September 23, 2014

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.

Obama cracks down on labor breaches by contractors

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an election-year rebuttal to Republicans, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Thursday requiring federal contractors to give their workers more rights in labor disputes. The move comes one day after House GOP lawmakers voted to sue Obama for allegedly misusing presidential powers. Under the order, companies seeking large federal [...]

DOT announces proposed rules for crude transport

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today released the details of its comprehensive rulemaking proposal to improve the safe transportation of large quantities of flammable materials by rail – particularly crude oil and ethanol – in the form of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and a companion Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). [...]

Sen. honors SMART member from N.D. derailment

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WASHINGTON – On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp Feb. 10 shared the heroic story of Geoff Andersen, an engineer in training for Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway, from Larimore, N.D., whose actions during the recent train derailment near Casselton, N.D., prevented the dangerous explosions from the crash from spreading farther. (Andersen [...]

Unions back PAC supporting Republican centrists

Labor unions are funneling cash to a super-PAC tied to a former lawmaker that is working to elect centrist Republicans to Congress. Unions have contributed about $765,000 so far to the Defending Main Street Super-PAC, which is associated with former GOP lawmaker Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), according to Federal Election Commission records. To view SMART Transportation [...]

House committee hears from transportation advocates

U.S. governors and mayors are pushing Congress to quickly reauthorize long-term legislation to fund transportation projects across the country, fearing that any lapse in funding could disrupt existing projects and hurt local economies. Testifying at a Tuesday hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, representatives of states, cities and the transportation [...]

Risch appears on America’s Work Force radio

SMART Transportation Division’s Alternate National Legislative Director John Risch appeared on America’s Work Force daily labor radio program Dec. 23 to discuss the country’s support for Amtrak and other issues. America’s Work Force is the only daily labor-radio program in America and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input [...]

Ask your lawmakers’ support for two-person crews

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Members of the SMART Transportation Division and all of rail labor have the opportunity to make it federal law to have two qualified persons working on all freight trains operating in the United States a reality. Now is the time to contact your legislators in the House of Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor and [...]

FRA’s Szabo addresses 50th meeting of RSAC

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The following are Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo’s opening remarks to those attending the 50th meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) in Washington on Oct. 31, 2013. Today marks the end of a stressful month. The government shutdown forced us to put a lot of important work on hold. And since it ended, we’ve [...]

Obama nominates former Kan. DOT secretary for STB

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President Barack Obama has nominated former Kansas Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller to the Surface Transportation Board, reportedly replacing George Bush-appointee Francis Mulvey. Miller, a Democrat, was the Kansas secretary of transportation from 2003 to 2012, making her the first female and longest serving transportation secretary of that state. She was appointed by former Gov. [...]