Maloney and Federal Railroad Administration Release “Operation Deep Dive” Report
Washington, D.C. – Joined by Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced a new report, “Operation Deep Dive,” which is a comprehensive safety assessment of Metro-North. Specifically, the report instructed Metro-North’s senior leadership must prioritize safety about all else and within 60 days, submit plans to improve both the safety department and training program.
"We need to have a culture of safety on the rail lines, and if this doesn't wake us all up, I don't know what will,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.
In December, Rep. Maloney’s introduced the Commuter Rail Passenger Safety Act which would explicitly allow commuter rail systems to apply for loans and loan guarantees to invest in Positive Train Control (PTC) systems for their existing lines through the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program. This existing program provides direct loans and loan guarantees of up to $35 billion to finance the development of critical railroad infrastructure. In addition, Rep. Maloney’s legislation would reauthorize the Railroad Safety Technology Grant Program and increase the total investments to half a billion dollars over the next five years. This program funds the deployment of train control technologies, electronically controlled pneumatic brakes, rail integrity warning systems, switch position indicators and monitors, and other new or novel railroad safety technology such as PTC. This program expired on October 1, 2013.
“We can’t get lost in a blizzard of short term solutions to problems that should have been fixed yesterday when we need long term investments to fix the problems of tomorrow,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “Installing positive train control systems in our commuter rail systems is the single most important step towards reducing human error and saving lives - the safety of our neighbors and families is too important to wait.”
In December, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro-North’s parent, applied for $1 billion in federal funding to pay for installation of PTC on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road. In 2008, Congress passed a law mandating positive train control systems for commuter and freight railroads, however there have been difficulties meeting this deadline due in part to funding issues. Since 2005, the NTSB has investigated 15 accidents in which 50 people were killed and 942 people were injured. In each of these accidents including the Metro-North derailment, the NTSB concluded that PTC would have provided critical redundancy that would have prevented the accident. Year after year, the NTSB has named PTC as one of its "most-wanted" initiatives for national transportation safety.