Federal agencies Leadership Rail

Feinberg: FRA needs to be ‘vigilant in the pursuit of safety’

Sarah Feinberg
Sarah Feinberg

Washington – Sarah Feinberg faced difficult questions but earned steady praise from a Senate committee during the hearing on her nomination to lead the Federal Railroad Administration.

Feinberg described her plan for the agency on Sept. 17 before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. She has served as FRA’s acting administrator since January, and President Barack Obama nominated her in May to succeed former agency head Joseph C. Szabo.

Most of the questions from the Senate committee focused on a Dec. 31 deadline for railroads to implement Positive Train Control technologies. Feinberg reiterated FRA’s policy, which will be to levy fines and other penalties against railroads that miss the PTC deadline unless Congress grants an extension.

Feinberg said the agency needs to adapt to technologies and innovations to tackle challenges. She cited several areas of progress, such as FRA partnering with Mountain View, CA-based Google to produce audio and visual alerts for grade crossings on Google maps.

“I am pushing FRA each day to be vigilant in the pursuit of safety, and open to paths to innovation from any source,” Feinberg said in her opening remarks.

A Senate confirmation vote for Feinberg had not been scheduled as of press time.