Vote No on the Continuing Resolution
This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will devastate critically important transportation investments at the expense of more than 300,000 jobs and the future of our deteriorating transportation system. On behalf of the 32 member unions of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to oppose the CR and any attempts to make additional transportation cuts, roll back workers’ rights, or undermine employee protections.
The sheer breadth of the cuts included in the CR is unprecedented. If these harmful cuts are enacted, Congress will be responsible for slashing good middle-class jobs at a time of high unemployment. Moreover, our economy will be harmed, transportation safety will suffer and the nation’s infrastructure, already given a grade of D by the American Society of Civil Engineers, will continue its dangerous slide towards obsolescence.
The cuts in the CR to transit and highway funding will harm transportation services, jobs and safety in a sector that is already suffering from chronic underinvestment. More than $1 billion is proposed to be cut from transit, including $431 million to New and Small Starts programs, that will eliminate nearly 30,000 jobs, idle important infrastructure investments, exacerbate traffic congestion in communities around the country and put transit employees out of work. The $150 million cut to the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority is a serious setback to a system that suffers from aging infrastructure as well as numerous safety challenges that resulted in high profile accidents in recent years that claimed lives and injured passengers. The CR also eliminates the $650 million General Fund contribution to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This cut alone will cost over 22,000 jobs, many of which will be in the construction sector that already faces an unemployment rate well over 20 percent.
The cuts to the Federal Railroad Administration will cause the loss of jobs, undermine passenger services and jeopardize safety. Amtrak, high-speed rail and commuter service are collectively targeted for almost $9 billion in cuts and rescissions, which will kill thousands of jobs and eliminate passenger service that is vital to communities across the nation. The CR also slashes $50 million from Railroad Safety Technology Grants, a national program to help implement safety measures, including Positive Train Control (PTC) anti-collision technology. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, PTC has the power to prevent fatal freight and passenger rail accidents, such as the 2008 Los Angeles Metrolink crash which killed 25 people.
Cuts of $70 million to FAA equipment, facilities and research will exacerbate problems in our already overburdened aviation system. The United States operates the largest aviation network in the world, yet is forced to employ a 1950s era, radar-based air traffic control system. As a result, chronic flight delays are common throughout the country, and in some airports one out of four flights are delayed. For years, Congress put off investing in air traffic control modernization, implementing critical safety reforms and creating good jobs. These draconian cuts will only worsen these problems and dampen efforts to modernize our aviation system.
In addition to these severe cuts, some members of Congress plan to use the CR to undermine the rights and protections of working people. Any such provision or amendment offered to the CR should be opposed.
On behalf of transportation labor, I urge you to oppose the CR and instead work to restore the reckless transportation cuts contained in this legislation. A vote in favor of the CR is a vote to put hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work.