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ATDA opposes waiver requests from CN and CPKC which would extend their permission to Dispatch US Railroads from Canada

Cleveland, Ohio – On July 8, 2024, ATDA President Ed Dowell submitted letters to the United States Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that expressed opposition to recent waiver requests submitted by both the Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) railroads. If the waiver requests are granted, the two railroad carriers would be permitted to continue Dispatching U.S. trains, moving on U.S. soil, from locations in Canada.

Although the waiver requests seek permission to continue Dispatching only about forty-seven miles of U.S. track from outside the nation’s borders, they clearly represent a dangerous, foot-in-the-door vulnerability. Allowing corporations to Dispatch trains from another country provides a means of bypassing regulatory oversight that protects this nation’s citizens. It places work of the highest safety-critical nature in the hands of people who are not only outside the borders of the United States, but also potentially outside of the accountability our laws provide. They do not fall under the scope of the FRA’s new Dispatcher Certification standards, and it is unclear if they are even subject to random drug and alcohol screening.

Furthermore, these two rail carriers, which together posted almost $2 billion in net income during the first quarter of 2024, must not be allowed to continue exporting U.S. jobs. Their success is built on the railroad network of the United States. Their profit is drawn from the economy of the United States. Their safety is only secured by employees, including Train Dispatchers, in the United States. Their Dispatching functions, therefore, must be operated from within the United States. These waivers must be denied.

Expressing his firm opposition to the waivers, ATDA President Dowell said the “Waivers would only amount to a substantial step backwards for rail safety in the United States. We not only ask FRA to say no to these waivers, but to remain vigilant against further action by railroads that jeopardizes this nation’s rail safety. I also want to thank ATDA Vice President Brandon Denucci for his work in protecting our members’ interests in this issue.”

Read Dowell’s full letters to FRA below: