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U.S. Regulator Enforcing Deadline for Train Safety

Kelsey Tucker1 year ago

According to Reuters, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is enforcing deadline for new train safety controls.

About the New Railroad Safety Regulations

“FRA feels strongly that the deadline of December 31, 2015, is an important mandate for the implementation of PTC (Positive Train Control) and our agency intends to enforce it,” says Sarah Feinberg, acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration as published by Reuters

The FRA told Congress on June 2 that railroad companies that fail to meet the December 31 deadline for installing new safety equipment could face U.S. government penalties. The new regulations are a response to the deadly Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia in May.

Washington's pledge of action is putting pressure on train operators to adopt safety technology that could have prevented the May 12 derailment. 

Sarah Feinberg, the acting administrator of the FRA, told the House of Representatives that although Amtrak is expected to meet the deadline, other train operators (such as commuter and freight lines) may not.

The major issue in the crash last month was the conduct of the train engineer, as the train hit speeds of 106 miles per hour in a 50-mph zone. The crash resulted in eight deaths and roughly 200 injuries.

Future of Regulations Uncertain 

Feinberg's agency wants Congress to help enforce interim safety measures for train operators that miss the deadline. It isn't clear yet whether legislation will be sent to the President or whether he would sign it into law. 

Obama issued a veto threat to a bill proposed in the Republican-controlled House that would begin Amtrak funding at $1.14 billion next year, or $262 million below the current level.

In order to “help bring Amtrak's Northeast Corridor infrastructure and equipment into a state of good repair,” Obama's 2016 budget requested $2.45 billion for rail services, among other things. 

Meanwhile, the House bill denies additional funding for safety inspectors.


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