Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

A Request for Rail Safety

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 7:26 p.m.

As Washington-area emergency officials respond to this afternoon's Metro crash in Northeast Washington, an e-mail calling attention to train safety issues arrived a short time ago in The Eye's inbox:

"CHAIRMAN ROCKEFELLER AND SENATOR BOXER REQUEST RAIL SAFETY FUNDING: Grants Could be Used to Install Positive Train Control Technology."

Sens. John D. Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the Senate's Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee asking that it provide full funding for the development of a system to monitor and control train movements, known as "positive train control." The bill calls for $50 million in funding for the program.

"This new program will provide critical funding for the implementation of positive train control and other necessary safety improvements," the lawmakers wrote (see full letter below).

The pair note that Congress passed rail safety legislation last October, following a deadly crash between a commuter rail train and a freight train in Southern California that killed 25 people and injured 138. Positive train control technologies would have prevented the deadly crash, according to the initial findings of a National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) accident investigation.

Rockfeller's committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Tuesday about the future of high-speed passenger rail -- a different type of rail service than the commuter/subway service provided by Metro.

Here's the full press release and letter from Sens. Rockefeller and Boxer:
---

CHAIRMAN ROCKEFELLER AND SENATOR BOXER REQUEST RAIL SAFETY FUNDING
Grants Could be Used to Install Positive Train Control Technology

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) wrote to a key Senate Committee and requested at least $50 million in funding for a new railroad safety technology grant program, created by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

This grant program provides funding for necessary safety improvements, including the installation of positive train control (PTC) technology.

The full text of the Senators’ letter follows:

June 22, 2009

The Honorable Patty Murray
Chairman
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee
142 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Christopher Bond
Ranking Member
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee
128 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Madam Chairman Murray and Ranking Member Bond:

We respectfully request that the railroad safety technology grants program authorized in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) (P.L. 110-432) be fully funded, at a minimum, in the Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10) Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. These grants were authorized at $50 million for FY10. This new program will provide critical funding for the implementation of positive train control and other necessary safety improvements.

Last October, Congress passed the RSIA following the tragic collision of a commuter rail train and a freight train in Southern California that killed 25 people and left 138 injured. Based on the facts revealed in the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) initial accident investigation, if positive train control had been installed on the tracks that are shared by commuter and freight rail trains, the accident could have been prevented. RSIA requires that positive train control be implemented on main lines where intercity passenger rail and commuter rail trains operate and over which poison-or toxic-by-inhalation hazardous materials are transported.

More commuters are turning to commuter rail today than ever before. In these tough economic times, with many commuter rail agencies facing budget cuts, funding for the railroad safety technology grants is vital to ensure that important safety measures continue to be implemented.

We cannot afford to delay the implementation of positive train control and other life saving safety measures on our nation’s busiest commuter-freight rail corridors. We respectfully request you fully fund the railroad safety technology grants for FY10, at a minimum, at the authorized amount. Thank you for your consideration of this important request.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

John D. Rockefeller IV
United States Senator

###

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 22, 2009; 7:19 PM ET
Categories:  Congress  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: United They Serve
Next: Eye Opener: Smaller vs. Bigger Gov't

No comments have been posted to this entry.

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company