Last night I had dinner with Gov Elect Kelly and we went over rail labor priorities. We discussed two man legislation and I am cautiously optimistic, Key will be Senate and House leadership. I have a meeting scheduled with both respective chiefs of staff and Will Lawrence the Gov chief of staff. To be clear the Gov supports it and is working with us to counter the carriers on this issue.
I have reached out to LR's that have key legislators in their district and will begin a education campaign as soon as those LR's report back to me. I will keep you updated.
The big news, I have a a commitment for new funding for passenger rail expansion in the state of Kansas. Gov Kelly will allocate $30 million dollars in her proposed Tworks budget under the new Tworks bill this is a ten year plan.
Whats this mean? Because this funding will now likely be in an appropriations bill there is now no need for us to introduce stand alone legislation. We along with allies (The Northern Flyer Alliance, and the Kansas chapter of NARP, which I'm on the board of NFA) will become proponents of this portion of the bill.
Brothers and sisters this is a big news and reward for years of building relationships and our hard work. This is the first time Kansas has ever funded passenger rail. The jobs and network expansion will be huge. We are not out of the woods yet but were going full speed and definitely on offense. The BNSF is firmly against this legislation.
As the legislation progress I will keep you up to date.
As always if you have any questions feel free to contact this office at your convenience.
United Transportation Union - SMART
Kansas Legislative Director
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