Washington, DC — Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement in support of the INVEST in America Act:
“Transportation labor has long called for robust investments in our infrastructure that will reverse decades of neglect and ensure our transportation network can meet the demands of a 21st-century economy. By committing substantial funding increases to highway, transit, and passenger and freight rail programs, the INVEST in America Act seeks to rebuild and repair our transportation system, all while creating and sustaining good jobs for working Americans.
“In addition to unprecedented funding levels, this legislation also contains a number of key priorities transportation labor has long fought for, including:
- Tools to help keep transit workers safe from assault, including the creation of joint labor/management safety committees; accurate assault data collection; and requirements for transit agencies to set performance targets for reducing assaults against transit workers;
- Assurances that private, for-profit ride-hailing and autonomous vehicle companies are not diverting taxpayer funds from real public transportation;
- The establishment of a national frontline workforce training center and appropriate funding levels to ensure its success;
- Significant freight rail safety improvements, including a federal requirement mandating two qualified crewmembers — a certified conductor and engineer — operate most freight trains in America; halting all cross-border freight rail operations until it can be proven that crews from Mexico meet U.S. safety standards; clarification that DOT does not have the authority to evade existing brake inspection requirements; the implementation of a national strategy to improve grade crossing safety; and important fatigue-mitigation protections for freight rail yardmasters;
- Requirements for intercity and commuter railroads to implement employee assault prevention and response plans;
- The preservation and creation of good jobs at Amtrak, including through onboard food and beverage service, and at call centers and stations across the country; and
- The restructuring of Amtrak’s board of directors, including the addition of a voting member who represents the interests of working people.
“We applaud Chairman DeFazio for his leadership in crafting legislation that prioritizes the needs of so many frontline transportation workers, and look forward to working with him and others to ensure the timely passage of highway, transit, and rail reauthorization.”