As the House begins to consider H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRRA), the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) believes it is imperative that the bill remain a bipartisan compromise that focuses on our transportation priorities. The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) has worked hard and effectively to create a long-term surface transportation authorization that can pass the House of Representatives. TTD supported the underlying T&I bill. We therefore believe it is important that amendments should only seek to improve this bill, and those which upset the careful compromise should be rejected.
As you proceed to amendments, we urge you to support transportation workers and the continued viability of the STRRA by taking the following votes on amendments:
- Vote NO on amendment #4 offered by Representative Guinta, which would require the GAO to study the cost of federal programs, including labor regulations, related to the highway program. The intent of this amendment is to undermine and attack worker-related issues. If a Member is interested in pursuing a GAO study, nothing precludes them from doing it any time. However, it is inappropriate to pursue this request on sensitive labor matters within the context of the surface transportation bill.
- Vote NO on amendment #29 offered by Representatives Ribble, Schrader, Rouzer, and Peterson, which would increase federal weight limits for trucks from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds. By allowing heavier trucks on our roadways, our crumbling roads and structurally deficient bridges are ill-suited to withstand the additional weight. Furthermore, while this amendment would require that trucks weighing 91,000 pounds be equipped with six axles, evidence shows that these vehicles have significantly higher crash rates than those with five axles. This amendment is bad for safety, our infrastructure, and workers.
- Vote NO on amendment #78 offered by Representatives Hanna and Maloney, which seeks to encourage the Department of Transportation (DOT) to further utilize the private sector’s role in the delivery of engineering service work. Contracting out engineering work has existed for decades in a competitive manner at the discretion of states. Given there are no impediments to the private engineering industry’s ability to participate in federal transportation projects, we believe it is unnecessary for DOT to favor private engineering work and this Sense of Congress is only meant to serve longer-term agenda of upsetting the historic neutrality of transportation contracting decisions.
The STRR Act should be an opportunity for investing and improving our nation’s transportation infrastructure. To ensure final passage, we believe nothing should be done to harm workers or upset the careful bipartisan balance necessary to ensure passage of this bill. We therefore ask that you reject these amendments.
Vote Alert for Amendments to Surface Transportation Bill (137kb)