June 8, 2021
On behalf of the undersigned rail labor organizations, we write today to express our strong support for H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act. This legislation would have transformative impacts across the rail industry and the nation, benefiting rail workers, consumers, travelers, and the broader economy. We applaud Chair DeFazio and Chair Payne for a bold approach to our national rail system.
The bill includes extraordinary investments in passenger rail, including historic funding levels for Amtrak and its operational and capital needs, and supports the growth of new rail operations, including high-speed rail. It also recognizes the value of a true national passenger rail network, and the need to build and maintain a world-class system. We commend the commitment to ensuring the quality of Amtrak’s customer and on-board service and the protection and promotion of its workforce, including through required labor representation on the Amtrak Board of Directors.
We also strongly endorse the legislation’s efforts to improve safety, particularly in the freight rail sector. The measures included in this bill will prevent accidents, save lives, and promote the longterm viability of the industry. The Act addresses a wide variety of issues, including responding to dangerous changes and the deployment of new technologies in freight railroad operations, ensuring that the Federal Railroad Administration is a safety-first agency that works in tandem with rail workers, and requiring the necessary presence of a certified engineer and certified conductor on most freight trains. The bill also combats pervasive industry fatigue, protects passenger and commuter rail employees from assault, upholds safety in cross-border operations with Mexico, and makes substantial investments in key grade crossing projects.
The INVEST in America Act represents a generational step forward for the rail sector, its workforce, and the communities and businesses that rely on rail. The legislation will improve safety, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and secure a future with a vibrant freight and
passenger rail industry. We look forward to passage out of the Committee, and to supporting the legislation going forward.
American Train Dispatchers Association
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers—Transportation Division
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU
Transportation Communications Union/IAM
Transport Workers Union of America