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T&I Members Urge House Hearing Following Deadly Metro-North Derailment

Dec 6, 2013
Press Release
Maloney Urges FCC to Issue Guidance on Spectrum

Washington, D.C. -  Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials urging that the subcommittee hold a hearing focused specifically on rail safety. Joined by Representatives Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Tim Bishop (NY-01) and Jerrod Nadler (NY-10), the letter follows four recent Metro-North accidents including the train derailment early Sunday morning that killed four people, injured dozens, and impacted thousands throughout New York’s Hudson Valley region.

The Members wrote, “This shocking incident is made all the more tragic by the fact that it was likely preventable. When combined with this year’s other rail safety incidents, it creates the perception of an unacceptably dangerous status quo. Out of respect for rail employees and passengers everywhere, especially those harmed last Sunday, we urgently request that the Committee or Subcommittee hold a hearing to investigate what steps can be taken to prevent such tragedies from happening again.”

In light of recent accidents, the Members urged the committee to evaluate the program and consider whether existing safety measures should be strengthened, especially since the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was allowed to expire on October 1, 2013, leaving our nation’s rail safety program in need of reauthorization.

In addition, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney wrote to the FCC expressing his concern over potential radio communication spectrum issues that are currently standing in the way of implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) systems by railroads across the country.

Rep. Maloney wrote, “In order to effectively and efficiently implement a comprehensive PTC system on these system, I request that the FCC work in concert with the Department of Transportation to provide guidance to all commuter railroad seeking sufficient spectrum and address any other outstanding concerns. It is imperative that we address these issues before additional lives are lost.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Maloney announced legislation, the Commuter Rail Passenger Safety Act, to help commuter rail lines like Metro-North fund and implement positive train control (PTC) systems.