November 1, 2014

Senators propose Rail Safety Improvement Act, 2014

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Sept. 10 announced a comprehensive overhaul of rail safety laws and protocols to enforce and enhance safety and reliability following a series of high profile rail catastrophes in New York, Connecticut and nationwide that has undermined public trust in rail infrastructure, safety protocols, management [...]

Senators move to strengthen STB

A bipartisan pair of senators is planning to introduce legislation to beef up the panel of federal regulators that is supposed to oversee operations on the nation’s freight and passenger railways. The panel, the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board (STB), has been at the center of a recent dispute between Amtrak and a Canadian [...]

Panel recommends safety improvements at N.Y. MTA

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Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Blue Ribbon Panel studying safety and maintenance practices at its three railroads yesterday announced 29 recommendations to improve operations and safety. Created a year ago after a series of safety-related incidents at MTA Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and New York City Transit (NYCT), the panel identified Metro-North’s safety [...]

AFL-CIO’s Trumka: ‘We won’t be turned aside’

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AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka drew several standing ovations during an electrifying speech to delegates and guests on the fourth day of the SMART Convention Aug. 14. The former United Mineworkers’ president began his speech by addressing the merger of the former Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and the former United Transportation Union into SMART [...]

Land deals slowing California high-speed rail plan

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The California High-Speed Rail Authority needs to buy more than 550 pieces of property to build its first 29-mile stretch of rail line between Avenue 17 in Madera to American Avenue south of Fresno. And along the next 100 miles between Fresno and Bakersfield, as many as 1,150 more parcels of “affected” property have been [...]

Durbin sets hearing on Amtrak delays

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Weeks after calling for a study of the potential for increased service along Amtrak’s Chicago to Carbondale route, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is holding a hearing in Champaign Wednesday on freight train interference along the corridor. The meeting between Surface Transportation Board Chairman Dan Elliott, Amtrak board member Tom Carper and local [...]

LIRR contract approved by SMART, seven unions

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The members of Long Island Rail Road General Committee of Adjustment GO 505 have ratified a new agreement with LIRR management by a 97 percent margin, General Chairperson Anthony Simon reports. It is the largest margin of approval for a contract in the general committee’s history. Simon also said the approval rate for the eight-union [...]

Previsich responds to crew consist inquiry

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SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich has responded to an inquiry from Florida State Legislative Director Andres Trujillo requesting an interpretation related to the role of the SMART Transportation Division Legislative Department in connection with the collective bargaining jurisdiction of SMART’s general committees.  The inquiry relates to a proposed collective bargaining agreement between SMART Transportation Division GO-001 and BNSF [...]

SMART’s Nigro, Sellers re-elected by acclamation

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Delegates to the First SMART Convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas have returned General President Joseph J. Nigro and General Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Sellers Jr. to five-year terms in office by acclamation. Sheet Metal Division delegates also returned by acclamation all 11 current vice president to the General Executive Council. In keeping with provisions of [...]

Program guides women to transportation careers

In late June, 21 high school girls convened in Washington, D.C. to participate in WTS International and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) annual D.C. Youth Summit. Participants met with senior federal transportation officials and toured some of the capitol’s transportation facilities. The event is offered as part of Transportation YOU, a mentorship program created [...]