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RAILROADS CONCERNED OVER FUEL EXCISE TAX

 BOSTON, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In a speech before the New England Railroad Club today, Edwin L. Harper, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, expressed his concern over fuel tax monies paid by railroads being redirected into the Highway Trust Fund.
 As part of the Clinton administration's proposed tax package, the 2.5-cent excise tax on motor and diesel fuel currently being used for deficit reduction would be made permanent. Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena has suggested that it be redirected into the Highway Trust Fund after fiscal year 1995. This amounts to an $80 million annual cost to the railroads.
 Harper pointed out that railroads as well as highway users currently pay the tax. He charged it would be a "gross inequity" to divert the money paid by railroads -- "which build, maintain and pay taxes on their rights-of-way" -- to the Highway Trust Fund.
 In addition, Harper pointed out that it would be unfair to place a deficit reduction tax on railroads but not on the trucking industry. Rather, he suggested, the tax on railroad fuel should be allowed to expire at the same time the tax on highway users is redirected to the Highway Trust Fund.
 "The railroad industry is willing to pay its fair share, as always, but it must not be called upon to make disproportionate sacrifices," stated Harper. "There are other proposals in the administration's tax package in addition to this excise tax which could hurt the railroads, along with some that will help the industry. However, the fact remains that even if the helpful proposals become law, railroads would take a substantial hit -- to the tune of a half billion dollars -- from the tax increase portion of the deficit reduction program."
 The Association of American Railroads members haul 91 percent of the nation's rail freight carloads and 100 percent of this country's intercity rail passengers. It is headquartered in Washington.
 -0- 3/16/92
 /CONTACT: Paula Newbaker of the Association of American Railroads, 202-639-2562/


CO: Association of American Railroads ST: Massachusetts IN: TRN OIL SU: LEG ECO

IH-DC -- DC021 -- 6651 03/16/93 15:06 EST
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Date:Mar 16, 1993
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