Few railroads will have implemented Positive Train Control technology within the timeframe that Congress mandated years ago. That was a finding in a report issued yesterday by the Government Accountability Office on the December 31st deadline.
The technology provides a system for preventing train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments and incursions into established work zone limits.
Senator Richard Blumenthal says a blanket extension would only undermine and disincentivize railroads from complying. He instead is calling for deadline extensions to be granted based on need and upon proof that all efforts are being made to install the technology as quickly as possible.
Blumenthal says many of the railroads who will not meet the deadline are now threatening to stop service and shut down the economy if the deadline isn’t pushed back. He will be at a hearing today with the nominee to run the Federal Railroad Administration.
Connecticut owns the tracks that Metro North trains use in the state, and is responsible for paying for the safety system. But officials say that it won't be fully implemented until 2018. A state Department of Transportation spokesman says the state likely won't be fined as long as they can show progress is being made on installation of the sensors which can apply the brakes if a train is moving too fast for conditions.