Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Railroads that fail to meet year-end safety deadline could face $25,000 fine per day for each violation

Railroads that fail to meet a year-end deadline to install a new collision avoidance system could be facing major fines from the Federal Railroad Administration, Curtis Tate reports for McClatchy Newspapers. "Congress mandated Positive Train Control in 2008, but most of the nation’s commuter and freight railroads won’t have the system ready by Dec. 31. The technology is required for about 60,000 miles of track, including those that carry passengers or chemicals that are poisonous or toxic by inhalation."

"A push in Congress to extend the deadline by three to five years has stalled, and lawmakers aren’t scheduled to return to the Capitol until next month," Tate writes. If Congress doesn't extend the deadline, beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, railroads "that have failed to install Positive Train Control on the required track segments face fines up to $25,000 a day for each violation."

The American Public Transportation Association said only 29 percent of railroads will meet the deadline, and some will need as long as five years to comply, Tate writes. Michael Melaniphy, the association’s president and CEO, told Tate, “Despite the commuter rail industry’s best efforts, implementing PTC nationwide by the end of this year is not possible.” (Read more)

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