Dear Brothers & Sisters: We are approaching the close of another year, and my thoughts grow stronger about each of you during this forthcoming holiday period. Your daily lifestyles, both personally and professionally, are demanding and sometimes conflictive. Giving them respect and balance can be a challenge. In that regard, do not compromise the importance of adequate rest. Exercising sound judgment when it comes to rest will minimize the risk of failure when fulfilling your chosen responsibilities as a transportation worker. I’ve walked in your shoes and understand the lifestyle of being a professional railroader. Fatigue can lead to a loss of situational awareness, and a loss of situational awareness can often lead to tragedy. The holidays are a dangerous time of year for our industry. In that regard take care of yourself, be safe and do what is right. Happy Thanksgiving!
Jeremy R. Ferguson, President, Transportation Division
As families and friends gather to give thanks over this year’s holiday, let’s not forget the transportation workers who move people and cargo by road, rail and air safely to their destinations. An estimated 54.3 million travelers are hitting the road or taking to the skies in 2018 to celebrate this holiday, the most since 2005. Americans will have to endure long lines, traffic, canceled, delayed and overbooked flights and the stress that comes with those inconveniences. On the busiest travel day of the year, the true consequences of letting our national transportation system and infrastructure fall apart are made apparent. Bridges in the U.S. need replacement, transit systems need their anemic budgets revitalized for safer and more efficient travel, trains run through century-old tunnels, miles of highways remain neglected and our aviation system could use updated technology. As frustrated as travelers may feel, the men and women who keep America moving understand their concerns all too well. Transportation employees know, probably more than anyone, that this country can and must do better when it comes to making travel safe and efficient. After all, they’re the ones contending with our neglected transportation system on a daily basis. Talk to a transportation worker, and you’ll hear about more than just poor infrastructure. They’ll tell you about safety problems; obsolete, shabby and outdated equipment; fatigue on the job; and belligerent employers and passengers. You’ll hear about budget cuts that undermine safety and reliability as they try to do their jobs and also threaten good wages, benefits and the security of their jobs. You’ll also hear about dedication, hard work and responsibility. Despite all the challenges they face, the men and women who keep America moving stay focused on the needs of the people and the country they serve. The priority of America’s transportation workers is to move people and goods as safely and efficiently as possible. Many of them will give up or postpone Thanksgiving plans to accommodate the needs of the traveling public, giving their time to make sure travelers get where they want to be on this holiday. Thank you to the people who operate, maintain and build our transportation systems. Your diligence and commitment keep our journeys safe. Your service helps to make holidays, including the one we’re about to celebrate, happy and possible.
It’s that time of year again. Americans across the country will get ready for the time-honored tradition of gathering with family and friends to give thanks. But first, they will agonize – possibly panic – over how to get where they’re going on the busiest travel day of the year. The latter isn’t exactly how Norman Rockwell depicts this day — but it is reality. An estimated 51 million travelers this year will hit the road or take to the skies. Before that grand turkey feast graces their dinner tables, Americans will have to endure long lines, traffic, canceled, delayed and overbooked flights and stress — lots of it. It is on this day when we feel the true consequences of letting our transportation system and infrastructure fall apart. Right now, there are thousands of bridges in the U.S. in need of replacement or repair, the nation’s transit systems are being choked by anemic budgets, Amtrak trains running through century-old tunnels, millions of miles of neglected highways, an aviation system operating with severely outdated technology and a maritime system, including ports, suffering from decades of neglect. As frustrated as travelers may feel, there’s a group of people who understand their concerns all too well: the men and women who keep America moving. Transportation employees know, probably more than anyone else, that this country can and must do better when it comes to making travel safe and efficient. After all, they, too, contend with the consequences of a neglected transportation system — and they do so on a daily basis. Talk to a transportation worker, and you’ll hear about more than just poor infrastructure. They’ll tell you stories about safety problems, obsolete and outdated equipment, fatigue on the job, belligerent employers and passengers. You’ll hear about budget cuts that undermine safety and reliability, and threaten good wages, benefits and job security. You’ll also hear about dedication, hard work and responsibility. That’s because, despite the immense challenges they face, the men and women who keep America moving remain focused on the needs of the people and country they serve. America’s transportation workers understand that no matter what obstacles they face, their priority is transporting people and goods as safely and efficiently as possible. Many will give up or postpone Thanksgiving plans with family and friends to accommodate the needs of the traveling public. And that — putting others before yourself — is what the season of giving is all about. This Thanksgiving, pause for a moment and give thanks to the people who operate, maintain and build our transportation systems. Their commitment to getting the job done is what keeps our journeys safe. Their commitment to service helps make holidays, including the one we’re about to celebrate, possible.