WASHINGTON – Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issued this statement in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement of funding for the revised Low or No Emission Grant Program and the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Program:
“We applaud the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for these transformative grants to train workers and create new union jobs in green transit. These massive new investments in transit also include historic investments in American workers, thanks to DOT Secretary Buttigieg and FTA Administrator Fernandez’s vision for tying federal investments to good jobs.
“Last year, TTD called on Congress to ensure that the transition to new, zero emission transit vehicles is paired with strong labor protections and investments in workforce training to ensure the current and next generation of maintenance workers have the necessary skills to maintain transit vehicles of the future. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) met our call, thanks to the efforts of Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Brown, and the Biden Administration.
“Workers in public transit know firsthand the critical role they serve in providing clean, efficient transportation options for Americans in rural and urban communities alike. Greener and cleaner public transit is a shared priority. Yet unfocused and sometimes non-existent policies on workforce training have placed tremendous strain on the incumbent and incoming workforce, which will soon be asked to maintain complex electric infrastructure and vehicles. Congress’ and the Administration’s successful effort to align federal investments with policies that grow good union jobs is a model for how innovation can simultaneously drive serious environmental, equity, and union worker outcomes.
“Administrator Fernandez has long-demonstrated her commitment to public transit workforce training. As General Manager and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), Administrator Fernandez championed the Joint Workforce Investment (JWI) mentoring and training program – an apprenticeship model jointly implemented by management and labor that upskilled and reskilled the incumbent workforce and built a pipeline to new jobs for transit operators and maintenance workers. Transportation labor could not be more pleased that she brought this vision and leadership to her role at the FTA, as demonstrated by today’s grant announcement.
“We once again thank President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Buttigieg, Administrator Fernandez, and congressional leaders for fighting for working people by tying innovation to good union jobs.”