2020 Washington Freight Stakeholder Group / JTC, Workforce Group – Appointments

To all members,

I wanted to bring the following to your attention which will allow further inroads to be established on the state-level, as it applies to safety and operating practices of the railroad industry in Washington State.

I was recently recommended by the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union, Washington Area District Council – President, Dan McKisson, to the WSDOT – Director of Rail, Freight and Ports Division – Ron Pate, for the appointment as the Railroad Labor Representative of the WSDOT, Washington Freight Stakeholder Group.

Additionally, I have been appointed as the Railroad Labor Representative to the House and Senate, Joint Transportation Committee of Washington State -Workforce Group, Addressing Rail Safety Governance in Washington State. This was directly achieved through the “ask” that I made to the Prime Sponsor of SHB 2287 prior to the House Transportation, Public Hearing addressing this bill, in the Legislative Session of 2020. Representative Mari Leavitt of the 28th Legislative District, made the consideration at that moment to add a representative(s) of labor, as a stakeholder(s) to the statute, which became law through a state budget provision.

As this will be the first time railroad labor has been included in either stakeholder group, safe rail operations, the implementation of technology, and the systemic issues of the railroad industry will be conveyed to Legislators from a boots to the ground perspective, with a real-time assessment of how to better address these and other issues that surround our workplace, as it pertains to both freight and passenger rail in Washington state.

My participation in each will span over the next four to five-months. If you have applicable thoughts or feedback that I may bring to the attention of the WSDOT Freight Stakeholder Group and the study consultants of the Joint Transportation Committee, please email them to me, and CC your Division Legislative Representative as well.

It is better known that if you do not have a seat at the table, then you are on the menu; our reservations have been made….

Please see below for your understanding:

2020 Washington Freight Stakeholder Group

The 2020 Washington State Legislature directed WSDOT to convene a freight stakeholder group to develop recommendations for creating a Washington freight advisory committee. The proposed committee will follow federal requirements found in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and other relevant legislation.

This Stakeholder Group will define the committee’s purpose and goals, roles and responsibilities, reporting structure and proposed activities. It also will suggest ways the committee can improve freight mobility, address insufficient truck parking, examine the link between preservation investments and freight mobility and enhance freight logistics through the application of technology.


2019 Washington State Rail Plan

The 2019 Washington State Rail Plan (pdf 19 mb) is being finalized and will be published in June 2020. The plan focuses on both freight and passenger rail in Washington state by analyzing existing rail systems, identifying trends, outlining suggested strategies and setting forth an investment plan for infrastructure and equipment.

SHB 2287 – Addressing the assessment of rail safety governance in Washington state.

***The Joint Transportation Committee has been instructed to conduct the following listed below as it pertains to rail safety governance in Washington state***.

(5)(a)$235,000 of the multimodal transportation account—state1 appropriation is for the joint transportation committee to oversee a consultant study on rail safety governance best practices, by class of rail where applicable, and recommendations for the implementation of these best practices in Washington state. The study must assess rail safety governance for passenger and freight rail, including rail transit services, and must consider recommendations made by the national transportation safety board in its 2017 Amtrak passenger train 501 derailment accident report that are relevant to rail safety governance.

(b)The study must include the following components:

(i)(A)An assessment of rail safety oversight in Washington state that includes: (I)The rail safety oversight roles of federal, state, regional, and local agencies, including the extent to which federal and state laws govern these roles and the extent to which these roles would be modified should the suspended federal rules in 49 C.F.R. Part 270 take effect; (II)federal, state, regional, and local agency organizational structures and processes utilized to conduct rail safety oversight; and (III)coordination activities by federal, state, regional, and local agencies in conducting rail safety oversight;

(B)An examination of rail safety governance best practices by other states for the items identified in (a)of this subsection; and (C)Recommendations for the implementation of best practices for rail safety governance in Washington state. (ii)The study must address the extent to which additional safety oversight of rail project design and construction is used in other states and would be a recommended best practice for Washington state.

(c)The joint transportation committee shall consult with the Washington state department of transportation, the Washington state utilities and transportation commission, sound transit, the national transportation safety board, Amtrak, the federal railroad administration, BNSF railway company, one or more representatives of short line railroads, one or more representatives of labor, and other entities with rail safety expertise as necessary.

(d)The joint transportation committee must issue a report of its findings and recommendations on rail safety governance to the transportation committees of the legislature by January 6, 2021.


***The Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) was created during the 2005 Legislative Session. The purpose of the Committee is to review and research transportation programs and issues to better inform state and local government policymakers, including legislators.

The JTC’s executive committee consists of the chairs and ranking members of the House Transportation Committee and the Senate Transportation Committee. The chairs of the House and Senate Transportation Committees serve as co-chairs of the JTC. Other legislators who are not JTC members may serve on JTC working groups depending on the subject matter of the committee’s oversight and research projects.

Fyi – I have participated in the first meeting of each forum, so far so good.

***Be sure to cast your Primary Election Ballots, they must be in by today – Tuesday, August 4, 2020. No later then 8:00 pm at the Ballot Drop Box. Locate one in your area and make your Vote count!!***

Thank you.

– Shahraim


Shahraim C. Allen
Chairperson / Legislative Director
Washington State Legislative Board
Legislative Representative, Division 238, Tacoma, WA
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Rail ConferenceTeamsters 313 Building
220 South 27th Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
253-961-1021 – cell

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen – Washington State Legislative Board, IBT-Rail Conference: Division 238, Tacoma-Auburn-Centralia, WA / Division 518, Seattle-Everett-Bellingham, WA / Division 892, Tukwila-Seattle, WA / Division 60, Seattle-Spokane, WA / Division 104, Spokane, WA / Division 443, Spokane, WA / Division 402, Pasco-Kennewick, WA / Division 58, Wishram, WA / Division 758, Vancouver, WA

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