WASHINGTON – Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, the respective president and secretary-treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued the following statement in response to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio’s (D-OR) announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2022:
“As Chairman and former Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman DeFazio has championed landmark bipartisan legislation to improve the lives of working Americans, create good union jobs, and bring America’s infrastructure squarely into the 21st century.
“We commend Chairman DeFazio’s leadership in securing the biggest federal investment in infrastructure in the history of our nation, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). He also secured additional, generational investments in high-speed rail, public transportation, port infrastructure, and domestic shipbuilding in the Build Back Better Act.
“A tireless advocate of Amtrak, he ensured that passenger rail received historic funding in the IIJA and combatted ill-conceived privatization efforts in the FAST Act. He has also fought to improve safety in freight and passenger rail, and held rail carriers accountable for unsafe or anti-worker behavior.
“Chairman DeFazio ensured that transportation employees and their industries withstood the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by championing the worker-first aviation Payroll Support Program, desperately needed assistance for public transportation, and funding that kept employees on payroll and trains running at Amtrak.
“Last year, he also successfully resolved a decades-long battle to unlock billions of dollars languishing in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and invest in ports across the nation.
“He oversaw the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which improved aviation safety, promoted good union jobs in the aviation industry, and included key labor priorities.
“A long-time champion of Buy America policies, he has consistently held foreign manufacturers accountable while promoting U.S. manufacturing and protecting U.S. jobs.
“No matter what challenges they face, from rapid advancements in technology to the novel coronavirus, transportation workers will always need a strong partner in our federal government to ensure they have the resources needed to do their jobs safely and efficiently.
“During his 36-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives, we have been fortunate to consider Congressman DeFazio a strong federal partner and stalwart champion of working people across all modes of transportation. We commend his unwavering commitment to improving the lives and livelihoods of working people and advancing policies that will invest in U.S. aviation, maritime, rail, surface transportation, and transit.
“A dedicated public servant, Chairman DeFazio’s legacy as a pro-worker, pro-transportation, and pro-infrastructure lawmaker is unparalleled. We thank him for his decades of service and congratulate him on a well-earned and much-deserved retirement.”