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Priorities in Spending Bill Reflect Needs of Transportation Network, Frontline Workers

Washington, DC – Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement in support of the Domestic Priorities and International Assistance Appropriations Minibus, H.R. 1865:

“The passage of the FY 2020 appropriations agreement in the House of Representatives yesterday represents a major step forward for America’s transportation workforce and for every American who depends on our transportation network each day. The bill, which will provide nearly $87.2 billion in funding for USDOT-supported programs, pushes back on cuts proposed by the Trump Administration, and continues to fund many programs at above-authorized levels.

“The bill also contains a number of hard fought priorities for transportation labor, including:

  • Language that will stop the Trump administration from weaponizing federal loan programs or placing arbitrary holds on grants for the Gateway bridge and tunnel project between New Jersey and New York;
  • Language to ensure the training needs of our public transportation workforce are finally addressed through the creation of a new frontline workforce training program;
  • Suspending the so-called “Rostenkowski Test,” which will prevent over $1 billion in cuts to transit formula and bus grant funding;
  • An extension of the 45(g) tax credit, which helps fund vital infrastructure rehabilitation on America’s shortline railways;
  • Stable funding for the Maritime Security Program, a critical component of our military sealift capability and the essential guarantee that trained U.S. citizen mariners will be available in times of crisis or disaster;
  • Significant increases in funding for aviation safety and our air traffic control systems, and above-authorized funding for the Airport Improvement Program;
  • Language that restricts port infrastructure funding from being spent on misguided automation projects at the expense of longshore jobs;
  • A recognition of the importance of Amtrak’s national network, including the carrier’s long-distance Southwest Chief route, which faced threats last year; the safeguarding and reinstatement of station agent jobs at rural locations and a directive to improve communication with impacted communities; and a reinforcement of the applicability to Amtrak of federal notification requirements on layoffs and closings.

“We thank appropriators and their staff for their leadership in standing up for America’s transportation workforce. TTD, our 33 affiliates, and the millions of proud union members who build, operate, and maintain our national transportation system urge the president to sign this important spending package after its passage in the Senate later this week.”

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