Media Center

Dec 3

Transit Union: Full Speed Ahead on FAST Act

Congress urged to pass Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, new 5-year transportation bill

Media Contact: David Roscow, 301-431-7100 x254

 

Silver Spring, MD – Praising House and Senate negotiators for maintaining critical transportation funding for the Northeast states while at the same time increasing dedicated bus funding by 89 percent, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) urged the House and Senate to pass the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a new five-year transportation-funding bill.

“It’s full speed ahead on FAST. This legislation addresses critical issues in the public transportation industry that have been neglected for decades,” says ATU International President Larry Hanley. “We commend the leadership on both sides of the aisle who finally put aside partisan politics to produce the best transit bill since TEA-21 in 1998.”

ATU is particularly pleased that the conference committee adopted its proposal to reduce the term of the bill from six to five years thereby allowing for the bus funding compromise. In addition the bill includes critical language that neutralizes a potentially devastating transit privatization provision that was in the Senate version of the bill.

Another important aspect of Fast Act is the mandatory rulemaking by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to address bus operator assaults – an issue ATU has pursued with Congress for many years as each day brings another attack on a transit worker.

ATU also praised a provision calling for review and report of safety standards and protocols used in transit systems, including the reduction of blind spots that contribute to accidents involving pedestrians and scheduling transit service with adequate time and access for operators to use restroom facilities – two issues ATU has made a priority for several years.

A new section also allows the kind of flexibility ATU has urged for transit systems to use their federal transit funds to improve service for people with disabilities.

“Public transit ridership is at an all-time high and young people are forgoing cars for buses and subways while cash-strapped transit systems raise fares and cut service. Many buses now in service are well past their so-called useful life. This bill will help to reinvigorate and restore our public transit systems across the country,” says Hanley. “ATU strongly supports this legislation, and we urge Congress to move the bill to final passage. The FAST Act is a winner for transit workers, riders, and the nation.”