WASHINGTON, DC — The US Department of Transporation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced that it is accepting applications for $25 million in competitive grant funding available to railroads, suppliers, and state and local governments for Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation. The funding is part of the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act that funds the US Department of Transportation.
“Positive train control is a long overdue technology that prevents accidents and saves lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These funds will help us get closer to implementing PTC, and I encourage applications that can make these limited dollars go as far as possible.”
Applications will be accepted until May 19, 2016, and FRA will give preference to projects that would provide the greatest level of public safety benefits. As part of the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal, FRA requested $1.25 billion to assist commuter and short line railroads with implementing PTC.
PTC prevents certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and trains going to the wrong tracks because a switch was left in the wrong position. In 2008, Congress mandated PTC implementation on certain railroad main lines where railroads transport poisonous-by-inhalation hazardous (PIH) or toxic-by-inhalation hazardous (TIH) materials, or any line where a railroad provides regularly scheduled passenger service. Last October, Congress extended the original deadline from December 31, 2015 to at least December 31, 2018.
“Any Congressional funding and investment to make Positive Train Control active on our nation’s railroad network is a worthwhile investment,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “But it will take even more significant funding to achieve this important, life-saving goal. We look forward to working with Congress to find these resources and encourage railroads to submit strong applications.”
Since 2008, FRA has provided significant assistance to support railroads’ PTC implementation. Those efforts include:
• Providing more than $650 million in grant funds to passenger railroads, including nearly $400 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding;
• Issuing a nearly $1 billion loan to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to implement PTC on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad;
• Building a PTC testbed at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado;
• Working directly with the Federal Communications Commission and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to resolve issues related to spectrum use and improve the approval process for PTC communication towers; and
• Dedicating staff to work on PTC implementation, including establishing a PTC task force.