Organizational Meeting & Hearing on Protecting Transportation Workers and Passengers from COVID: Gaps in Safety, Lessons Learned, and Next Steps

2167 Rayburn House Office Building and online via videoconferencing

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0 Thursday, February 04, 2021 @ 11:00 | Contact: Justin Harclerode 202-225-9446

The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold its Full Committee Organizational Meeting at 11:00 a.m., followed immediately by a Full Committee hearing on "Protecting Transportation Workers and Passengers from COVID: Gaps in Safety, Lessons Learned, and Next Steps."

Witness List:
  • Professor David Michaels, PhD, MPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University | Written Testimony
  • Ms. Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Lewie Pugh, Executive Vice President, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Ismael Rivera, Bus operator for Lynx and Member of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1596, Orlando, FL | Written Testimony
  • Professor William P. Bahnfleth, PhD, PE, FASHRAE, FASME, FISIAQ, Professor of Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University; Chair, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force | Written Testimony
  • The Honorable Joe Buscaino, Councilman, Los Angeles City Council, and Past President, National League of Cities; testifying on behalf of National League of Cities | Written Testimony
  • Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO):

    Thank you, Chair DeFazio.  I appreciate our witnesses being with us today to testify about the impact that the COVID pandemic is having on transportation workers and how we can continue forward through a safe recovery.

    The pandemic has ravaged our country since the first U.S. case was reported in January 2020.  Many workers can’t work virtually like we are today and continue to show up in-person to perform the essential services that we all rely upon.  Notably, this includes our frontline transportation workers that make sure our grocery store shelves stay stocked, transport people safely across the country, and ensure that other frontline workers can get to their jobs to help serve the public.

    Just like the overall economy, different sectors of the transportation economy have been impacted in different ways by the coronavirus.  Since the last time we examined this topic, Congress has authorized an unprecedented amount of $113 billion to support different sectors of the transportation industry to ensure that workers stay employed and that these businesses can bounce back quickly.  This assistance includes grants totaling $60 billion for airlines, airports, and their contractors; $39 billion for transit systems; $10 billion for state departments of transportation; $2 billion for Amtrak; and $2 billion for motorcoach operators, school bus companies, and passenger ferries.  We need to ensure that all of this money leaves the federal government and gets to the intended recipients as soon as possible.

    Moving forward through the recovery, we must make smart, safe, and responsible decisions to get our workforce going and businesses hiring again.  This will affect our ability to restart and reconnect supply chains that are key to economic recovery.

    As Americans get back to traveling, they need safe and effective measures to give them the confidence needed to return.  But we also must ensure that the workers providing these transportation services are safe.

    I’m glad we have the opportunity today to hear directly from frontline workers about their experiences during the pandemic.  Thank you for participating today, but more importantly thank you for keeping our country moving even in these difficult times.

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