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Thursday, February 28, 2013    

Labor leaders urge Congress to pass long-term Amtrak plan


Leaders of the AFL-CIO transportation unions have called on Congress to establish a long-term strategy for Amtrak that will meet demands for growing ridership, invest in the railroad's decaying equipment and network, protect workers' rights and jobs, and reject "risky" privatization of key routes and services.

The Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO's (TTD) Executive Committee recently adopted a policy statement on Amtrak's future as the House and Senate prepare to draft legislation later this year that will provide funding and structure to the nation's intercity passenger railroad.

The statement urges Congress to replace its current policy of "underinvestment and disrepair" with a long-term plan to modernize the nation's passenger and freight-rail infrastructure, TTD officials said in a prepared statement.

"Inaction and neglect in Washington have left Amtrak with an enormous backlog of critical upgrades to its infrastructure and rail cars," said TTD President Edward Wytkind.

The statement also asks lawmakers to reject proposals by some politicians to sell off Amtrak's "most prized routes and assets."

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