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American Public Transportation Association

Transit News

9/17/2015

Contact:

Mantill Williams
202-496-4869
mwilliams@apta.com

APTA Says GAO Report Provides Further Evidence that Congress Should Act Now to Extend Positive Train Control Deadline

Statement by American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Michael Melaniphy

“A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released yesterday provides strong evidence that Congress needs to act now to extend the deadline beyond December 31, 2015 for implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) for the nation’s railroads. 

Safety is the number one priority of the public transportation industry and the commuter railroads are 100 percent committed to developing and installing PTC technology.  Therefore it is our goal that this technology and its many components are developed, installed, and tested successfully and safely. 

As this objective GAO analysis shows, despite the commuter rail industry’s best efforts, implementing PTC nationwide by the end of this year is not possible, which is why Congress should look to provide for an extension as soon as possible.  

The report supports what the industry, the Federal Railroad Administration and the GAO have said in the past: significant challenges of technology, spectrum, and funding make the end of year deadline unattainable.  These challenges still remain and APTA has shared the specific challenges commuter railroads are facing with the Senate and House Committee leaders.  

We support efforts in Congress to craft an extension that would provide for the full effective interoperable implementation of this life-saving technology.  
We are also dedicated to working with Congress in appropriating the funding to assist the industry complying with this essential safety mandate.  The commuter rail industry has currently invested $950 million on PTC implementation and conservative estimates are that $3.48 billion is needed to complete the rollout nationwide.  Currently, Congress has only appropriated $50 million for this critical federal safety technology.

Congress should also take action to make the necessary spectrum available to those commuter railroads that have been unable to acquire it to date, as access to communications spectrum is controlled by the license holders, and as such not within the control of our public commuter agencies.

The time is now for Congress to act to extend the PTC deadline.  This action is crucial to avoid the disruption of millions of Americans who rely daily on commuter rail service as they commute to and from work.”  

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.  More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.


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