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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Railroad Workers Lose In Washington Legislature For Third Time

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File photo of the Washington Senate chamber.

For the third year in a row, railroad workers in Washington have been dealt a defeat in the legislature.

The state Senate Tuesday killed a proposal to further regulate shuttle companies that transport rail crews by van and SUV.

Senate transportation committee chair, Republican Curtis King, said he believes the union-backed measure was designed to put the shuttle companies out of business.

“They want to call it a safety bill and when you read it I think it’s more about other things than safety,” he said. “Safety may be an element of it, but I think it goes way beyond that.”

King said he especially objected to a provision in the measure that required shuttle companies to carry multi-million dollar uninsured motorist coverage.

The bill faced opposition from the shuttle industry and the railroads. A representative of the railroad union countered that the goal of the proposal was to protect workers and says the union won’t give up on the issue.