USA rail policy: goals, objectives, and responsibilities. House hearing 2013

House 113-28. June 27, 2013. National rail policy: Examining goals, objectives, and responsibilities. House of Representatives.

[ Excerpts of the 211 page transcript of the hearing follow ]

Edward R. Hamberger, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Railroads

On behalf of the members of the Association of American Railroads, thank you for the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding the reauthorization of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of2008 (PRIIA). AAR freight railroad members, which include the seven large U.S. Class I railroads as well as approximately 170 U.S. short line and regional railroads, account for the vast majority of freight railroad mileage, employees, and traffic in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Amtrak and several commuter railroads are also members of the AAR. The AAR is presenting this testimony on behalf of its freight railroad members only.

Passenger railroading plays a key role in alleviating highway and airport congestion, decreasing dependence on foreign oil, reducing pollution, and enhancing mobility and safety. All of us want passenger railroads that are safe, efficient, and responsive to the transportation needs of our country.

Meanwhile, America is connected by the most efficient, affordable, and environmentally responsible freight rail system in the world. Whenever Americans grow something, eat something, export something, import something, make something, turn on a light, or get dressed, it’s likely that freight railroads were involved somewhere along the line.

Passenger Rail to Enhance Mobility

Freight railroads are already partners with passenger railroads all across the country.

We should not try to create a world-class high-speed passenger rail system at the expense of our world-class freight rail system.

Capacity issues must be properly addressed. Over the coming decades, population and economic growth will mean sharply higher demand for freight transportation, and railroads are the best way to meet this demand. But if passenger rail impedes freight rail and forces freight that otherwise would move by rail onto the highway, many of the primary reasons for having passenger rail in the first place enhanced mobility, reduced congestion, and environmental benefits would be compromised.

On many corridors, current or expected freight traffic levels usually mean there is no spare capacity for passenger trains. In these cases, new capacity will be needed before passenger trains can operate. New infrastructure built for passenger trains should fully preserve both the ability to operate freight trains as needed and the opportunity to expand further freight service as the need arises in the future, including the ability of the freight railroad to access new customers along the right-of-way. In other words, passenger rail projects cannot “box in” the freight railroad so that new freight customers cannot access the freight railroad. This would limit the ability of the freight railroad to grow and subvert good public policy by potentially forcing this business to go by truck over roads.

Passenger trains use freight railroad assets and property, it is reasonable for the host freight railroad to expect full and fair compensation. Simply put, freight railroads should not be expected to subsidize passenger rail.

Tracks on which passenger trains operate, particularly high-speed trains, must meet different standards requiring significantly higher and more expensive maintenance than tracks on which freight trains operate.

Host freight railroads should be fully compensated for these and any other added costs involved. Moreover, railroads should not be subject to any new local, state, or federal tax liability as a result of a passenger rail project.

Freight railroads want passenger railroads to succeed. We work cooperatively with passenger and commuter railroads to help make this happen, and we support Government efforts to grow passenger rail in ways that complement freight rail growth. As Mr. Szabo has said on more than one occasion, yes, America deserves a world-class passenger rail system, but not if it comes at the expense of what is already the world’s best freight rail system.

As you take a look at re authorization of PRIIA, we have five principles that we think could help guide your considerations.

  • Safety has to take priority over anything else. Under certain conditions, passenger rail can operate on freight rail tracks at more than 79 miles an hour. We believe that more than 79 miles an hour requires a separate track for passenger rail, far enough away so that if there is an accident, it does not foul the adjacent track, having even more tragic consequences.
  • Capacity issues must be properly addressed. Additional passenger train operations should both preserve the ability to operate freight trains as needed today and the opportunity to expand further freight service as our customers require in the future.
  • If passenger trains use freight railroad assets and property, it is reasonable for the freight railroad to expect full and fair compensation.
  • Freight railroads must be adequately protected from liability that would not have resulted but for the added presence of the passenger rail service.
  • There can be no one- size-fits-all approach. Each project involving passenger rail in general or high-speed rail projects in particular has its own unique challenges and circumstances and should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

I would like to draw your attention to my written testimony, where we go into great detail on the challenges of implementing positive train control. We join APTA in calling for an extension of the deadline. Our proposal is for at least a 3-year extension plus an additional 2 years at the Secretary’s discretion because of the unknown challenges that are out there. And let me make it very clear. We are not looking for a repeal of this mandate. We are committed. We have spent over $3 billion already. We have thousands of employees working on it. There are challenges as we try to develop the technology, as we try to develop the new radios, as we try to develop and install the equipment on 22,000 locomotives, and over 60,000 miles of track. Much of it will be installed by 2015, but not all.

Freight railroads must be adequately protected from liability that would not have resulted but for the added presence of passenger rail service. It is almost inevitable that some accidents will occur on railroads, despite railroads’ best efforts to prevent them. An accident involving passenger trains which are generally far lighter than freight trains, often travel at much higher speeds, and, most importantly, have passengers on board is far more likely to involve significant casualties than an accident involving only freight trains. Passenger operations also bring more people onto railroad property, resulting in a corresponding increase in risk. These potentially ruinous risks make freight railroads extremely reluctant to allow passenger trains on their tracks without adequate protection from liability.

There can be no one-size-fits-all approach. Each project involving passenger rail on freight-owned tracks in general, and high-speed rail projects in particular, has its own unique challenges and circumstances.

By statute, access fees that Amtrak pays to operate over the freight railroads’ tracks are only required to cover the “incremental” costs associated with Amtrak’s operations that is, the additional costs that arise solely because of Amtrak’s presence. Amtrak is not required to contribute to the freight railroads’ fixed costs or to the shared costs for which Amtrak operations have a responsibility. Consequently, Amtrak’s “track rental fee” is low and is, for all intents and purposes, an indirect subsidy paid by freight railroads to Amtrak. This means that the current structure by which Amtrak “rents” freight tracks should not necessarily serve as a guidepost for the future.

Many segments of the U.S. freight rail system are capacity constrained, such that when an Amtrak delay occurs, substantial freight traffic means that Amtrak trains are often less able to recover lost time. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that a number of Amtrak routes coexist with freight operations not only on single-track corridors, but also on heavily-used, capacity-constrained double-track corridors. This issue will not be going away any time soon: as noted earlier, the long-term forecast is for much higher freight transportation demand. Demand for passenger rail is expected to grow as well. Day-to-day realities of the rail network come into play too. For example, from time to time railroads reduce allowable operating speed for safety reasons when it is warranted by the condition of the tracks. Although these “slow orders” can cause delays for trains of all types, safety must take precedence over everything else. Similarly, railroads must devote sufficient time to needed track and signal maintenance. This often produces unavoidable delays in the short term for freight and passenger trains, but improves service reliability and enhances safety in the long term.

Obviously, Amtrak wants its trains to run on time. Freight railroads understand this and work closely with Amtrak to help make this happen. The key point, though, is that the establishment and measurement of schedules and on- time performance metrics should be undertaken jointly by host freight railroads and Amtrak and governed by private bilateral contracts and the facts and circumstances of particular routes, not by one-size-fits-all legislative mandates. The railroads involved are in the best position to have a clear understanding of the cause of the delays that occur on a particular rail system and how they can be reduced going forward. This kind of shared contract-based responsibility has worked well in the past, enabling Amtrak and freight railroads to better address problems and improve service, which, after all, the ultimate goal. That’s also why railroads oppose legislative provisions that penalize freight railroads for Amtrak delays.

Amtrak Should Be the Entity That Provides Intercity Passenger Rail Service

Due to concerns about Amtrak’s finances and other factors, some have proposed that Amtrak should be replaced by other passenger rail operators on all or part of Amtrak’s current routes and on any new passenger rail routes that may develop. Freight railroads do not support these proposals. Freight railroads would oppose the transfer or franchise of Amtrak’s right of access, preferential access rates, and operating priority to any new non- Amtrak passenger operators. Why? First, the terms and conditions under which Amtrak uses freight-owned tracks were originally negotiated 40 years ago under circumstances that are vastly different from today.

Amtrak has historically enjoyed federal financial support and has proven itself to be a safe and professional operator over four decades. Should Amtrak services be picked up by others, it is unclear what the circumstances would be. For example, private entities may have different degrees of financial backing; public authorities may or may not enjoy the full faith and credit of their sponsoring states; some prospective passenger rail operators may be less committed to safety and sound operating standards than Amtrak; and serious labor issues could arise. Clearly, the status quo would be altered in respects that are impossible to know beforehand, creating huge uncertainties that, frankly, freight railroads do not need. They would rather concentrate on helping the economy grow by meeting the freight transportation needs of their customers.

Moreover, proposals to force freight railroads to grant other passenger carriers access to their tracks under preferential terms and conditions ignores the fundamental fact that freight railroads’ rights-of-way are private, not public. In the absence of voluntary agreement, freight railroads should not be forced to allow passenger operators to use their assets any more than any other private business should be forced to allow another company to use its assets without its consent or at non-compensatory rates. Indeed, forcing freight railroads to convey mandatory access to non-Amtrak passenger operators would create serious constitutional issues. Second, simply put, Amtrak and freight railroads have “grown up” together. Certainly, there have been struggles along the way, as there are in any complex relationship, but the relationship works.

Finally, for decades prior to Amtrak’s creation, our nation’s railroads learned the hard way how difficult it is to recover the full costs of passenger railroading. Although Amtrak was created as a for-profit entity, experience has shown that this is not achievable. No comprehensive passenger system in the world operates today without significant government assistance, and the fact that Amtrak requires public support should not be seen as a primary reason for seeking alternative passenger rail providers.

Positive Train Control

The term “positive train control” (PTC) describes technologies designed to automatically stop or slow a train before certain accidents caused by human error occur. The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) requires passenger railroads and U.S. Class I freight railroads to install PTC by the end of2015 on main lines used to transport passengers or toxic inhalation materials (TIH). Specifically, PTC as mandated by Congress must be designed to prevent train-to-train collisions; derailments caused by excessive speed; unauthorized incursions by trains onto sections of track where maintenance activities are taking place; and the movement of a train through a track switch left in the wrong position. Although PTC was mandated by the RSIA, rather than PRIIA, the issue is of such central concern to the freight and passenger rail industries that I would be remiss if I did not take an opportunity to raise it. Positive train control is an unprecedented technological challenge. A properly functioning, fully interoperable PTC system must be able to determine the precise location, direction, and speed of trains; warn train operators of potential problems; and take immediate action if the operator does not respond to the warning provided by the PTC system. For example, if a train operator fails to begin stopping a train before a stop signal or slowing down for a speed-restricted area, the PTC system would apply the brakes automatically before the train passed the stop signal or entered the speed- restricted area. Such a system requires highly complex technologies able to analyze and incorporate the huge number of variables that affect train operations. A simple example: the length of time it takes to stop a train depends on train speed, terrain, the weight and length of the train, the number and distribution of locomotives and loaded and empty freight cars on the train, and other factors. A PTC system must be able to take all of these factors into account automatically, reliably, and accurately to safely stop the train.

Freight railroads have enlisted massive resources to meet the PTC mandate. They’ve retained more than 2,200 additional signal system personnel to implement PTC, and to date have collectively spent approximately $3 billion of their own funds on PTC development and deployment. Class I freight railroads expect to spend an additional $5 billion before development and installation is complete. Currently, the estimated total cost to freight railroads for PTC development and deployment is around $8 billion, with hundreds of millions of additional dollars needed each year after that to maintain the system.

Despite railroads’ best efforts, due to PTC’s complexity and the enormity of the implementation task and the fact that much of the technology PTC requires simply did not exist when the PTC mandate was passed and has been required to be developed from scratch. Much technological work remains to be done. Railroads also face non-technological barriers to timely PTC implementation. One such challenge that railroads are struggling to overcome right now involves regulatory barriers to the construction of antenna structures. As part of PTC implementation, railroads must install tens of thousands of new antenna structures nationwide to transmit PTC signals. The vast majority of these antenna structures are small and are to be located along railroad rights-of-way. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) maintains that all PTC antenna structures, regardless of their size or location on the right-of-way, are subject to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The FCC’s current interpretation of its rules implementing these acts would subject every PTC antenna structure to a separate, time-consuming environmental evaluation process. The FCC’s current approval process is unworkable for a deployment on the scale of PTC in the timeframe mandated by the RSIA and FRA’s rules. The railroad industry, the FRA, and the FCC are working to find a solution that will avoid the need for antenna-by-antenna reviews, but for now the installation of antenna structures is on hold. Unless that changes, the timeline for ultimate deployment of PTC will be delayed significantly.

Important PTC regulatory issues are unresolved as well. Current regulations pertaining to PTC implementation impose operational restrictions so severe that the fluidity of the rail network would be drastically impaired. It is important to resolve these issues, and the AAR appreciates that the FRA is considering them in a current rulemaking proceeding.

Reshaping the nation’s transportation system with expanded rail choices will bring significant challenges. One of the key challenges flows from the fact that in many cases intercity passenger rail will share a right-of-way with freight railroads which serve a broad range of customers whose livelihoods and market competitiveness are tied to timely and efficient rail service. Layering additional or expanded intercity passenger rail service or velocity on the freight network can work in many instances if appropriate accommodations for current freight volume and future growth are made. Pursuant to operating agreements with Amtrak, freight railroads currently provide the majority of the right of way and infrastructure necessary to accommodate more than 315 Amtrak passenger trains per day over 43 routes, carrying an average of 78,500 passengers per day. Indeed, 71 percent of the miles traveled by Amtrak trains are on tracks owned by host railroads. Access to freight rights-of-way cannot compromise service to present or future freight rail customers. Advancing high speed or passenger rail at the expense of freight rail’s ability to handle growing freight volumes would be counterproductive public policy, as degradation of current or future freight service would exacerbate highway congestion, reduce fuel efficiencies, reduce U.S. competitiveness and increase greenhouse gas emissions if freight rail were rendered an unattractive transportation alternative to customers. Service to railroad freight customers must be protected and cannot be compromised by high speed or passenger rail route schedules, curfews, or other restrictions that would affect the quality, capacity or reliability of freight service. New infrastructure construction must fully preserve both the ability to operate freight trains as needed and the opportunity to expand future freight service. New infrastructure design must fully protect the host railroad’s ability to serve existing customers, both freight and passenger, and locate future new freight customers on and adjacent to its lines.

AAR’s member railroads have and are negotiating accommodations for passenger and commuter rail service in many areas of the country. To avoid conflicts with existing and future freight rail customers, additional infrastructure, such as additional track, is often a prerequisite. While excess capacity may currently exist in some locations, it is impossible for the railroads to predict where future demand and growth in the nation’s economy will occur. For example, the growth in crude oil transport by rail could not have been foreseen just five years ago. As a consequence, freight railroads are wary of wholesale transfers of their rights of way for commuter or passenger rail service when these are services that would not feasibly be reduced or eliminated in the future.

The Railroad Industry Cannot Install PTC on the Entire Nationwide Network by the 2015 Deadline

Despite the positive developments in 2012 and the railroads spending approximately $2.8 billion to date to install PTC, the year confirmed and increased our understanding of the challenges that remain to completing a nationwide, interoperable PTC system. The most significant are:

Wayside implementation continues to be constrained by the limited number of firms that provide signal design services. The signal system must still be individually redesigned and replaced at more than 7,000 locations before PTC wayside technology can be installed at those locations. Approximately 26,000 WIUs remain to be installed. This work must be accomplished without compromising signal system safety or the ability of the railroads to efficiently move the nation’s freight. Based on current experience and available resources, it is likely that wayside design and installation will extend into 2018. The track database, including critical features such as the presence of signals and switches, must be validated. The railroads must ensure that what is displayed to the train crew via the track database and onboard system reflects what is shown by railroad signals. It is a lime-consuming and labor-intensive process.

Core software delivery dates continue to slip, particularly in connection with the Back Office Server (BOS) for I-ETMS. The railroads do not expect the final release of core software, which is necessary before the PTC system can be lab and field tested, certified, and used in revenue service, until mid-2014.

As the potential for failure of individual components became clear, systems have been designed with more redundancy, thus lengthening the design process.

PTC cannot be rolled out on an entire railroad all at once. Implementation of PTC must occur in phases and location by location, starting with less complex areas and proceeding to the more operationally complex areas, incorporating lessons learned at each step.

The reasons described in the ISP, tens of thousands of miles of existing signal system infrastructure still need to be replaced. As discussed previously, each of the approximately 12,300 replacement projects is complicated and lengthy, requiring individual analysis and design and signal replacements or upgrades before the WIU’s can be installed at these locations.7 Qualified signal personnel are needed for design, installation, and validation, both in the lab and in the field. The limited number of qualified signal design firms and personnel available to the railroad industry continues to constrain how quickly railroads can complete the design, upgrade, installation, and testing required for PTC signal projects. The railroads have hired over 2,200 signal personnel specifically for PTC8 However, the great majority of these new hires provide assistance only with the installation of PTC at wayside locations, not with the more complicated analysis and design work that is typically handled by established signal design firms. Personnel hired for installation work are, of course, limited to performing work at locations where designs have been completed. Product availability has improved, although it continues to be a concern along with the extensive lab and field testing required for these products.

One of the key challenges that has emerged is deploying a national 220 MHz communications network for PTC that includes adequate coordination between railroads to avoid interference< Various tools are being developed to help mitigate interference, but this will continue to be a substantial task.

Mr. SZABO. If you take a look at our budget submission, our mission is to ensure the safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods. When you start taking a look at the state of our transportation network today, the congestion costs in loss of productivity that our transportation network is already facing, and then when you take a look at the decades of underinvestment in rail, combine that with the efficiencies that rail can generate in moving people and goods, the enhanced productivity, the enhanced safety, the improved environmental sustainability that the rail offers, we believe that our budget proposal is not only realistic, but certainly appropriate, that it is time that we truly put rail on parity with the other transportation modes, that we no longer treat it like a forgotten stepchild. And because of these decades of underinvestment, there is clearly this need to advance the vision forward of real commitment of dollars and a reliable and sustainable funding pool out of a rail account in the trust fund.

Going back to our budget, you will notice that we talk about the need for grants for freight rail infrastructure improvements, and short lines would clearly be eligible here. What we have found is that so often, there are short lines that are desperate for capital, but they cannot qualify for a loan. And we believe, in these cases, particularly for safety enhancements, bridges, track improvements, that grants would be a more appropriate tool.

I think the biggest thing that we have to ensure moving forward, and this is not just from a rail standpoint, but from all of our infrastructure, is that we are now designing resiliency as well as potential recovery into the design of all transportation projects. In my mind, there is just no question that weather patterns are going to continue to become more and more uncertain and more and more severe, and so we have to have redundancy as well as resiliency built into our transportation network.

Mr. Mica. The losses are getting worse rather than better. So here for the record Mr. Chairman, I submit all these money losers:

AMTRAK California Zephyr Southwest Chief Sunset Limited East
Route Chicago to Oakland Chicago to Los Angeles New Orleans to Los Angeles
Loss per passenger








Loss Per Passenger








Amtrak Price

(coach seat)







Travel time 52.2 hours 43.3 hours 47.6 hours
Cost $197 $192 $240
Travel Time 4.5 hours 4.3 hours 4.2 hours
Greyhound BUS    
Cost $228 $229 $214
Travel Time 50.0 hours 46.5 hours 45.1 hours



The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act and the Rail Safety Improvement Act, both passed in 2008, were bipartisan game-changing pieces of legislation. 2012 was the safest year in railroading history. Amtrak’s on-time performance, its ridership and its revenues are now at all-time highs, and the freight rail industry has never been stronger. Today, 6,000 corridor miles are being improved, 40 stations are being upgraded, hundreds of new passenger cars and locomotives are being procured, and States are competing—or completing more than 100 different environmental, engineering and planning projects, but we still have a long way to go to make up for decades of underinvestment in rail and be ready for the challenges ahead.

Soon America’s transportation network will need to move 100 million additional people and 4 billion more tons of freight annually,

Our airports and highways are stretched to their limits.

Congestion costs our economy more than $120 billion per year. Rail is the clear mode of opportunity. It is extremely safe, cost-effective and the least oil-reliant, most environmentally friendly mode to move people and freight.

In just 10 years, Amtrak’s ridership is up more than 40% and growing faster than any other mode of travel. Our vision is for a National High-Performance Rail System that builds on today’s progress, enhancing the Nation’s rail system by addressing safety concerns, by providing funding for passenger and freight rail improvements and by promoting strong planning. Our vision is a state of good repair for Amtrak, improving safety, efficiency and reliability. With your support, we can develop new passenger rail services and substantially upgrade existing corridors, and we can fund freight rail projects critical to our Nation’s economic competitiveness.

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of2008 (PRIIA)

Improved Financial Accounting: Section 203 required the Amtrak Board to implement a modem financial accounting and reporting system within three years of enactment. The Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG) reviewed the system and found in a March 23 report that Amtrak is better able to capture its financial performance by route, line of business, and major activity, as PRIIA requires. However, the IG also found that since Amtrak customized the system rather than using an off-the-shelf system, the system is more complex and costly to maintain, raising concerns regarding its long- term utility. The IG also found that Amtrak’s heavy reliance on cost allocation reduces the precision of performance reporting. While many companies use cost allocation to an extent, Amtrak allocates (rather than assigns) 80 percent of its costs because it does not collect sufficiently detailed cost data. For example, Amtrak does not measure and record each train journey’s fuel consumption, but rather relies on a formula that estimates a joumey’s fuel consumption.

Ms. BROWN. There has been a lot of talk in the press about eliminating long-distance routes. I strongly oppose that. These routes literally connect our east coast to our west coast. They are what make Amtrak a national railroad. Without the long-distance train, over 4 million people in 23 States and 223 communities will lose all passenger rail service.

Michael P. Lewis, Director, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, testifying for AASHTO

Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials position on national rail policy has evolved through many years of State experience with delivering passenger rail service and working with and supporting large and small freight railroads. Dating back to AASHTO’s 2002 Freight Rail Bottom Line Report, we have highlighted public-private partnerships as a model for investment in freight rail projects. Rail must be a part of a balance of transportation—a balanced mix of transportation alternatives available to our Nation’s freight trippers and the traveling public. Making increased levels of investment and realizing the public benefits of a strong freight rail system will require partnerships among the railroads, the States and the Federal Government. The Heartland Corridor and the National Gateway Corridor are major intermodal connector projects resulting from shifting patterns of freight demand. These and similar projects make it clear that we must constantly adapt to changing global economics and logistics and that rail is an essential element of our overall national transportation system. Continued Federal investment is essential. Without it, the resulting—an increased reliance on the highway system would greatly increase highway congestion and maintenance costs, driving up overall costs of goods movements in the U.S.

John P. Tolman, VP & National Legislative Rep, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

On behalf of the 37,000 active Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen members and over 70,000 rail conference members, I want to thank the committee. In order for our Nation to meet the economic and environmental challenges that we face, we must continue to invest in the infrastructure and to develop and plan for new means to get goods and people from place to place in the most fuel-efficient means possible. Rail clearly is the best means of doing this.

On the passenger side, Amtrak and the intercity commuter railroads and their employees have the knowledge, skills and abilities to develop, implement and grow passenger rail systems throughout this country. They have done great work and continue to set record riderships across the country. Passenger rail is a great example of the old quote in the ‘‘Field of Dreams’’: ‘‘If you build it, they will come.’’ On the Amtrak side, this cycle of underfunding must end. They desperately need long-term funding and predictability.

On the freight side and for its professional skilled railroad employees, intermodal freight transportation is the way of the future, with goods moving from ship to truck to train on a seamless network. To continue this, we need to ensure that we continue to invest in our infrastructure. Unfortunately, the House Appropriations spending leaves TIGER grants out entirely; it also tries to cut this year’s awards in half by rescinding $237 million before the DOT can get the already awarded grants out the door. Railroads have improved their fuel efficiency by 23 percent in the last two decades. As stated by Ed Hamberger, the freight side in the industry is investing billions annually in its infrastructure and is well positioned to handle any additional freight that comes its way, but we must also ensure that continued investments are not only to expand the capacity but also to improve safety.


The initial conservative estimate for PTC implementation on commuter railroads was more than $2 billion, with more than 4,000 locomotives and passenger cars with control cabs and 8,500 track miles to be equipped. Since this initial estimate, as commuter railroads have begun their contracting and technology acquisitions, the estimated costs of implementation have risen well beyond the initial $2 billion estimate. These estimates do not include costs related to the acquisition and operation of the radio spectrum necessary to meet the interoperability requirements set forth under RSIA and they do not include costs associated with operating PTC systems. To date, Congress has only appropriated $50 million of the total authorized amount. At a time when critical State of Good Repair backlogs are creeping above nearly $80 BILLION on our nation’s public transportation systems, commuter railroads are being forced to choose between performing critical system safety maintenance projects and implementing PTC by 2015. Insufficient funding is a significant impediment to implementation for publicly funded railroads.


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