Rockefeller, Boxer Applaud Funding for Rail Safety Grants

Senators Requested the Funds for Technology to Prevent Train Collisions

July 30, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) lauded the Senate Appropriations Committee for fully funding a new railroad safety technology grant program, created by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.  
The committee passed the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, which includes $50 million for the Railroad Safety Technology grant program.  Last month, Senators Boxer and Rockefeller sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee asking them to fully fund this critical grant program that provides funding for necessary safety improvements, including the installation of positive train control (PTC) – anti-collision technology.
Senator Rockefeller said, “In these tough economic times, with many commuter rail agencies facing budget cuts, funding for railroad safety technology grants is absolutely vital to ensure that important safety measures continue to be implemented.  Life saving measures, such as positive train control, are crucial to moving millions of Americans safely and securely in to the 21st century.  I applaud the Appropriations Committee for funding these rail safety grants and look forward to this legislation passing in the full Senate.”
Senator Boxer said, “We cannot afford to wait to install positive train control.  This funding helps ensure that we can quickly install these technologies that will save lives.  I thank the committee for including this critical funding, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bill through the Senate.”
The Rail Safety Improvement Act, which was signed into law in October 2008, also includes a provision championed by Boxer requiring the installation of PTC on railways shared by passenger and freight trains.  Facts revealed by the National Transportation Safety Board investigation indicate that PTC could have prevented the tragic crash of a Metrolink commuter train and a freight train in Chatsworth, California last year.

The appropriations bill also includes $500,000 sought by Boxer to help Metrolink install PTC.