Bush signs Railroad Retirement bill

On December 21, President Bush signed legislation making the Railroad Retirement and Survivors' Improvement Act of 2001 the official law of the land.

It was reason for BLE and GIA members to celebrate, as it provides an early retirement and improved pension benefits for thousands of active and retired members and their spouses.

The law permits $15.3 billion in railroad pension funds to be invested on Wall Street instead of government securities.

There was no signing ceremony, but the signing was announced by the White House in a brief statement.

The measure cuts the railroads' payroll taxes while boosting the benefits of retirees and their widows or widowers.

The measure was backed by rail companies and their unions. The signing is a culmination of a nearly yearlong effort by a joint team of Rail Labor lobbyists, who first met on Jan. 16, 2001, to plot their lobbying strategy.

Along the way, the Rail Labor Coalition relied heavily on the support of active and retired members in the field, who called and wrote to Congress to lobby for passage of the bill.

BLE International President Don M. Hahs congratulated all BLE lobbyists who worked so hard on Capitol Hill to make sure the bill passed, and thanked them for their efforts.

"This bill wouldn't have seen the light of day if not for the efforts of BLE and other Rail Labor Coalition lobbyists on Capitol Hill," Hahs said. "I congratulate and thank them."

BLE members with specific questions should contact a U.S. Railroad Retirement Board field office in their area. Please see page 5 for a list of RRB field office telephone numbers.


2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers