Wabtec CEO pitches lawmakers on research institute with CMU to explore carbon-free rail technology

Wabtec President and CEO Rafael Santana will pitch House lawmakers on Wednesday for federal support to decarbonize the U.S. rail transportation industry ahead of talks for upcoming infrastructure legislation this spring, saying the Pittsburgh-based manufacturer has a “clear path” to develop the next generation of zero-emission locomotives.

Mr. Santana, in written testimony and during an interview Tuesday, touted partnerships his company has made with Carnegie Mellon University and Genesee & Wyoming Inc., a Connecticut-based rail company that operates short lines that connect shippers to larger rail lines in Western Pennsylvania and across the country.

With federal investment, the partnerships could take off under the Freight Rail Innovation Institute, a new public-private partnership envisioned to demonstrate technological advances on freight rail lines, Mr. Santana said.

J. Michael McQuade, CMU’s vice president for research, said in a statement Tuesday said the institute would “catalyze job creation in Pennsylvania and revitalize an industry with deep Pittsburgh roots.”