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TTD Asks Senate to Support T-HUD Appropriations Bill (S.1243)

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Support Senate T-HUD Appropriations Bill, S. 1243

 Dear Senator:

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I write to express support for the Senate FY 14 Transportation-HUD appropriations measure, S. 1243, and urge you to vote in favor of the bill.  Below we also provide our views on a number of amendments.

At a time when our economy continues to recover slowly, we must make prudent investments in transportation that will support the middle class and encourage economic growth.  S. 1243 answers this call by supporting U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) programs that have a proven record of creating and sustaining jobs and fueling the economy.  By comparison, the House Transportation-HUD appropriations bill would fund the DOT at billions of dollars less than S. 1243, demonstrating the mistaken belief held by many in the House that we can cut our way to prosperity.  We reject their misguided approach and urge Senators to support S. 1243.

We also ask that you take into consideration our recommendations on the following amendments:

Brown #1759                         Support
To make a technical correction to allow public transportation agencies to use capital funding to cover operating costs under limited circumstances.  This amendment will maintain transit service, preserve jobs and slow fare hikes during an era of budget cutbacks at public transportation agencies around the country.

Coburn #1751                        Oppose
To eliminate official time for volunteer federal employee union representatives in agencies covered by the Transportation-HUD appropriations bill.  This amendment is simply an attack on collective bargaining and unions.  For 50 years, government officials from both parties have supported the reasonable use of official time by federal unions.

Coons #1788                          Support
To increase Amtrak funding from $1.45 billion to $1.56 billion.  The additional funding will enable Amtrak to continue to improve its capital infrastructure at a time of unprecedented growth and ridership at the passenger railroad.

Flake #1764                            Oppose
Flake #1796                            Oppose
These amendments, which are identical, limit the use of federal funds to pay for food and beverage service on Amtrak trains.  Amtrak estimates this misguided attack could trigger a $184 million decrease in revenue caused by a significant drop in ticket revenues and ridership.

Murphy #1783                       Support
To require the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to not only post a notice of a request to waive Buy America requirements but also to assess the domestic job impact of such a waiver.  This amendment would strengthen Buy America programs that create and sustain middle class American jobs.

Paul #1740                             Oppose
To repeal Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements.  This amendment would cause a reduction in wages and living standards for workers in the construction industry.

Investment in our transportation system is critical to our economic recovery, as every $1 billion of federal investment in transportation puts more than 30,000 Americans to work.  S. 1243 provides significant investments in these programs and we encourage you to vote in favor of this legislation and oppose hostile amendments designed to hollow out important programs and workers’ rights.

Edward Wytkind

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