May 31, 2016

SMART TD contests radio distractions to FRA

In a letter dated May 26, 2016, to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch brought attention to the fact that some railroads are requiring needless radio broadcasts to the already-congested radio airways, which caused a derailment and loss of life in the case of the May 2015 Amtrak crash. […]

NTSB releases probable cause of Amtrak 188 crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a board meeting (webcasted live) yesterday, detailing the probable cause of the May 2015 Amtrak train 188 derailment outside of Philadelphia. The derailment caused eight people to lose their lives and over 200 injuries. The NTSB found that “the probable cause of the accident was the engineer’s acceleration […]

Risch, Harrison testify at Sleep Apnea hearing

National Legislative Director John Risch and Local 759 (Newark, N.J.) Secretary and Treasurer Craig Harrison testified at a public hearing today before the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) about Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Harrison, who works for Coach USA, testified about his hardships as a result of being diagnosed […]

DOT threatens to shut down D.C. Metro for safety reasons

USA Today reports that U.S. DOT Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx threatened to shut down the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA or D.C. Metro) if the company does not improve safety. Foxx’s announcement comes after Metro employees refused DOT’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) access to a tunnel following an explosion of a third-rail insulator last […]

DOT announces $10 million TIGER grant to extend Amtrak

Project includes new passenger platforms in Middlebury, Vergennes and Burlington, Vermont BURLINGTON, Vt. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg joined Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and U.S. Congressman Peter Welch at an event today to announce that the U.S. Department of Transportation will provide $10 […]

TTD: Making America great again means rebuilding America

By Larry I. Willis, AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department Secretary-Treasurer I had the honor last week of speaking to IBEW members at their Railroad Department and Government Employees Conference. I had a chance to talk about what is at stake in this election and the challenges we face as a country. Unfortunately, the anti-growth, anti-government movement […]

FRA, FMCSA to host listening sessions on Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will host three public listening sessions to solicit information on the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in highway and rail transportation, its potential consequences for the safety of rail and highway transportation, and the […]

Republicans seek to protect union busters from transparency rule

The GOP has announced that it will fight a Department of Labor (DOL) rule requiring employers to report having hired third parties to draft and deliver anti-union messages to workers. The measure was announced by the DOL in the Federal Register March 24 and went into effect last week. The rule applies to all agreements […]

THUD allocates $56.5 billion to fund transportation

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) passed $56.5 billion legislation to fund its programs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The bill includes several positive allocations for rail: $1.7 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration –  $76 million above FY 2016 enacted level $525 million for TIGER Grants – $25 million […]

We need your comments on 2-person crews -Deadline extended to June 15

On March 15th, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a long overdue proposed regulation requiring that most trains in America have a minimum of two crewmembers. While SMART TD supports the core requirements of the rule, we believe that it can be strengthened and improved before this proposed regulation becomes final. We also expect the […]