WASHINGTON – After New York’s deadly train derailment,
"Sunday’s crash was preventable,’’ Feinstein, a Democrat, said in a letter to Sen.
Feinstein championed 2008 legislation that set a Dec. 31, 2015, deadline for railroads to install "positive train control’’ after a
The railroad industry has been lobbying lawmakers to extend the deadline to 2020, citing the cost of at least $10 billion and the complexity of implementing the system on about 60,000 miles of track nationwide.
"The fact remains that a revolutionary technology the size and magnitude of what Congress mandated will simply not be fully tested and ready by the 2015 deadline,'' the Assn. of American Railroads said in a statement. "We are working as fast and as safely as we can to install positive train control, but we must be honest and realistic about what is and is not possible.''
Feinstein said the system would very likely have prevented the derailment in the
But it said that putting the system in place by the 2015 deadline would be "very difficult for the
"Much of the technology is still under development and is untested and unproven for commuter railroads the size and complexity of Metro-North and [Long Island Rail Road], and all of the radio spectrum necessary to operate PTC has not been made available,'' the statement says.
Some railroads complain that Congress hasn't followed through on its pledge to provide $250 million to help pay for the technology, providing $50 million so far.
"Congress needs to do its part,'' the American Public Transportation Assn. said. "Without additional funds, most commuter rail systems, which are all public agencies, will be constrained in their ability to proceed as quickly as possible.''