CLEVELAND, Ohio (July 1, 2021) — SMART Transportation Division leaders expressed their appreciation as the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act (H.R. 3684) successfully passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives, 221-201, on July 1 with two-person crew and other transportation safety provisions important to TD members remaining intact.
“This bill is a great step ahead for the country as it works to repair years of inattention given to the country’s infrastructure,” SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy R. Ferguson said. “The INVEST Act also pays heed to many safety concerns expressed by labor — the essential workers who helped move our nation through the COVID pandemic — bus operators, freight rail workers and transit workers. We thank Peter DeFazio, Donald Payne and all those in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who spurred H.R. 3684 to passage in the full House, and we now look ahead to consideration in the Senate and beyond.”
The INVEST Act is a surface transportation reauthorization bill that encompasses substantial investment in the nation’s infrastructure as well as in the safety of the people who keep the country moving. H.R. 3684’s components look to protect bus and transit workers from assault, improve school bus safety and maintain safe freight rail operations. It contains increased funding for Amtrak passenger rail service and protects the environment, the public and rail workers alike by putting into law the Rule of 2 — that, like a pilot and co-pilot in the air — a certified engineer and a certified conductor remain present in the cab of freight trains when operated through the nation’s communities.
“We’re very pleased that the House has wisely moved ahead today on the legislative path to ensuring that rail safety’s Rule of 2 is maintained with the INVEST in America Act, and that the bus safety provisions, Amtrak funding and other rail safety components stay in the bill,” SMART-TD National Legislative Director Greg Hynes said. “Now, similar to last year, the time has come to make it crystal clear to senators who might be on the fence that the safety aspects within this bill are not up for negotiation.”
“We truly thank and appreciate those legislators who supported the INVEST Act in its journey through the House and who listened to what we had to say,” Ferguson said. “There is more work to be done and a path to be cleared for this legislation in the Senate, and the members and officers of our union are ready to put in the time.”


The SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members of the former United Transportation Union, who work in a variety of different crafts, including as bus and commuter rail operators, in the transportation industry.

The paths to the Rule of 2 are open.
Path 1: The INVEST ACT (H.R. 3684, the House Infrastructure Bill) and Path 2: a regulatory priority of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to revisit freight crew size.
U.S House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio (D) of Oregon and Railroad Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D) of New Jersey, both allies to the cause of safe rail operations, said this about the intention of the Biden-Harris administration to prioritize freight-crew size:
“This announcement by the Biden administration is welcome news for both the safety of railroad workers and the public,” DeFazio said. “I encourage the administration to align their proposals with the INVEST in America Act, which requires the risks be fully understood before allowing LNG to be transported by rail tank car and sets reasonable crew size requirements.”
“The two-crew rule will prevent accidents from occurring and save lives,” Donald M. Payne Jr. said. “The airline industry has required two pilots per flight for years and it has helped protect millions of passengers from harm. Two-person crews in the freight rail industry will protect freight trains and communities from a dangerous derailment. I applaud the Biden administration for continuing the great work of the Obama administration and supporting this policy nationwide.”
SMART-TD asks members to remain informed of the progress of the INVEST Act with its two-person crew requirement in the coming weeks and to be ready to get the word to their senators and to FRA about how both the conductor and the engineer are essential in safe rail operations in our country when the time comes.