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Maloney Announces Key Investment to Speed Up Implementation of Positive Train Control in NY

Apr 13, 2015
Press Release

Newburgh, NY – Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced a $3,000,000 federal investment to speed up implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) in New York along Amtrak’s Empire Line. PTC is a simple GPS and Wi-Fi technology that can stop or slow trains remotely. This critical, life-saving technology will not only prevent train-to-train collisions, but could also allow for detection of grade-crossing malfunctions or objects on the tracks.

“Implementing positive train control on commuter rails is the single most important thing we can do to prevent accidents and save lives,” said Rep. Maloney. “This grant is a critical investment in our transportation systems that prioritizes the safety of the thousands of my neighbors, and I look forward to continue fighting for implementation of this commonsense GPS and Wi-Fi technology on all rail systems.”

Specifically, this Department of Transportation grant will provide conceptual engineering and environmental work necessary to proceed expeditiously in implementing the PTC system on Amtrak’s Empire Line from Poughkeepsie, NY to Hoffmann's, NY near Albany.

This year, the House of Representatives passed Maloney’s legislation, Commuter Rail Passenger Safety Act, which would help finance positive train control systems for commuter rail systems. Passed as part of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act (PRRIA), this legislation would make all positive train control installations "priority projects" as part of the $35 billion Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program that currently provides loans and loan guarantees to railroads.

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 more than a dozen accidents in which dozens people were killed and more than a thousand people were injured. In each of these accidents, the NTSB concluded that PTC would have provided critical redundancy that would have prevented the accident. Following the fatal Metro-North Derailment in December 2013, NTSB announced that PTC could have prevented the accident. Year after year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has named PTC as one of its "most-wanted" initiatives for national transportation safety.