As the House continues consideration of H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) recommends the following votes on amendments to the THUD division of the package:
Vote NO on Amendment #85 offered by Representative McClintock, which would eliminate funding for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. EAS is critical to providing access to air travel for small and rural communities throughout the country. By eliminating this program, this amendment would badly reduce travel options for millions of Americans.
Vote NO on Amendment #83, offered by Representatives Budd, Ellison, Williams, and Mitchell, which would eliminate $900 million in funding for the Gateway Project on the Northeast Corridor by diverting $400 million to other New Starts Projects and returning the remaining TIGER Grant portion to the treasury. Gateway is one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country and would provide much-needed repairs and upgrades to the Northeast Corridor – including to bridges and tunnels that are over 100 years old. The Northeast corridor is home to 1 in 7 Americans, creates and supports 30 percent of the nation’s jobs and contributes 20 percent of our GDP. Furthermore, trains and commuter rail systems that service states along the East Coast and into the Midwest rely on this portion of the system. If this corridor experiences a severe transportation break down the effects would reverberate across the entire economy. The Gateway project is already overdue and underfunded. The task of upgrading a century old infrastructure cannot, and should not, be stalled.
Vote NO on Amendment #48 offered by Representative Brooks, which would eliminate federal funding for Amtrak’s national network. In 2015, Congress reaffirmed its commitment to Amtrak through the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Amtrak has made significant investments in its service and is an important driver of jobs and economic development. This amendment would effectively gut our national passenger rail network at a time when Amtrak has serviced a record number of passengers and demand continues to rise.
Vote NO on Amendment #45 offered by Representatives Rooney, Francis, and Perry, which prohibits the use of funds to be used to implement or enforce Executive Order 13502. The EO signed by President Obama, encourages federal agencies to consider requiring the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on large-scale direct Federal construction projects. PLAs offer a cost effective and efficient manner of managing construction labor while simultaneously promoting fair wages and strong protections for workers. The federal government should continue to endorse these arraignments.
Vote NO on Amendment #6 offered by Representatives King (IA), Perry, and Gaetz, which would repeal Davis-Bacon wage standards, a critical component of federal infrastructure projects for decades. Davis-Bacon ensures that workers are paid the prevailing wage in the area where the project is located, thereby also ensuring that projects are completed safely by qualified and trained personnel. Stripping these standards invites depressed wages and dangerous cost-cutting maneuvers, and any proposal to do so should be rejected.
Vote YES Amendment #62, offered by Representatives Napolitano, Norton, Nadler, and Lowenthal which would eliminate language prohibiting states from setting meal breaks, rest breaks, and wage standards for truck drivers. This amendment rightly identifies the language as an overreach. Currently, 21 states provide commercial drivers operating within their borders the opportunity to take a meal break. Today, federal law prohibits states from enacting laws that affect motor carrier rates, routes, and services. And in 2014, a court ruled that the California meal and rest break laws do not violate this federal law. Bus and truck drivers work up to 70 hours per week and deserve to take the rest opportunities provided by their respective state laws. This important amendment is not only beneficial for the individual, but the communities they operate in and service.
Vote YES on Amendment #28, offered by Representative Jackson Lee, which takes steps to ensure that DOT and FTA cannot ignore existing laws regarding transit grants, and prevents FTA from refusing to move forward with Capital Improvement Grant projects.
We hope that you will reject those amendments that would undermine critical transportation initiatives or labor provisions, and support those that would strengthen the safety and efficiency of our national transportation network.
Larry I. Willis
Vote Alert for Amendments to the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018 (450 KB)