Aug. 16 — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will award $25 million in grant funding to help six states install anti-collision, anti-derailment safety systems known as positive train control.
States receiving grants include California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas. The District of Columbia also will receive more than $5 million in grant funding to assist with PTC implementation on Amtrak and small railroads. A total of 11 projects will be financed with the grants.
FRA announced plans to award the grants in April as part of bipartisan spending legislation (Pub. L. No. 114-113) enacted at the end of last year.
The agency said it received 30 applications requesting $90.6 million, which is about four times the amount provided. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Congress should authorize more PTC grant funding.
The Obama administration has been pushing for a greater federal investment to help passenger rail providers meet the Dec. 31, 2018, deadline for PTC implementation. In his fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, the President Barack Obama requested $1.25 billion for rail safety programs and PTC implementation.
“These grants get us a bit closer to implementing positive train control—a long overdue technology that prevents accidents and saves lives,” Foxx said. “We will continue to do everything in our power to help railroads install this technology. We encourage Congress to fully fund the president’s request for significant funds to help more railroads activate PTC.”
Last year, Congress authorized $199 million in competitive grants for commuter railroads, which have struggled to install PTC with federal and state appropriations. The Transportation Department announced last month that railroads would have until the end of September to apply for that funding (See previous story, 07/29/16).
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