Joe Biden’s 36-year career in public service to our nation has made one thing perfectly clear: he will fight for us. Not just for his friends and donors, not just for the wealthy, and not just for his base. We know Joe Biden, and we know that quality about him is exactly what working people are looking for and expect from our next president.
Few periods in American history have demanded leadership from our elected officials like the one we face today. A global health and economic crisis, constant attacks on the rights of workers, staggering racial and gender inequality, and an economy that overwhelmingly favors the rich leave us at a true tipping point.
For the millions of frontline transportation workers in this country, it is a tipping point that may mean the difference between putting food on the table and keeping the lights on. For many, it means the difference between life and death. Tragically, for too many, it already has.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the only team that will deliver for working people. They have put forward a clear plan to rebuild our infrastructure, they understand the role that unions play in creating good jobs across our entire economy, and they have taken policy positions that will improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation system. They have the experience, the track record, and the demonstrated leadership to make their plan a reality for working people.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s Record on Infrastructure
Build Back Better Plan
The Build Back Better Plan is Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s bold vision for using massive investments in our transportation infrastructure to transform our communities and put Americans back to work. Their proposal calls for a total investment of $2 trillion over four years and the creation of millions of jobs by building and upgrading a cleaner, safer, stronger infrastructure — including roads, water systems, municipal transit networks, airports, rail, ferries, and ports.
Most importantly, they know that rebuilding our middle class can only be done if American workers build our infrastructure and manufacture all the materials that go into it. Unlike President Trump, they also understand at their core the absolutely essential role that unions play in creating good jobs in infrastructure. That is why their plan ensures that every dollar that goes into these projects comes with a guarantee that workers have the right to join a union and collectively bargain, and that materials will be sourced in the U.S.
Key details from the plan include:
- Ensuring that all investments meet Davis-Bacon wage guidelines, banning anti-worker provisions like forced arbitration and the overuse of temporary staffing agencies, employing workers trained in registered apprenticeship programs, and prioritizing Project Labor and Community Workforce Agreements in federal procurement procedures.
- Investing billions to transform our crumbling transportation infrastructure — including roads and bridges, rail, air and seaports, and inland waterways.
- Ensuring America has the cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world — for both passengers and freight.
- Supporting American workers and other transit-dependent individuals by providing all Americans in both small and large cities with quality public transportation by 2030.
- Driving domestic manufacturing by using the power of federal procurement to increase demand for American-made, American-sourced manufactured goods, including 21st century clean vehicles and rolling stock.
- Creating 1 million new jobs in the American auto industry, domestic auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure, from parts to materials to electric vehicle charging stations, positioning American auto workers and manufacturers to win the 21st century.
Joe Biden Supports Positions that Will Improve our Transportation System
COVID-19: Thousands of transportation workers have fallen victim to the novel coronavirus, and thousands more remain at risk while the current administration sits on the sidelines. Unlike President Trump, who has refused even the most basic protections for frontline workers, Joe Biden has a four-point plan to protect our essential frontline workers on day one. His plan includes:
- Ensuring all frontline workers qualify for priority access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing based upon their risk of exposure to the virus, as well as childcare assistance and other forms of emergency COVID-19 support.
- Expanding access to effective personal protective equipment, including through use of the Defense Production Act.
- Establishing and enforcing health and safety standards for workplaces, following in the footsteps of the Obama administration, including the immediate release and enforcement of an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) to give employers and frontline employees specific, enforceable guidance on what to do to reduce the spread of COVID.
- Enacting premium pay for frontline workers putting themselves at risk. [Joe Biden Four-Point Plan for our Essential Workers]
Protecting Public Transportation Workers: Joe Biden stood up for America’s 400,000 frontline transit workers by endorsing H.R.1139, the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act. This legislation would put a stop, once and for all, to the violent assaults made against public transportation employees every single day [Twitter, 01/2020]. The Trump administration has shown no interest in protecting the lives of transit workers, and previously sidestepped their responsibility to implement safety measures mandated by Congress [TTD Press Release, 05/2019].
Promoting Rail Safety: While President Trump has rolled back safety requirements that require a minimum two-person crew on freight rail lines, Joe Biden has shown clear support for protecting the safety of our rail workers and the communities they travel through by pledging his support for a two-person crew mandate on freight rail lines [AP News, 05/2019; SMART-TD Endorsement, 07/2020].
Growing Passenger Rail: Joe Biden is a lifelong advocate for America’s passenger rail network. As Vice President, he fought for major investments in the Amtrak National Network — a priority he carried through in his Build Back Better Plan. And as a Senator, he knew first-hand the value passenger rail brings to our nation, commuting daily from his home in Delaware to Washington, D.C. over the course of his career [DNC features Joe Biden and Amtrak workers, 08/2020]. President Trump, on the other hand, has repeatedly proposed massive cuts to the Amtrak long distance program, the Northeast corridor, and to all discretionary rail safety programs established in the FAST Act [Washington Post, 02/2020]
Protecting Aircraft Cabin Air Quality: Joe Biden has strongly endorsed the Cabin Air Safety Act (H.R. 2208/S. 1112), which would improve air quality on board passenger aircraft, requiring the FAA to develop training requirements for pilots, flight attendants, first responders and aircraft maintenance technicians on how to respond to incidents involving smoke or fumes on board aircraft. It would also provide further research on methods for combating hazardous fumes during flight. This would build on the Obama-Biden legacy of giving OSHA the ability to regulate workplace safety in aircraft cabins.
Fighting Back Against Worker Misclassification: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have both endorsed the PRO Act and California’s AB 5, which establish strict tests to prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. If passed, the PRO Act would ensure workers, including those in the emerging gig economy like Uber and Lyft drivers, are no longer taken advantage of by a handful of rich tech industry investors. [Joe Biden Twitter, 05/2020; Kamala Harris Twitter, 07/2020]
Committing to the FAA and Modern Aviation: Vice President Biden is committed to fully funding the FAA and to fully implementing the NextGen technology modernization. This will help ensure that the U.S. airspace remains the safest in the world, and that U.S. air travel becomes more efficient and reliable. (Joe Biden Infrastructure Plan)
Holding Foreign Repair Stations Accountable: An increasing amount of aviation maintenance and repair work has been sent overseas, where repair stations are subject to a separate and unequal regulatory framework. Vice President Biden has committed to ensuring that foreign repair stations that work on U.S. aircraft are subject to the same rigorous standards that we expect here at home. This starts with enacting a drug and alcohol testing rule and stricter security standards at U.S.-licensed foreign repair stations. (Joe Biden Infrastructure Plan)
Growing America’s Maritime Sector: Vice President Biden has long fought for expanding the US-flag commercial fleet, standing in support of the Jones Act, voting for the Maritime Security Act of 1996 that established the 60-vessel Maritime Security Program, and working to ensure the long-term viability of the US-flag commercial fleet through our nation’s cargo preference laws. [MM&P & MEBA Endorsement, 06/2020]
Protecting Federal Employee Rights: On day one of his administration, Vice President Biden will rescind the Trump executive orders that gutted the ability of federal unions to fairly represent their members. This is just the first step in the Biden plan to give public sector workers the rights, support, and respect that they deserve. He has also committed to collaborating with federal employee unions to repair the damage wrought by the Trump administration on workplace conditions and employee morale. (Washington Post, August 26, 2020)
Fighting to Protect Truck Drivers: Kamala Harris opposed any efforts to preempt state safety laws ensuring meal and rest breaks for truck drivers in two letters to Mitch McConnell that she led along with her Senate colleagues [Kamala Harris Press Release, 12/2017; Kamala Harris Press Release, 06/2018]. When California took commendable steps to ensure that drivers were given meal and rest breaks to promote their health and safety, along with the safety of everyone they share the road with, the Trump administration abused its federal authority to preempt these requirements and deny workers even the most basic dignities at work [TTD Federal Comments, 06/2019]
Joe Biden has the Experience and Track Record to Make our Transportation System a Driver of Growth
Joe Biden has a track record of delivering on his promises for the American people. Through his successful, transparent, and accountable administration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Joe Biden proved to the American people that we can count on him. Just one year after its passage, Joe Biden announced that 10,000 transportation projects were under way in all 50 states and the District of Columbia because of the ARRA. Among those projects were the improvement of more than 33,000 miles of pavement; aiding in the purchase of about 12,000 buses, vans and rail vehicles; helping to construct or renovate more than 850 transit facilities; and providing more than $620 million in preventive maintenance [CCJ Digital, 03/2010].
Beyond championing those critical investments, Biden is widely credited with getting federal funds out the door quickly, and with the highest degrees of accountability to ensure that they supported struggling Americans and were not subject to the waste, fraud, abuse, inefficiency, and ineffectiveness that they may have fallen victim to otherwise [Brookings, 04/2020]. It is a credit to Biden’s experience in government, but it is also a credit to his core belief in serving the American public and doing it with the integrity we expect of our leaders.