Contact:Scott Jensen, (202) 249-6511

WASHINGTON (Sept. 16, 2015) - The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is holding a confirmation hearing this Thursday to consider Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg to be the next administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The FRA is responsible for implementing the requirements under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which includes the installation of positive train control (PTC). PTC is a GPS-based system that is designed to prevent train collisions and derailments. The Association of American Railroads, the Government Accountability Office, and the FRA have clearly stated that the railroads will not be able to implement PTC by the December 31, 2015, deadline.

ACC President and CEO  Cal Dooley issued the following statement urging the new FRA administrator and Congress to support immediate action on a reasonable extension for PTC implementation:

"The United States is facing an unprecedented shutdown of freight rail service that will send a shock wave through our economy if Congress fails to act swiftly on Positive Train Control (PTC). It is abundantly clear that the railroads will not be able to meet their deadline to implement PTC. Furthermore, despite their common carrier obligation to provide service, most major railroads have stated that they will shut down large portions of their rail lines unless the deadline is extended.

"A transportation shut down of this magnitude would have cascading impacts that would threaten the nation's food, energy and water supplies, as well as manufacturing, construction and nearly every other sector of the U.S. economy. Even allowing the deadline to approach will have severe consequences as companies need time to adjust transportation plans in the face of a shutdown of freight rail service.

"We strongly urge Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg to publicly state her support for a responsible extension for PTC implementation to members of the Committee during this week's hearing. And, we call on Congress to swiftly pass legislation that will set a workable deadline for the railroads to install PTC and avoid bringing rail service and the American economy to a standstill."


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