Rail Federal agencies

Lawmakers seek to extend deadline for Positive Train Control

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Washington – A bipartisan group of lawmakers is proposing to extend the Dec. 31 deadline for railroads to implement Positive Train Control technology – an integrated system for controlling train movements, including emergency braking.

Introduced Sept. 30 by members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act (H.R. 3651) would extend the deadline for full implementation to the end of 2018.

Most railroads will miss the current PTC deadline because of costs and technological glitches, federal officials testified earlier this year. The Federal Railroad Administration said it would penalize railroads for missing the deadline unless instructed otherwise by Congress.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said a deadline extension is necessary.

“Completion of the Positive Train Control mandate by the end of the year is not achievable, and extending the deadline is essential to preventing significant disruptions of both passenger and freight rail service across the country,” Shuster said in a press release. “Railroads must implement this important but complicated safety technology in a responsible manner, and we need to give them the necessary time to do so.”