WASHINGTON – One of many first duties President-elect Joe Biden will face when taking workplace can be to carry again an economic system crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the many sectors hardest hit: journey. The U.S. journey economic system has misplaced an estimated $ 500 billion for the reason that pandemic started final March – a day by day lack of $ 1.75 billion, in response to the U.S. Journey Affiliation.
Biden has vowed to take quite a lot of steps to revive the nation's confidence in journey. Listed below are a few of the steps he was requested or dedicated to taking.
A BIGGER ROLE IN HEALTH FOR DOT
On the onset of the pandemic, transport teams pleaded with U.S. Division of Transportation officers to demand that airways and different transportation firms present employees with protecting gear and demand their use.
However the DOT made it clear: its position was to coordinate with different businesses and supply a regulatory setting that facilitates the transport of products and companies.
"Whereas the FAA stays steadfast in its give attention to flight security, we’re not a public well being company," FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson wrote on the finish of March, on the request from the Worldwide President of the Air Line Pilots Affiliation, Joe DePete, to make the CDC's workforce safety pointers obligatory. of the unfold of the coronavirus.
Three months later, the message was unchanged. "The DOT isn’t a public well being company," a DOT spokesperson mentioned after transport employees complained to a Home panel in regards to the absence of 1. such requirement.
The declare, mentioned Sara Nelson, worldwide president of the Affiliation of Flight Attendants-CWA, is "100% absurd."
The DOT took the initiative to ban e-cigarettes from airways, she mentioned. He has performed a serious position in serving to to stem the transmission of Ebola. And the Federal Occupational Safety and Well being Administration has been arguing since not less than 1999 that, as a result of the DOT oversees airways, it has no jurisdiction over plane crews.
Greg Regan, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO's transportation trades division, mentioned Biden and transportation secretary candidate Pete Buttigieg would doubtless take a extra aggressive method.
“The DOT is a public well being company,” Regan mentioned. "He has a duty for public well being in our transportation system."
Whereas practically all passenger airways have instituted some masks requirement for passengers, Nelson mentioned Biden's promise to require masks on all interstate journey would supply much-needed consistency.
For instance, some airways didn’t initially ban facial valve masks, though most have since determined to take action. Different airways have various insurance policies on medical exemptions or masks necessities for younger youngsters.
In October, Biden promised to institute a nationwide masks tenure, and he has since mentioned he’ll ask Individuals to hitch him for 100 masks days after he’s sworn in.
That's a stark distinction from Trump's White Home, which rejected a common masks requirement on public transportation.
In July, the White Home opposed a spending invoice that included an modification from Rep. David E. Worth, DN.C., chair of the Transportation, Housing and Growth Credit score subcommittee city, requiring masks on airplanes. , trains and buses.
The DOT additionally rejected a petition from a bunch referred to as the "Flyers Rights Training Fund" asking for a masks warrant at airports and for US airways, saying the division felt "there shouldn't be have extra laws than needed ”.
Nelson mentioned a lot of the heavy lifting has already been completed, with most airways requiring masks. Now, she mentioned, a federal mandate that can create uniformity "is process primary".
Within the days following the September 11 assaults, the federal authorities issued a unified message: in the event you see one thing, they urged, say one thing.
Such a message is likely one of the most essential issues the federal authorities can do to construct confidence in journey after the pandemic has handed, analysts say.
Martina Jones-Johnson, founding member and board member of the Black Journey Alliance, mentioned standardizing the principles – and a transparent message about these guidelines – would assist individuals who must journey discover the easiest way to journey. do it safely.
"America typically – we’re only a very individualistic tradition," she mentioned. “Regardless that we are saying we're all in the identical boat, lots of people don't assume so. Maybe a unifying message may make us really feel extra collectively.
However messaging, she warns, can solely go very far.
“We’d like one thing to do away with this virus,” she says. "That is once we will begin to journey so much."
VACCINATE TRANSPORT WORKERS
Whereas employee teams representing transport employees say they’ve little interest in getting forward of healthcare employees or susceptible populations, they’ve made it clear that their members needs to be a precedence inhabitants for them. COVID-19 vaccines.
"We completely advocate that flight attendants be among the many first to be vaccinated," mentioned Nelson, who added that transportation employees are on the entrance strains and due to this fact extra more likely to be uncovered.
Tori Emerson Barnes, govt vp of public affairs and coverage for the U.S. Journey Affiliation, argues that sure points of the journey business needs to be given precedence as a result of frequent interactions with the general public. It consists of airline employees, hoteliers and restaurateurs.
"In the event that they have been capable of get vaccinated, it provides higher safety to those that are on the transfer," she mentioned. "It will scale back the danger of different folks getting the virus."
At the same time as Congress labored late final yr to finish a $ 908 billion coronavirus aid invoice with $ 45 billion in assist for the journey business, Biden mentioned it was only a 'down cost' on what was wanted to jumpstart the economic system.
The aid, which incorporates $ 15 billion to revive payroll refunds to airways, will solely final till March. The regulation additionally offers $ 1 billion for airline contractors, $ 2 billion for airports and concessionaires, $ 14 billion for public transit, $ 10 billion for nationwide highways, $ 1 billion for Amtrak and $ 2 billion for buses, coaches and ferries.
Barnes mentioned further stimulus funding in a Biden presidency would assist information the economic system by means of the rest of the pandemic.
"To get folks transferring, we want a relentless restoration to get by means of subsequent yr," she mentioned, saying the package deal adopted in December was "a bridge to 2021".
For some modes, like airways, this was the second installment of funding. The primary spherical of $ 25 billion of airline payroll financing, which was a part of the $ 2 trillion stimulus invoice, expired in October, leading to tens of hundreds of leaves.
Nelson mentioned that many returning employees on depart should be recertified and re-accredited, and that by the point that’s completed, the brand new spherical of aids will expire.
"We noticed how damaging it was to let this error slip away," she mentioned. "We can’t let this occur once more."
(c) Roll name 2021 CQ
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