(WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement by Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa after the House today overwhelming approved a six-year, $340 billion transportation funding bill that would invest in much-needed infrastructure improvements while protecting motorists from heavier trucks on the road.
“A bipartisan collection of lawmakers came together today to back a long-term plan for transportation that will help give state and local governments the certainty they need to move forward on some our nation’s most important transportation projects for years to come. As part of the process, they rightfully rejected a provision that would have allowed trucks carrying up to 91,000 pounds of cargo to travel nationwide. However, the Teamsters remain extremely concerned with their inclusion of overly-broad and dangerous language which would preempt state meal and rest break laws that protect the working conditions of commercial drivers
“The Teamsters would like to thank House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and ranking member Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) for their leadership on this legislation. Because of them, Congress is on the cusp of approving its first extended highway funding bill in more than a decade.
“But as lawmakers in the House and Senate move to conference to work out differences in their bills before funding runs out on Nov. 20, we must insist that lawmakers not eliminate meal and rest break provisions that allow truckers to receive a much-needed respite while going about the rigors of their jobs. They should also remove language which would directly hinder the ability of drivers who are paid on a piece rate basis to receive the full wages they deserve for a hard day’s work.
“America needs well-rested truckers on the road. Too many families have experienced firsthand what happens when they don’t. Keeping that provision in place, combined with a new six-year transportation bill, will provide a brighter future for the traveling public.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.