November 28, 2014

Low on coal, utilities ask regulators to prod rails

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WASHINGTON – Ongoing rail service problems have left power plants from Minnesota to Texas low on coal as an early blast of winter weather hit the nation’s midsection this week. Some fear the stage has been set for a repeat of last winter, when heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures crippled rail operations in the Upper [...]

Ill. SLD Guy’s letter supporting Amtrak published

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SMART Transportation Division’s Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy responded to a “letter to the editor” published in the Nov. 5 issue of the The News-Gazette and Guy’s letter was published by the newspaper Nov. 13. The original letter by Corrine Ann Williams of the Heritage Foundation was a call to stop increased funding for [...]

Union leaders vow push for infrastructure solutions

Transportation union leaders vowed to “redouble their efforts” to push for bipartisan solutions to the growing transportation infrastructure investment crisis that is undermining the economy and idling millions of jobs, said AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind following the 2014 Fall TTD Executive Committee meeting Nov. 13. “We had an important conversation today about [...]

Obama to renominate Elliott for STB

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President Barack Obama announced his intent Nov. 12 to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: Daniel Elliott III – member, Surface Transportation Board, and upon appointment to be designated chairman; Lauren McFerran – member, National Labor Relations Board. “I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important [...]

Changes made to SMART Discipline Income plan

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SMART Discipline Income Protection Program has not increased its monthly assessment rates in six years. During that period, the amount that the DIPP plan disbursed in benefits has greatly exceeded the amount that it collected in premiums. Since DIPP cannot continue to operate effectively at a deficit, the program’s trustees have increased the monthly assessment by [...]

Wash. SLD Krohn appears on PBS coal show

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SMART Transportation Division Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn Nov. 7 appeared on Northwest Now, a Public Broadcasting System program that airs in Washington on Television Station KBTC. Northwest Now is an Emmy®-award winning weekly public affairs show that goes beyond the headlines to provide perspective on the issues that have western Washington talking. In this episode, [...]

Parents want GPS monitoring of school buses

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The results of a new survey by Fleetmatics Group PLC show that parents would like more visibility into their children’s safety aboard the school bus, as well as more accountability for operators. Nearly nine in 10 parents responded they want to see closer GPS monitoring of buses and their drivers. Fleetmatics Group, a global provider [...]

CSX Corp. plans to cut 300 management workers

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida-based railroad operator CSX Corp. plans to cut 300 management workers, mostly through buyouts by the end of the year. Most of the workers targeted are based at the company’s Jacksonville headquarters. Spokeswoman Melanie Cost tells The Florida Times-Union that layoffs are possible if fewer than 300 workers take the buyouts. Read [...]

Thank you, military veterans!

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations [...]

PSU alumnus creates scholarship for rail program

A Penn State alumnus has created a scholarship that will support students enrolled in the college’s rail transportation engineering (RTE) program, a groundbreaking academic initiative designed to prepare students for placement and career advancement within the rail industry. Gerhard Thelen’s scholarship fund for Penn State Altoona will be given to a student who is a [...]