February 11, 2016

2016 Omnibus Amtrak funding bill

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Congress must do better for passenger rail and roadway safety By John Previsich, President, SMART Transportation Division While we look favorably on efforts made by members of Congress to implement stronger and more wide-spread transportation policy upgrades – including increased funding for mass transit and highway safety programs, we are still concerned that passenger rail [...]

Congress introduces bill for transportation funding

U.S. Capitol Building; Capitol Building; Washington D.C.

A bill to extend federal surface transportation funding beyond Friday was introduced yesterday to give congressional conference committee members more time to work out their differences on multi-year transportation reauthorization legislation. Read more from Progressive Railroading.

TPP trade deal faces skeptics in U.S. Congress

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Twelve Pacific Rim countries on Monday reached the most ambitious trade pact in a generation, aiming to liberalize commerce in 40 percent of the world’s economy in a deal that faces skepticism from U.S. lawmakers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact struck in Atlanta after marathon talks could reshape industries, change the cost of products from cheese to [...]

Congress may act on railroads blocking highways

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAU) — Federal Railroad Administration officials were in Wisconsin Rapids Monday to discuss problems including parked trains blocking roadways for long periods of time. Congressman Ron Kind joined local officials and the Regional Federal Railroad Administrator from Chicago to discuss that and other railroad issues. Kind says he agrees with FRA staff [...]

Congress extends highway, transit funding

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Congress over the weekend sent to President Obama for his signature a two-month extension of federal funding of highway and transit programs. The surface transportation law known as MAP-21 was set to expire May 31. The House passed its bill — sponsored by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Bill Shuster (R-PA.) and House Ways and Means [...]

It definitely matters whom we elect to Congress

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Congressional elections do matter. Actions of Congress can make a big difference when it comes to our job security, our wages, our fringe benefits, our retirement and safety in our workplace. In this issue of the SMART Transportation Division News are our official endorsements for the Nov. 4 election. These endorsements are based on recommendations [...]

Amtrak’s future crucial to Rail Retirement financing

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Stem “Every Amtrak employee should be placed in a productive position that supports the needs of customer service and managed growth of operations,” UTU National Legislative Director James Stem told Congress Nov. 28. “Amtrak operating crews are among the most productive workers in that system and our members are ready and eager to work,” he [...]

Conservatives pressing attack on working families

U.S. Capitol Building; Capitol Building; Washington D.C.

Public transportation funding, transportation jobs, workplace safety, Railroad Retirement and Medicare are under a mean-spirited and sustained attack by congressional conservatives who are trying to muscle their agenda through Congress prior to the November elections. The UTU and Sheet Metal Workers International Association – now combined into the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) – [...]

Congress and the road ahead

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By James StemUTU National Legislative Director Congress is back from its August recess and eyes are focused on the “Super Committee” of House and Senate members charged with finding $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Should that committee fail to agree — and that is likely — there is an automatic [...]

Amtrak privatization scheme voiced in House

WASHINGTON — Two House Republicans with transportation oversight authority — House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and Rail Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) — want to transfer ownership of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor to the private sector as the first step toward dismantling Amtrak and privatizing rail passenger service in the U.S. The [...]