Thune Statement on House Introduction of Bill to Avert a Rail Service Shutdown

“Reaching an agreement and passing legislation in the coming weeks is the only way to avert a rail service shutdown.”

September 30, 2015

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement on the introduction of bipartisan legislation introduced by House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Michael Capuano (D-Mass.).

“I applaud Reps. Shuster, DeFazio, Denham, and Capuano for introducing legislation to extend the deadline for positive train control and avert a disastrous rail service shutdown, the effects of which we will start to see in November. The Senate has passed a bipartisan proposal to avoid commuter and freight rail service disruptions with case-by-case oversight to ensure continued progress is made towards full implementation. Along with my colleagues, I am committed to securing enactment of an extension that meets the needs of railroad passengers, railroads, and freight customers while important safety enhancements move forward.”

“Our country’s economy cannot afford the significant disruptions that will occur if we don’t act soon. Reaching an agreement and passing legislation in the coming weeks is the only way to avert a rail service shutdown.” 

On July 30, 2015, the U.S. Senate approved the DRIVE Act on a bipartisan vote of 65-34. The DRIVE Act is a significant bill creating forward-looking policies for building transportation infrastructure and improving safety. The DRIVE Act included a PTC extension provision (Section 35442), passed by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The proposal is specifically designed to maintain the need for railroads to install and activate PTC systems as soon as safely possible while recognizing that review by regulators after installation will take additional time.

Chairman Shuster and Chairman Thune have both expressed their commitment to passing a workable extension to avoid service disruptions.

For more information about positive train control and why an extension is critical, visit