Dear Chairman Thune:
We understand that the manager’s amendment on the Commerce Committee title of the bill authorizes $199 million in funding that can be used by public commuter railroads for grants, or to leverage financing, for the implementation of positive train control (PTC) systems. These funds are of critical importance as commuter railroads address the $3.5 billion in costs associated with installing PTC systems under the new deadline and process also included in the bill. APTA appreciates the committee’s effort to support implementation.
APTA’s commuter railroads support the implementation of PTC on all commuter and intercity passenger rail lines, but we do not believe that PTC can be implemented on the entire system by the current statutory deadline, despite good faith efforts. The funds provided in the bill, in conjunction with the authority for the Secretary to oversee implementation of PTC systems by the end of 2018, will help ensure that PTC is safely installed as quickly as possible. We do not think it makes sense for commuter railroads to cease operations on January 1, 2016 because they were unable to install PTC by the current deadline, despite their best efforts to implement this new technology.
Thank you for consideration of our views. We remain committed to PTC implementation and we look forward to working with Congress as it advances this important transportation bill. If you have questions, please contact Brian Tynan of APTA’s Government Affairs staff at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at (202) 496-4897.