Leaders of the 32 unions that comprise the Transportation Trades Department (TTD), AFL-CIO, met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on Monday, to discuss transportation investment and safety and security issues, and forged an agenda for 2009.
“We are on the threshold of a transformational era in transportation. We must craft a bold new programmatic and financing structure that will strengthen our economy and sustain our quality of life,” Chairman Oberstar said. “Transportation workers will again be where they have always been: on the front lines of this transformation.”
Three important reauthorization bills were discussed in detail, including the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization, as well as “Buy America” policies. Policy statements were agreed to and are available at www.ttd.org.
Priority issues discussed that must be resolved by the Surface Transportation bill include:
- Significantly increasing investments in transit, highways, and our intermodal transportation system by raising the federal gas tax and considering other revenue-raising measures;
- reforming mass transit funding so it can also be used for operating purposes;
- protecting the rights and jobs of workers with regard to Public Private Partnerships and other innovative financing;
- ensuring application of 13(c) transit worker protections and Davis-Bacon in all programs;
- increasing worker training to improve on-the-job safety and job security; and
- adopting safety measures that protect workers and the public, such as increasing the penalty for assaulting transit operators.