November 22, 2014

APTA: 2/3 want increased public transit funding

WASHINGTON – As Congress gets into full swing after the August recess, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a survey Sept. 15 that shows the numbers of Americans that support increasing federal public transportation investment grew to nearly 68 percent. This represents a nearly two point increase over last year. The survey, which was [...]

House bill would cut Amtrak funding

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The House is proposing a 40 percent funding cut for new Amtrak construction in a new passenger rail bill that was unveiled on Thursday by the chamber’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Amtrak has received about $1 billion per year from the federal government since its inception in 1971. Read the complete story at The Hill.

SMART TD supports Senate rail crew provision

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U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced railroad safety legislation Sept. 10 that continues dialogue on the nation’s rail safety laws. S. 2784, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2014, contains language that requires freight trains be crewed with at least one federally [...]

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 [...]