Balderson Introduces Latest Workforce Bill to Help Keep America's Trains Running On-Time

Press Release

Date: July 29, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Transportation

Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-12) introduced the Rail Employee Training Modernization Act today, aimed at eliminating cumbersome red tape by allowing aspiring freight rail employees to complete certain training requirements virtually.

"This is yet another example of the ways government bureaucracy is making the ongoing supply chain problems worse, not better," said Rep. Balderson. "Modernizing these requirements should be a no-brainer. We must take every possible step to streamline regulatory barriers that are worsening labor shortages in the freight rail industry, without compromising safety, standards, or effectiveness."

Classroom-based instruction is only made available when a large enough cohort of new hires is available to fill a classroom. This antiquated model contributes to delayed entry into the workforce and ultimately contributes to the shortage of available workers, which is worsening the ongoing supply chain crisis.

Existing regulations require applicants to enroll in centralized classroom instruction, often far away from their homes and employers. This outdated requirement presents a significant barrier to entry into the freight rail industry, which is already experiencing severe labor shortages.

"Typically, it can take up to 6 months for a newly hired conductor to complete the classroom, simulator, and on-the-job training before than can begin work in the field. Rep. Balderson's commonsense legislation will help accelerate the process by allowing the classroom session to go virtual," said Ian Jefferies, president and CEO of the American Association of Railroads. "At a time when railroads are doing everything possible to get new railroaders safely into the field, this smart solution would go a long way to helping the industry reach that goal without compromising safety."