and the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA) jointly coordinated the event.
Axion is a privately-owned technology and engineering company which produces large format structural products from common post-consumer and post-industrial recycled plastics for the railroad and construction industries. Axion has an array of domestic and international customers, a sampling of which includes Texas-based Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Port of Houston and TG Mercer, as well as Union Pacific and CSX Rail along with New York City and New Jersey transits. Axion exports significant levels of products to Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia servicing Arconic, KiwiRail and Queensland Rail among others.
The tour was led by Axion President Claude Brown. Axion’s Waco, Texas plant continues to ramp up production and expects to nearly double its growth rate in 2017. Axion’s distinctive and proprietary technology is utilized in the construction of military, vehicle and railroad bridges along with heavy crane mats, temporary roadways and extensive railroad applications with over 400,000 composite railroad ties in service worldwide.
“We are honored to be joined by staff of Congressman Flores, Mayor Deaver, and members of our community to showcase Axion’s technology and products made in America by American workers” said Brown.
Congressman Flores focused his remarks on encouraging economic development in greater McLennan and Falls Counties, and ensuring a strong, efficient, and safe freight and transit rail system to connect Texas’ diverse energy and agricultural producers to the global market.
“It was a pleasure to learn more about Axion and the exciting products they develop and manufacture in Waco. I applaud their continued investment in Central Texas and our Waco community,” said Congressman Flores. “In Congress, I work every day on advancing a pro-growth agenda that helps our manufacturers, improves economic growth and increases career opportunities for hardworking American families.”
The rail stakeholder group discussed regulatory 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 and artificially creating government-mandated price caps. These efforts would lead to reduced capital investment in freight rail which is critical to supporting high-paying rail construction and supply jobs throughout the United States.
In attendance were: Jana Hixson, Regional Director, Congressman Flores; Jessica McKinney, Field Representative, Congressman Flores; Jessica Attas, Director of Public Policy, Greater Waco Chambers of Commerce, Lindsey Collins, VP of Grassroots Advocacy, Allen Kronstadt, Executive Chairman, Axion, and Sean Winkler, Director of Advocacy, REMSA.
In Texas, 49 freight railroads operate and maintain over 10,400 miles of track and support over 16,000 jobs.