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BLErs get training at George Meany Center

SILVER SPRING, Md. BLE state legislative board chairmen attended a training session at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Silver Spring, Md. the week of May 19.

They were trained in computer use, legislative writing and speaking techniques, and held simulated meetings with members of Congress.

The training session was coordinated by BLE Vice-President & U.S. National Legislative Representative Leroy D. Jones.

"These simulations, along with the other assignments and classes through the week, will be highly beneficial for our Brotherhood's future," Jones said.

Similar training is planned for division legislative representatives at various locations in the U.S. For more details on the state legislative board chairmen training session at the George Meany Center, please see the "Legislative Update" section of the Summer 1997 Locomotive Engineers Journal.

Those in attendance are pictured above, and are all legislative board chairmen for their state or local division (unless otherwise noted). Front row, from left: Jim Keele, Kansas State Legislative Board Chairman; Tim Young, Arkansas; Perry Renfro, Oklahoma; Terry Briggs, Commerce, Texas Division 530 Legislative Chairman; John Hubbard, Missouri; C. Edward Way, Belleville, Ill. Division 512; Pat Johnson, Clinton, Iowa Division 125; Leroy D. Jones, BLE Vice-President & U.S. National Legislative Representative; and Randy Meek, Nebraska.

Second row, from left: Bill Verdeyen, Indiana; Bob Harvey, BLE Washington Office staff; Bill O'Brien, Ohio; Jim Worles, Hinton, W.Va. Division 101; Tommy Mayne, Kentucky; George Last, Colorado; Jim Chappelle, New Jersey; and Walt Webster, Ogden, Utah Division 55.

Third row, from left: Keith Luebke, Wisconsin; Bob Svob Jr., Tucson, Ariz. Division 28; Gene Morrill Sr., staff associate emeritus, Meany Center; George Newman, Massachusetts; Joseph McCarthy, Philadelphia, Pa. Division 483; Dave Lavery, Florida; Mike Muscha, North Dakota; Ronnie Perkins, Norfolk, Va. Division 456; Terry Jones, Cheyenne, Wyo. Division 44; Steve Golubic, Tacoma, Wash. Division 238; Doug Horstman, Oregon; Brent Boggs, BLE Washington Office staff; Tom Perkovich, Minnesota; and Don Spatz Sr., staff associate, Meany Center.


New rule to address
'emergency preparedness'

The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration's rule will formalize a planning requirement and identify certain mandatory elements as part of their ongoing efforts to address rail passenger safety issues. The rule will require preparation, adoption, and implementation of emergency preparedness plans by railroads connected with the operation of passenger trains, including freight railroads hosting the operations of rail passenger service. ·

FCC separates railroad safety frequencies

The Federal Communications Commission has been praised by Members of Congress and the industry for proposing rules that will separate mobile radio frequencies of railroads and public-safety agencies. In a letter to the FCC, Senator Hollings (D-SC) stated, "Interference with railroad radio networks, such as might occur if the railroads are required to share their frequencies with other public-safety users, could create an unacceptable threat to railroad safety." ·

Amtrak to get $22 million for Illinois operations

If the State Legislature approves, Illinois will pay Amtrak $22 million over the next three years to maintain service from Chicago to a host of cities, including Carbondale and Quincy, Ill. However, Amtrak would pay a penalty to the State for trains that leave Chicago more than 30 minutes behind schedule. ·

Railroads seek funding for grade-crossing safety

The railroad industry is pressing Congress for extra funding to ensure safety improvements at highway-rail grade crossings. Specifically, the industry urged lawmakers to earmark $185 million for crossing safety next fiscal year, compared to the $130 million Congress appropriated this fiscal year.

In addition to increased funding, the industry is urging Congress to create and mandate a uniform process for closing unnecessary crossings, fund a multi-year grade-crossing safety education and public-awareness campaign with Operational Lifesaver and create a national grade-crossing warning device problem alert system. ·

One-half cent funding proposed for Amtrak

Legislation was introduced that will dedicate one-half cent of the 4.3 cents per gallon federal fuel tax, or $3.9 billion during the next five years ($800 million annually) that will provide Amtrak with a specific source of federal government funding. The bill, S.436, jointly introduced by Senators Roth (R-DE) and Moynihan (D-NY), is called the Intercity Passenger Rail Trust Fund Act of 1997.

A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the House shortly. This funding source will enable Amtrak to improve its facilities and equipment and allow the company to save money to be used towards capital investments.

"The result would be improved equipment reliability, better maintained cars and locomotives and better working conditions for Amtrak employees," Amtrak President Tom Downs stated. ·

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