Washington, DC — Today, exactly one year after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement:
“We are facing the worst public health and economic crisis in living memory — and it has fallen squarely on the shoulders of working people. For over a year, frontline workers, including those who build, operate, and maintain our transportation system, have risked their own health and wellbeing to meet the needs of the American people. Their sacrifices have ensured essential workers and the supplies they need make it to the frontlines of the pandemic, grocery store shelves stay stocked, utilities stay on and available, and the COVID-19 vaccines reach every corner of this country.
“Now, under the leadership of President Biden and Democrats in Congress, relief is coming and hope is on the horizon. We applaud lawmakers and the president for passing and signing into law the American Rescue Plan — a package that meets the severity of the COVID-19 crisis and prioritizes the needs of working families. The American Rescue Plan ensures workers will be safe on the job. It gives our cities and states the long overdue support they need. And it offers a blueprint for building a stronger, more just economy out of the wreckage of this pandemic.
“This package also takes seriously the existential crises COVID-19 continues to place on our transportation network. By committing billions to keep these systems operational, the American Rescue Plan ensures our transportation and its workforce will be well-positioned to reopen our economy once the pandemic is behind us. We are especially pleased that this bill includes:
- $30.5 billion in emergency relief for transit agencies and their frontline workers;
- $15 billion to extend the worker-first airline payroll support program;
- $3 billion for aviation manufacturers;
- $1.7 billion for Amtrak, and a requirement that the carrier restore full long-distance service within 90 days of enactment to pre-pandemic levels and recall employees furloughed on or after October 1, 2020;
- $28 million for the Railroad Retirement Board, the governing body that oversees the distribution of benefits to our railroad workforce, to overhaul its vastly outdated IT system and hire staff to better assist the agency in the surge in unemployment and sickness applications and claims; and
- $9 million in emergency leave funding for FAA and $13 million in emergency leave funding for TSA employees.
“Our economy has been shattered, but the American spirit is not broken. Transportation labor is committed to working with the Biden administration and Congress to build back an America that is stronger, better, safer, and more equitable. The American Rescue Plan is only the first step.”