April 17, 2014

Stem testifies before House railroad subcommittee

SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director James Stem and others testified yesterday before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials regarding the importance of railroads in America’s transportation network and to its economy.

He was one of only four industry representatives invited to appear before the subcommittee and the only member of railroad labor to testify.

Stem addressed rail labor’s support of the railroad industry and its partnership with the carriers on equipment safety standards, hours of service improvements, Railroad Retirement Pension reforms and the opportunities to expand both freight and passenger rail.

“We understand that the most secure job is one at a profitable company that provides services that America needs,” Stem testified. “Our rail industry today is involved in a rail renaissance that will bring many decades of growth to both freight and passenger rail services. Our rail employees have earned the equity to participate in the policy decisions that will impact our industry.

“America has the most advanced freight rail system in the world. Union labor helped build it; we maintain it, and we operate the trains on it,” he said.

Stem’s testimony included support for the nation’s coal industry, transportation of crude oil and hazardous materials by rail, the needed support of Amtrak and other passenger rail systems and the implications of increased truck sizes on our highways and to our environment.

Also testifying at the hearing were Edward Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, Joseph Boardman, president and CEO of Amtrak, and Paula Hammond, secretary of transportation for the state of Washington and chairperson of the States for Passenger Rail Coalition.

To read Stem’s complete testimony, click here.

To read Hamberger’s complete testimony, click here.

To read Boardman’s complete testimony, click here.