America's rail system is woefully underfunded and neglected. The roots of the decline date to the period after World War II when the government chose to focus for purported reasons of national security on building the interstate highway system. Over the following decades passenger rail declined dramatically due to lack of investment in infrastructure, with many commuter lines across America paved over or pulled up for scrap. The U.S. is the world's most automobile-dependent nation. There are roughly three cars, trucks, or SUVs for every four Americans. The highway system is more expensive to maintain, leads to more pollution and keeps us dependent on oil.
We need to expand our rail transportation system to make it a feasible option for working people. Simply funding new rail lines and infrastructure is not enough. The existing rail infrastructure is in a state of severe disrepair. Rebuilding it would create thousands of jobs and help revitalize our economy. Jobs created from this infrastructure investment should employ workers in the U.S.
We deserve to live a life in a healthy environment and travel on a world-class rail system. This is why we must support a comprehensive rail transportation system.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 75th UE CONVENTION:
- Calls on Congress to:
- Adequately fund improvement and expansion of our national rail system and prioritize public ownership of the rails;
- Impose an equipment standardization mandate on manufacturers;
- Expand subsidies for Amtrak, light rail, commuter rail, and higher-speed rail;
- Fund the improvement of existing rail lines to handle high-speed trains;
- Investigate feasibility for Amtrak to have dedicated grade-separated rail lines;
- Oppose single-employee rail crews to ensure public safety and preserve good jobs.