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Biden administration calls on transit agencies to take steps to protect workers

Federal regulators are proposing requiring transit agencies to assess worker safety amid an “unacceptable” level of assaults.

“Everyone deserves a safe workplace, including and especially the frontline transit workers who keep our nation moving,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release Wednesday. “Assaults on transit workers are unacceptable, and I look forward to working with leaders across the transit industry on ways to further enhance the safety of these essential workers.” 

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transportation Agency (FTA) published a proposed General Directive on Wednesday in which transit agencies will be required within 60 days of the directive’s issue to have an Agency Safety Plan — under a broader regulation program called the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans — and to take actions such as conducting risk assessments “related to assaults on transit workers on the public transportation system.”

The National Transit Database documented “an average of 241 reportable assault events on transit workers” from 2008 to 2021, according to the release. 

“Each day, transit workers nationwide are responsible for moving millions of Americans to their jobs, schools, and other daily activities, and we must ensure that their safety remains a top priority,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said in the release. “This proposed General Directive is part of FTA’s ongoing comprehensive efforts to improve transit worker safety.”  

Investing in public transportation is part of a road map unveiled by the Biden administration earlier this year to lower emissions in the transportation sector through 2050.

“Transportation policy is inseparable from housing and energy policy, and transportation accounts for a major share of US greenhouse gas emissions, so we must work together in an integrated way to confront the climate crisis,” Buttigieg said in a statement. 

“Every decision about transportation is also an opportunity to build a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future,” he added.

Source: The Hill

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