Georgia State Legislative Director Matt Campbell reports that his two-person crew bill (H.B.190) has been held up by a subcommittee and that the efforts of members are needed to get the bill to a vote.
“The safety of railroad operations affect all Georgians; especially, those who live, work, or learn near a railroad line,” Campbell said. “Our state should not gamble with public safety, the stakes are too high.”
SMART TD Georgia State Legislative Director Matt Campbell is currently running for Georgia’s State Senate, District 32. Campbell is up against seven other candidates. A special election will be held April 18.
Campbell has been endorsed by SMART TD, AFL-CIO, IBEW, CWA, Teamsters, IAM, Carpenters, IAFF, North Georgia Labor Council and the North Georgia Building Trades union.
Campbell has been a SMART TD (formerly UTU) member for 17 years, since he began his railroad career on CSX in 2000.
Click here to learn more about Campbell’s campaign.
ATLANTA – The House Natural Resources Committee voted without opposition Thursday to a resolution urging the federal Environmental Protection Division to make its Clean Power Plan less stringent for Georgia.
Business and labor groups warned the plan would result in higher electricity rates and fewer jobs while environmental groups said compliance would trigger creation of different jobs and improve air quality.
RICHMOND, Va. – Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo today called on elected officials and transportation planners in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to develop a shared vision of rail service along the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor (SEHSR) between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Administrator Szabo’s challenge came as he addressed members and supporters of Virginians for High-Speed Rail during their 20th anniversary luncheon in Richmond.
“The metropolitan regions of the South and the Southeast in particular, are growing faster than other metropolitan regions across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “In order to meet the mobility needs of a growing population and to move the products they will need to market, rail must play an enhanced role in the transportation delivery network there.”
Across the country, regions are banding together to forge collective long-term visions for passenger rail. Along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), eight states and the District of Columbia are working on a 40-year plan for rail service between Boston and Washington, D.C. In the Midwest, nine states and 40 cities have already developed the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, a planning guide for long-term rail investments.
“Good planning is the cornerstone of service delivery and a plan reflecting the collective vision for a region helps the region compete effectively for future rail funds as money becomes available,” said Joseph C. Szabo, Federal Railroad Administrator. “In order for the region to achieve optimum growth, it will be necessary for them to work together more closely and plan for their transportation future.”
Administrator Szabo said regional planning between Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia could effectively yield seamless passenger rail travel all along the East Coast from Boston to Atlanta.
During his address, Administrator Szabo also highlighted the importance of the Grow America Act , the Obama Administration’s four-year $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill now before Congress. The bill includes $19 billion for rail, and for the first time, would provide railroads with a predictable, dedicated funding source. The Act will invest $600 million in existing state corridors like the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor and provide an additional $6.4 billion for rail service improvements along existing, expanding and new passenger corridors over the next four years.
Passenger ridership has been setting record highs in the Southeast. In Virginia, passenger ridership is up 100 percent since 2009 and in North Carolina Amtrak’s Piedmont service between Charlotte and Raleigh continues to set ridership records carrying about 100,000 more people in 2013 than it did in 2009. Since 2007, passenger ridership in Georgia increased by 15 percent and by 14 percent in South Carolina.
Similarly, freight rail traffic in the Southeast has been increasing since 2009 an average of 10 percent annually. Georgia has seen an increase of nearly 13 percent with a more than 883,000 carloads of freight annually.
The Federal Railroad Administration, along with its 32 state partners and the District of Columbia, is laying the foundation for a higher performance rail network. Sixty-five projects worth $4.1 billion in High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funding are currently completed, under construction, or will soon start construction in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Today, about $736 million in federal funding supports a dozen projects along the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.
(The following information was released Sept. 30, 2009, by UnitedHealthcare.)
“We are concerned about the health and welfare of our members affected by the recent floods in Georgia and we have taken immediate action to offer:
Assistance for members in locating an in-network care provider;
Free help line for individuals in need of counseling.
Effective through Oct. 6, these measures apply to members residing in the following Georgia counties: Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Crawford, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens, Walker.
Special assistance or accommodations
Members who have been displaced or whose network facility is not accessible and require assistance or special accommodations due to the flooding, should call the number on the back of their medical ID cards.
If members have been displaced from their place of residence, customer care professionals will help them locate an in-network provider. In an emergency, members should seek treatment at the nearest medical facility.
OptumHealth providing a 24-hour help line
A free help line is available to members trying to cope with the emotional consequences of the floods. Staffed by experienced masters-level behavioral health specialists, the free help line offers callers assistance with a range of personal concerns including stress, anxiety and the grieving process.
Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to assist them with specific concerns such as financial and legal issues.
The toll-free helpline phone number is (866) 342-6892 and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary. This service is free of charge.
Resources and information are also available online in English at www.liveandworkwell.com and in Spanish at www.mentesana-cuerposano.com.
At UnitedHealthcare, we will provide those railroad members affected by the floods in the affected Georgia counties with the best possible services and support, and will do everything we can to help them through this crisis.”