(a)Findings.—Congress finds that—
affordable public transportation is essential to the economic vitality of the national capital area and is an essential component of regional efforts to improve air quality to meet environmental requirements and to improve the health of both residents of and visitors to the national capital area as well as to preserve the beauty and dignity of the Nation’s capital;
use of mass transit by both residents of and visitors to the national capital area is substantially affected by the prices charged for mass transit services, prices that are substantially affected by labor costs, since more than two-thirds of operating costs are attributable to labor costs;
labor costs incurred in providing mass transit in the national capital area have increased at an alarming rate and wages and benefits of operators and mechanics currently are among the highest in the Nation;
higher operating costs incurred for public transit in the national capital area cannot be offset by increasing costs to patrons, since this often discourages ridership and thus undermines the public interest in promoting the use of public transit;
spiraling labor costs cannot be offset by the governmental entities that are responsible for subsidy payments for public transit services since local governments generally, and the District of Columbia government in particular, are operating under severe fiscal constraints;
imposition of mandatory standards applicable to arbitrators resolving arbitration disputes involving interstate compact agencies operating in the national capital area will ensure that wage increases are justified and do not exceed the ability of transit patrons and taxpayers to fund the increase; and
federal legislation is necessary under section 8 of Article I of the United States Constitution to balance the need to moderate and lower labor costs while maintaining industrial peace.
The purpose of this chapter is to adopt standards governing arbitration that must be applied by arbitrators resolving disputes involving interstate compact agencies operating in the national capital area in order to lower operating costs for public transportation in the Washington metropolitan area.