Bringing the perspective of nearly 400,000 frontline workers who build, operate, and maintain our nation’s transit systems to the Senate Banking Committee’s hearing on transit reauthorization earlier this week, TTD President Larry Willis called on lawmakers to both increase investments in public transportation and support legislative solutions that would secure good, safe jobs in this sector.
“Increasing federal funding is a critical step this committee can and must take to improve service across this country,” Willis told lawmakers. “But I am also here today to report that the needs of frontline transit workers — our members — are significant, changing rapidly with technology, and this Committee should address these needs as it considers Surface Transportation reauthorization.”
Specifically, he called on lawmakers to:
- Help end the epidemic of assaults facing transit operators by passing the Transit Operate and Pedestrian Protection Act;
- Ensure that workforce and safety issues are fully addressed and that workers have a real voice at the table before autonomous technologies are adopted by public transit systems;
- Rethink the role that ride-hailing companies play in the public transit space as these companies rely on a business model that passes operating costs onto drivers and denies those same drivers fundamental rights to form and join unions;
- Fund a federal training center to meet the skills and training needs of blue-collar transit workers who make up 90% of today’s public transportation workforce;
- Support working families, maximize tax payer dollars, and grow our nation’s transportation manufacturing sector by strengthening Buy America and other domestic content and procurement policies;
- Reject any efforts to use the surface transportation bill to attack important worker protection laws or undercut collective bargaining rights essential to protecting good transportation jobs.
Watch Larry’s full testimony to the Senate Banking Committee here: