October 03, 2018

At Senate Hearing, Duckworth Applauds Metra’s PTC Implementation, Calls for Fair Distribution of Federal Funding


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) applauded Metra, northeastern Illinois’ commuter rail system, at today’s U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing for working to stay on track for full implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) technologies that make trains safer for commuters, workers and communities. Duckworth also expressed her concern to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator Ronald Batory that agencies like Metra, who have long prioritized the implementation of PTC technologies, may not receive an equitable distribution of future PTC funding as agencies that have fallen behind on PTC implementation request additional resources to meet their 2018 and 2020 deadlines.

“Hardworking Illinoisans are counting on timely implementation of technologies like Positive Train Control that make rail transportation safer and more reliable, and I’m proud of the hard work and determination Metra has showed in meeting the deadlines set by this Committee,” said Duckworth. “I’m committed to making sure organizations like Metra that made tough choices early on to stay on track for full implementation continue to receive a fair and equitable share of federal resources.” 

Just weeks ago, Duckworth toured Metra’s 47th Street Railcar Shop where Metra is utilizing federal funds and their skilled workforce to upgrade trains with Positive Train Control (PTC) technologies. Duckworth also met with FRA Administrator Batory in March to discuss several Illinois infrastructure projects and PTC funding included in this year’s Congressional budget agreement.

PTC is a federally-mandated computerized system that prevents certain types of train-to-train collisions, helps avoid derailments and other accidents caused by excessive speed or human error, and increases safety for rail workers. PTC safety technology integrates GPS, communications units and a railroad’s centralized dispatching system. Together, these components track trains, convey operating instructions and monitor the crew’s compliance. PTC will automatically stop a train if the system detects that a violation is about to occur.