PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to improve rail safety, U.S. Senator Jack Reed is
meeting with transportation officials and urging enhanced safety measures and
increased track inspections for our national rail system.
Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing and
Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee, will hold a media availability at Providence
Station tomorrow, Tuesday, October 4 at 11:15 a.m., and provide a status update on
efforts to improve rail safety.
Reed will highlight the need to accelerate adoption of safety technology,
specifically Positive Train Control (PTC), which uses a network of radio
communications and wayside signals to monitor train positions. PTC is capable of
automatically slowing speeding trains to prevent derailments, collisions, and other
Reed will discuss a recent report by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA),
which found that some rail companies and public transportation systems have made
substantial progress in implementing PTC, while other systems have lagged. He will
also note the efforts in Rhode Island to ensure compliance with federal PTC
requirements, including Amtrak’s investments to implement PTC throughout the
Northeast Corridor (NEC).
Last year, Reed supported the FAST Act, which authorized $199 million in fiscal
year 2017 for PTC implementation at commuter railroads like the Massachusetts Bay
Transportation Authority (MBTA). In the FY 17 Senate THUD Appropriations bill, Reed
ensured commuter railroads will be allowed to use this funding to pay the fees for a
low-interest government loan to install PTC. There is more than $30 billion
available for loans from the Department of Transportation under the Rail
Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Loan Program for PTC and other rail
Additionally, in the FY 17 Senate THUD bill, Reed helped provide $50 million in rail
safety and infrastructure grants; $40.1 million for Railroad Research and
Development to improve technology and techniques for rail safety and service; and
$20 million for state of good repair grants for passenger railroads on the NEC.
Amtrak’s funding was increased by $30 million from FY16 to provide a total of $1.42
billion on the Northeast Corridor and National Network. That increase will allow
for better maintenance, service, and safety throughout America’s passenger rail
system. Reed also helped provide $10.5 million for the FRA’s Automatic Track
Inspection Program (ATIP), which provides technologically advanced track inspections
throughout the nation’s freight and passenger railroads to prevent derailments.