OneRail Statement on Congress’ Approval of the Coronavirus Emergency Relief Package

Statement of Anne Canby
Director, OneRail Coalition
on the
approval by the U.S. Congress
of the coronavirus emergency relief package
March 27, 2020

OneRail applauds Congress for their quick and robust action to approve an emergency relief package in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with critical funding to support essential operations for intercity and commuter rail service as well as providing rail workers with similar payments and unemployment benefits that other employees receive.

The bill, which includes funding for Amtrak and state supported rail services, public transit and commuter rail agencies, and for the Railroad Retirement Board’s administration of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, will support these crucial services and employees. By passing this legislation, Congress provides support for the extensive – and economically vital – rail supply chain.

Unfortunately, Congress did not waive Railroad Unemployment Insurance from being subject to sequestration – despite being the only unemployment insurance program subject to these cuts. The end result is sick or unemployed railroaders will continue to see a reduction in their benefits. OneRail urges Congress to fix this issue in subsequent stimulus legislation.

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