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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Virginia Miller

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


“The commuter rail industry is 100 percent committed to developing and installing positive train control (PTC) technology.  Despite the commuter rail industry’s best efforts, implementing PTC nationwide by the end of this year is not possible.  This was never a realistic deadline because of the significant challenges -- technology, spectrum, and funding -- that still remain to successfully and safely implement PTC.
“It is important to note that when Congress passed the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) and mandated PTC, the technology available then was not mature and did not meet all the requirements of the statute.  

“In addition, as explained in the new Federal Railroad Administration report, commuter rail systems have had a significant challenge in acquiring radio spectrum.  PTC is a communications intense technology which requires radio spectrum to transmit data between trains and communications towers.  APTA has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allocate free spectrum for commuter railroads as a public safety priority, but so far, it has refused to do so.  Congress can solve this problem by directing the FCC to make the necessary spectrum available.

“Last but not least, the commuter rail industry has already spent $950 million on PTC implementation and conservative estimates are that $3.48 billion is needed to complete implementation nationwide.  Currently, Congress has only appropriated $50 million for this critical federal safety technology.”

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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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