BLET testifies before Senate on rail safety

BLET Vice President and National Legislative Representative John Tolman testified on July 26 before the Senate Surface Transportation Subcommittee regarding rail safety and draft legislation that when introduced will be the Senate companion bill to H.R. 2095, the Federal Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2007.

To underscore the importance of the hearing, BLET National President Don Hahs traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Senate hearing.

The proposed Senate bill, which will be titled the Railroad Safety Enhancement Act of 2007, received general praise from Vice President Tolman. He said that the legislation "reflects an understanding of where the industry is, and where it needs to go over the next decade. It addresses many of the issues rail labor has brought to the hill, and dovetails nicely with the work undertaken by the House (H.R. 2095)." However, he acknowledged that there are a number of issues that still need to be addressed in the process.

As he has in previous testimony, Vice President Tolman reiterated that, with regards to limbo time, the BLET believes that the Supreme Court was wrong in 1996 when it ruled that time spent in limbo is neither time on duty, nor time off duty, and that Congress needs to set the record straight.

"We believe there should be no limbo time, except in narrow circumstances," Tolman said. "The House has laid the foundation for further efforts to resolve this issue, and we look forward to working with the Senate on this matter."

Vice President Tolman's testimony also included the following with regards to proposed Senate legislation:



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