City leaders worry about future projects amid potential nationwide railroad worker strike

Railroad strike could drive up city project costs
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT
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TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (WBRC) - A possible national railroad worker strike could be coming this week, causing more supply chain delays and higher prices for you. Thousands of rail workers might strike by Friday if they can’t reach a contract agreement with rail companies.

A long strike could cause empty store shelves and Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat said this could put the city’s projects in trouble. Experts said if rail workers strike this week, it could impact U.S. cargo, causing delivery wait times to increase along with the prices you pay.

Mayor Choat said this makes it hard for the city to calculate bids for upcoming projects. They’re working on the city’s fourth fire station, road projects and a new city hall. He said they’re estimating the cost based on current prices and delivery times, but if railroads see a strike, it could cost the city more money in the long run.

“We have projects going on right now that we are anticipating products being shipped in, and if they aren’t shipped in, it delays us and costs us and our vendors more money in the long run,” Choat said. “We think we know what this will cost, but if this happens, we may have to delay for a significant amount of time.”

This would only happen if the worker’s unions and the rail companies can’t come to an agreement, but some railroads are preparing early. Amtrak officials tell WBRC they plan to reduce some routes on September 13 to avoid any distributions.

“Today Amtrak announced that to avoid possible passenger disruptions while enroute it would be pre-emptively canceling trips over three Long Distance routes on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. Amtrak will begin suspending service for select Long Distance trains (Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, and the Train #421 [Los Angeles-San Antonio] portion of the Texas Eagle due to long duration) starting tomorrow. Amtrak is closely monitoring the ongoing freight rail – rail labor contract negotiations. The negotiations do not involve Amtrak or the Amtrak workforce. While we are hopeful that parties will reach a resolution, Amtrak has now begun phased adjustments to our service in preparation for a possible freight rail service interruption later this week. Such an interruption could significantly impact intercity passenger rail service, as Amtrak operates almost all of our 21,000 route miles outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads. These initial adjustments include the cancellation of three Long Distance routes on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, and could be followed by impacts to all Long Distance and most State-Supported routes. These adjustments are necessary to ensure trains can reach their terminals prior to freight railroad service interruption if a resolution in negotiations is not reached.”

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