House committees urge FCC movement on train safety system review

Washington – Leaders from two House committees are urging the Federal Communications Commission to expedite its process for giving railroads the go-ahead to install antennas that make up part of emergency train slowing and stopping systems known as positive train control.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act requires railroads to install PTC systems on more than 60,000 miles of safety-sensitive rail lines, including passenger lines and certain lines transporting hazardous materials, by Dec. 31, 2015. On Aug. 8, members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to FCC noting that the agency must complete reviews of up to 22,000 rail-side antennas before railroads can construct them. The letter said the agency has "essentially put on hold" the railroads' ability to meet the 2015 deadline by advising railroads to delay installation until FCC establishes a faster review process. The committees asked FCC to provide periodic progress updates.

PTC is on the National Transportation Safety Board’s list of “Most Wanted” transportation safety priorities for 2013.