Blumenthal Issues Statement On MTA Positive Train Control System Investment

(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued a statement today regarding an announcement by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that it would invest an additional $11.3 million to expedite installation of Positive Train Control systems on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road cars. The investment will enable retrofitting of 836 LIRR and 474 Metro-North rail cars by April 2017, two years ahead of the previously announced schedule.

While I applaud the MTA for the increased investment in the safety of its rail lines, Metro-North riders should not have to wait until 2017 for Positive Train Control—critical, life-saving technology that most likely would have prevented the catastrophic deaths of four passengers in the Spuyten Duyvel derailment. Federal law passed in 2008 required the MTA to complete the installation of Positive Train Control systems by 2015, and the modest additional investment announced today does little to make up for years of foot-dragging and inaction. It is long past time for the MTA to complete this work, and to immediately adopt the other important safety measures I and many others have been calling for, including Confidential Close Call Reporting, modern inspection technology and adequate track controls to protect workers,” Blumenthal said. 

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Elizabeth Benton