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A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is asking Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald Batory and Acting Federal Transit Administrator K. Jane Williams to address rail labor officials' concerns about health and safety protections for rail workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawmakers wrote to the agency heads last week. The letter follows the SMART-Transportation Division's petition sent in March that asked the federal agencies to issue COVID-19 health and safety guidelines directed to rail carriers, employees and passengers.
The union asked that, at a minimum, the guidelines address the sanitizing of train equipment, rail cars, offices, crew staging areas; and provide crews and passengers with protective equipment, hand sanitizer and other supplies.
"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," the lawmakers' letter stated. "It is important that steps are taken to mitigate against the spread of the virus within the workforce, minimize exposure while workers are performing their duties and ensure sufficient staffing."