Posts Tagged ‘Missouri’

Safety mandate raises passenger rail concerns in Mo.

Amtrak LogoST. LOUIS – The expense of installing mandated train collision avoidance technology is putting passenger service in Missouri at risk, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The equipment, which is designed to override human error, is supposed to be in place by Dec. 31, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Read the complete story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Mo. SLB releases list of endorsed candidates

missouri_mapSMART Transportation Division’s Missouri State Legislative Board has released the names of candidates that it is endorsing for the 2014 midterm elections. The state of Missouri is holding primary elections Tuesday, Aug. 5.

For a list showing all candidates and the board’s recommendations, click here. Candidates that are marked as “no” on the list have repeatedly voted against labor in the past and have shown that they do not support the goals of the Missouri State Legislative Board. Candidates on which the board expresses no opinion are listed as “open.”

The board asks that all members from Missouri vote their paycheck by voting for the endorsed candidates.

If you are unsure of the voting district in which you reside, click here.

Candidates being endorsed by the Missouri State Legislative Board are as follows:

Name Position District
Lacy Clay U.S. Representative 1
Nate Irvin U.S. Representative 4
Emanuel Cleaver II U.S. Representative


Joe Keaveny State Senator 4
Maria Chappelle-Nadal  State Senator 14
Jill Schupp State Senator 24
Robert Stuber State Senator 34
Mike Waltemath State Representative  2
Nate Walker State Representative 3
Robert Harrington State Representative 6
Jim Neeley State Representative 8
Pat Conway State Representative 10
Galen Hidgon Jr. State Representative 11
Sandy Van Wagner State Representative 12
Jon Carpenter  State Representative  15 
Mark Ellebracht  State Representative  17 
Kevin Garner  State Representative  18 
John Rizzo  State Representative  19 
John Mayfield  State Representative  20 
Ira Anders  State Representative  21 
Brandon Ellington  State Representative  22 
Randy Dunn State Representative  23 
Judy Morgan  State Representative  24 
Jeremy LaFaver  State Representative  25 
Gail Beatty  State Representative  26 
Bonnaye Mims State Representative 27
Tom McDonald State Representative 28
Noel Torpey State Representative 29
Sheila Solon State Representative 31
Jeanie Lauer State Representative 32
Donna Pfautsch State Representative 33
Kenneth Duvall State Representative 35
Kevin McManus State Representative 36
Joe Runions State Representative 37
Dan Dildine State Representative 41
Bart Korman State Representative 42
Ed Lockwood State Representative 43
Kip Kendrick State Representative 45
Stephen Webber State Representative 46
John Wright State Representative 47
Gracia Backer State Representative 49
Gary Grigsby State Representative 51
Henry Grubb State Representative 53
Patty Johnson State Representative 56
William Grimes State Representative 57
Tom Smith State Representative 61
Anne Zerr State Representative 65
Tommie Pierson State Representative 66
Sylvester Taylor II State Representative 67
Keith English State Representative 68
Margo McNeil State Representative 69
Bill Otto State Representative 70
Sue Meredith State Representative 71
Mary Nichols State Representative 72
Courtney Curtis State Representative 73
Sharon Pace State Representative 74
Rochelle Walton Gray State Representative 75
Joshua Peters State Representative 76
Kimberly Gardner State Representative 77
Penny Hubbard State Representative 78
Michael Butler State Representative 79
Mike Colona State Representative 80
Jacob Hummel State Representative 81
Michele Kratky State Representative 82
Gina Mitten State Representative 83
Karla May State Representative 84
Clem Smith State Representative 85
Joe Adams State Representative 86
Stacey Newman State Representative 87
Tracy McCreery State Representative 88
Deb Lavender State Representative 90
Jeanne Kirkton State Representative 91
Genise Montecillo State Representative 92
Bob Burns State Representative 93
Vicki Lorenz Englund State Representative 94
John McCaherty State Representative 97
John Callahan State Representative 102
Michael Swyers State Representative 102
Kyle Schlereth State Representative 103
Kathie Conway State Representative 104
Matt Judkins State Representative 105
Chrissy Sommer State Representative 106
Ron Hicks State Representative 107
Bobbie Bollmann State Representative 109
Michael Frame State Representative 111
Robert Butler State Representative 112
T.J. McKenna State Representative 114
Elaine Gannon State Representative 115
Kevin Engler State Representative 116
Linda Black State Representative 117
Ben Harris State Representative 118
Dave Hinson State Representative 119
Ethan Newman State Representative 125
Charlie Norr State Representative 132
Angie Filbeck State Representative 135
Don Phillips State Representative 138
Paul Fitzwater State Representative 144
Charles Elrod State Representative 145
Duston Stone State Representative 148
Diedra Freeman State Representative 149
Walter Dearing State Representative 149
Ryan Holder State Representative 151
Hugh Shields State Representative 161



Previsch, TTD inform lawmakers about Amtrak

Amtrak LogoA column by SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich and AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind informing lawmakers about the public’s support for Amtrak was published April 16 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In response to the column, Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges told Previsich and Transportation Division National Legislative Director James Stem, “Your timing was impeccable. Just today (April 16), there was a hearing in the state Senate about a new transportation tax. The proposal has already passed in the House. Also, I am meeting now with a citizens’ passenger rail group about improving passenger rail transportation here in Missouri. Thank you for your leadership.”

The column by Previsich and Wytkind reads:

Stark divisions have defined our national politics for some time. But there are many transportation issues that unite Americans across political lines, and one of those is overwhelming support for passenger rail in this country, and in particular, for Amtrak.

Recent polls in America’s heartland have shown huge support for our national passenger rail system, Amtrak.

Missouri is no exception.

Red, blue or purple, 82 percent of Missourians want to increase or maintain passenger rail service in the state. And seven in 10 want to increase or maintain Amtrak’s current funding levels, according to a survey conducted by DFM Research. The elected leaders who will hold Amtrak’s fate in their hands during this congressional session need to recognize an important fact uncovered by this poll — the support for Amtrak is deep, and it is nonpartisan.

It’s not only in St. Louis and Kansas City that support for Amtrak is high. Even in northern, central and southern Missouri, where ridership is lower – and voters tend to be more conservative – strong majorities say they value passenger rail service and want to fund it.

The polls measure support that has been very real on station platforms for several years. Nationwide, Amtrak ridership is at an all-time high. About 31.6 million passengers rode Amtrak last year, thanks to increased use of routes in all regions, not just in the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. The railroad’s ridership has set records in 10 of the last 11 years, and is up more than 50 percent since 2000.

Here in Missouri, ridership on all Amtrak lines, including the Missouri River Runner, the Texas Eagle and the Southwest Chief, reached 774,000 last year, up 4.7 percent from 2012.

The Missouri findings mirror those of recent polls in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas and Kentucky. Clearly, Americans understand that a well-financed, well-maintained passenger rail network is essential to an integrated national transportation system.

Investing in Amtrak and the development it attracts is also good business. Since 2010, every federal dollar invested in Amtrak pours $3 back into the economy. That’s why many business leaders understand that long-term economic growth depends on investment in our multi-modal transportation infrastructure – and expanded passenger rail must be part of the picture.

To deliver on what the people of Missouri want will require more federal investment and an end to the political attacks on Amtrak and its employees that seem to spring up annually. Amtrak is operating with infrastructure that was built in the middle of the last century, and yet Americans continue to ride on Amtrak in record numbers – and to tell Congress they want and need more rail service.

But a well-funded and accessible Amtrak system isn’t all that Missourians say they want. They also want the freight trains that traverse annually across Missouri carrying 16 million tons of freight (including more than 24,000 carloads of chemicals) to be as safe as possible. About 8 in 10 Missourians agree that one-person freight train crews should be barred in favor of mandatory two-person crew operations. This is not an academic debate. There are single-member freight train crews out there — in fact, last year’s fiery crash of a freight train in Quebec was run by a one-person crew. Fortunately, legislation is pending before Congress that would make two-person crews mandatory, just the way Missourians would have it.

Political views and ideology aside, the people of Missouri clearly want more Amtrak service, not less. They also want freight trains that are safe and properly crewed. It is time for lawmakers, with the rewrite of federal rail laws now pending, to tone down the partisanship and start listening to what Missourians and the vast majority of Americans are saying.

Mo. House to vote on right-to-work today

The Missouri House of Representatives plans to vote on right-to-work legislation today, April 2.

State Legislative Director Ken Menges, asks that all Missourians call their state representatives today and tell them to vote no on right-to-work.

“Tell your Representative that these laws being pushed by out-of-state corporate CEOs are bad for Missouri’s working families: they’ll lower wages and benefits at a time when the middle class is already struggling,” Menges said.

Click here to learn more on how to contact your Missouri legislators.

Mo. Senate endorses union paycheck bill

JEFFERSON CITY — After steadfast opposition from Democratic senators, the Missouri Senate gave first-round approval early Tuesday morning to a bill that would require public employee unions to seek annual consent in order to automatically deduct fees from members’ paychecks.

The final measure was the product of a compromise forged after a nearly eight hours of opposition from Senate Democrats. The original measure would have banned paycheck deductions outright for some unionized public employees.

Read the complete story at The Kansas City Star.


Toward 150-mph Midwest rail passenger service

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – UTU Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges is halfway toward a goal of creating a public rail commission to study means of expanding and financing improved multi-modal passenger transportation in his state and throughout the Midwest, with an emphasis on creating a track network capable of supporting 150-mph rail passenger service.

In a show of bi-partisan support, the Missouri House of Representatives has voted 134-2 to create a 15-member commission to recommend best practices to “design, build, operate, maintain and finance an improved rail system for Missouri and the Midwest, including “specific recommendations for legislation, regulations, funding sources and way to integrate the improved rail system into existing and planned Amtrak expansions, airports and public transportation systems.”

The House bill is specific that the improved rail system be designed for 150-mph rail passenger service.

The focus now shifts to the state senate.

Menges said he has been working with representatives of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, as well as Missouri railroads and the state DOT, to gather bi-partisan legislative support.