WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released a fact sheet on positive train control (PTC) implementation, after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report reviewing railroads’ progress toward meeting the final December 31, 2020 deadline. The fact sheet highlights the U.S. Department of Transportation’s important work on PTC through the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), as well as the committee’s oversight of PTC implementation.
According to the GAO report, railroads have addressed some of their prior PTC implementation challenges, but issues with software and vendor expertise and resources remain. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other unforeseen circumstances, GAO found that some railroads have been able to use staff and track availability resulting from reduced operations and ridership to make progress on PTC implementation and testing. Others have raised concerns about potential challenges arising due to the pandemic.
The Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015 requires all railroads subject to the statutory deadline to complete implementation of PTC by December 31, 2020. PTC is an advanced technology designed to stop or slow a train before certain accidents occur, such as accidents caused by excessive speeds or train-on-train collisions.
The Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over the FRA, which falls under the U.S. Department of Transportation.