02/08/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/08/2018 17:40
WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, led a group of U.S. House members in urging the Administration to fully fund the request of Amtrak's National Network of partners-including funding for infrastructure to facilitate host railroad Positive Train Control (PTC)-in the President's Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, the members made the case that private railroads in the National Network-which own the vast majority of the track on which Amtrak operates-must meet Amtrak's strict safety standards to ensure that passengers are protected by PTC and other safety technologies. The members pointed out that two recent fatal Amtrak crashes occurred on host railroad tracks owned and operated by a private company.
'As you work with President Trump to finalize the Administration's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request, we urge you to fully fund Amtrak's National Network request, including funds for infrastructure to facilitate host railroad Positive Train Control. Without this funding, passengers and commerce traveling by rail will continue to be at risk,' the House members wrote in the letter.
Full text of the letter is available here and below.
The letter was also signed by Reps. David Price (D-NC04), Katherine Clark (D-MA05), Mike Quigley (D-IL05), and Pete Aguilar (D-CA31).
Lowey has been a strong advocate for improved rail safety. Last year, Lowey offered an amendment to the FY2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill to provide $199 million for the implementation of Positive Train Control. She also wrote to then-acting National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt urging him to do everything in his power to push for the prompt implementation of PTC.
February 7, 2018
The Honorable Mick Mulvaney
The White House Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20503
We are extremely concerned by the news of two recent fatal Amtrak crashes. It is clear more must be done to invest in safety improvements to our nation's rail infrastructure.
The train crashes in Crozet, VA and Cayce, SC killed three people and injured more than 100 passengers. Years of starving Amtrak's budget certainly has not helped improve rail safety in this country, but it is important to note that both of these crashes occurred on host railroad tracks that are owned and managed by a private company.
Amtrak owns 730 miles of tracks along its Northeast Corridor and Chicago to Detroit lines. The rest of its 21,300 miles of routes are operated on track owned by its National Network of partners. These private railroads must meet Amtrak's strict safety standards to ensure all of its passengers are protected by Positive Train Control (PTC) and other current safety technologies.
As you work with President Trump to finalize the Administration's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request, we urge you to fully fund Amtrak's National Network request, including funds for infrastructure to facilitate host railroad Positive Train Control. Without this funding, passengers and commerce traveling by rail will continue to be at risk.