U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Changes to Positive Train Control Regulations that Will Ensure Safety, Allow Flexibility and Save Money

Press Release

By:  Ray LaHood
Date: May 10, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced changes to regulations governing the installation of positive train control (PTC) equipment that will give railroads additional flexibility, save money and maintain a high level of safety.

"Under President Obama's leadership, the Department of Transportation is committed to ensuring the safety of our nation's railroads while reducing regulatory barriers," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "These changes will provide significant regulatory relief, while ensuring that safety remains our highest priority."

PTC is a system of integrated technologies capable of preventing collisions, over-speed derailments and unintended train movements.

Earlier this year, President Obama called for a government-wide review of regulations in order to identify those that needed to be changed or removed because they were unnecessary, out-of-date, excessively burdensome or overly costly.

"As a result of this review, the revised regulations will provide greater flexibility to railroads and save hundreds of millions of dollars even as they improve rail safety," said FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. "The steps we are taking will continue the momentum achieved in implementing PTC."

Under the revisions announced today, railroads will no longer have to conduct risk analyses to obtain approval to not install PTC or take other costly risk mitigation measures on an estimated 10,000 miles of track that will not carry passenger trains or poison inhalation hazard (PIH) commodities after December 2015. Railroads are expected to save approximately $335 million over the first five years, and up to $775 million over 20 years, by utilizing safety measures other than PTC, where appropriate.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) mandates widespread installation of PTC systems by December 2015 on rail lines which carry at least five million gross tons of freight annually, on Class I railroads that ship PIH commodities, and on lines where intercity passenger rail and commuter service is regularly operated.

To read more about this rule, visit this link: (http://www.fra.dot.gov/rcc/content/pages/FRA%20PTC%20Rule%203%20(to%20FR)%20III.pdf)

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