Lipinski, Quigley urge fellow lawmakers to extend positive train control deadline
U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Dist. 3) and Mike Quigley (D-Dist. 5) joined leaders of the passenger- and freight-rail industry recently in urging Congress to take immediate action to extend the upcoming deadline for implementing positive train control (PTC) safety technology and prevent a shutdown of the nation’s passenger- and freight-rail systems.
“There is no way the railroads can meet the January 1 deadline, meaning America’s railroads would soon grind to a halt," Lipinski said. "This extension would provide an additional three years for railroads to install the technology and obtain bandwidth, but for any further extension -- up to a maximum of two years -- the railroads must meet benchmarks that demonstrate serious progress and investment. Congress must closely track the progress of the railroads to ensure that they are making sufficient investments in PTC so that they will complete installation as quickly as possible. Now that we have an agreement, we need Congress to pass this extension without delay, preferably next week, when we pass a short-term extension of the highway and transit reauthorization bill."
Quigley said Congress must act sooner than later.
"While the deadline for PTC implementation is the end of the year, preventing a major disruption of rail service requires Congress to act much sooner," Quigley said. "Shutting down the nation's rail network involves more than simply flipping a switch – it involves complex logistics and will take weeks to complete. Therefore, Congress cannot afford to wait until the last minute to act and should explore all legislative options to get the job done as soon as possible."