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Policy: Passenger rail in the age of coronavirus
Fourteen Congressional lawmakers are pressing the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to consider the health and safety recommendations given by the rail unions as both agencies craft guidance related to the novel coronavirus.
The letter, written by U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Arizona) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania), was signed by a total of seven Republicans and seven Democrats.
“Our transit and rail workers are essential to the health, safety, security and transport of people within and between our communities along with the transport of critical goods and freight across the country. It is important that steps are taken to mitigate the spread of the virus within the workforce, minimize exposure while workers are performing their duties and ensure sufficient staffing,” said the April 2 letter to FRA Administrator Ron Batory and FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.
“As you work to identify additional measures to protect these essential transportation workers, we ask that you consider and give full and fair consideration to the recommendations SMART-TD outlined in its petitions for worker protection and sanitation standards to protect against the virus,” the letter continued. SMART-TD, a rail union, stands for Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation – Transportation Division.
SMART-TD and the rail union the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen petitioned FRA and FTA in late March, asking the agencies to issue emergency orders addressing the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the U.S. Their recommendations address workplace sanitation and access to an adequate supply of cleaning products and hours of service, among other provisions.
FRA said in March that it was reviewing the petition.
This article first appeared on www.freightwaves.com
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