Rockefeller and Lautenberg Statements on Rail Safety Technology Report

January 14, 2011

Feature Image: Capitol 1WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, today responded to the Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s report on rail safety technology. The report assesses the Federal Railroad Administration’s and the rail industry’s progress implementing positive train control (PTC), a system designed to prevent accidents, and evaluates the benefits and challenges of implementing other rail safety technologies.

The GAO report was requested by Chairman Rockefeller and Senators Frank Lautenberg, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), and John Thune (R-S.D.). A copy of the report can be found below.

“Millions of Americans rely on rail to get to work and connect with friends and loved ones every day. They deserve the safest rail system we can design. Devastating and preventable rail accidents in recent years have claimed too many innocent lives,” Chairman Rockefeller said. “Today’s report reminds us how important it is for railroads to implement better, smarter safety technology to prevent accidents and save lives. The report also makes clear the fiscal crunch passenger railroads face in implementing this new technology and meeting the deadline mandated by Congress. I will continue to support the efforts of the Department of Transportation and railroads to make sure PTC and other life-saving technologies are implemented as quickly as possible.”

“A safe transportation network that gets our commuters to work on time and helps our businesses thrive is critical for our country. We have taken important steps to make our rail system safer, but more work is needed and smarter technology will be necessary to achieve our goals,” said Senator Lautenberg. “This report reminds us that passenger railroads face challenges to implementing positive train control and other new technologies. I will continue to work with the Department of Transportation and industry to make sure that safety on the rails is our top priority.”