Oberstar works to protect rail workers

Once again, Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) is proving why he is a friend to members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

On August 25, Congressman Oberstar took action on two pieces of legislation of major importance to railroad workers.

In a Dear Colleague letter, Oberstar announced he is seeking cosponsors for H.R. 4896, the PROTECTS Act (Protecting Railroad Operators, Travelers, Employees, and Communities with Transportation Security Act of 2004). The proposed legislation will authorize more than $1 billion in federal funds to boost the security of America's railroads.

"The PROTECTS Act would ensure that the Federal government will immediately do its part to take the necessary steps to address security risks on our Nation's railroads, while protecting rail passengers, rail workers, and citizens who live or work in the communities in which railroads operate," he wrote.

A copy of his Dear Colleague letter is available on the BLET website at: http://www.ble-t.org/pr/pdf/OberstarDearColleague.pdf .

In a second letter, addressed to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Oberstar asks for full funding for the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. In its FY2005 budget, the Bush Administration is allocating just $102.6 million for RRB operations, even though the Board had requested $110.66 million.

"The additional funding will allow the RRB to maintain sufficient staff to continue providing high quality service to the railroad community and to continue with some information technology improvements," Congressman Oberstar wrote. "Accordingly, I urge you to join me is supporting the $110.66 million that the agency has requested."

A copy of his letter to the Appropriations Committee is on the BLET website at: http://www.ble-t.org/pr/pdf/OberstarRRB.pdf .

"The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen is sincerely grateful to Congressman Oberstar for his continued efforts to protect the interests of rail and transportation workers," BLET National President Don M. Hahs said. "He is a true champion of working class Americans."



© 2004 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen