Congressman Sean Maloney

Representing the 18th District of New York

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Maloney Commends Initial NTSB Safety Recommendations Following Metro-North Derailment

Feb 18, 2014
Press Release
Continues to Urge Passage of Commuter Rail Passenger Safety Act

Washington, D.C.Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) commended the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) initial recommendations following the December Metro-North accident. Specifically, the NTSB had three recommendations including installing inward and outward facing video and audio recorders, regularly reviewing recorder data and installing permanent speed restriction signs. Currently, the Federal Railroad Administration is nearing the conclusion of Operation Deep Dive, a 60-day safety review of Metro-North's protocols and procedures, including track and signal maintenance, inspection and repair, communication, and oversight of engineers.

“We can’t miss a single opportunity to keep commuters safe by investing in commonsense safety measures that will save lives,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Last year, 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.

“This strategic investment is critical to protecting the hundreds of thousands of riders that travel on Metro-North and systems like it every day,” 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.