Representative Nita Lowey

Representing the 17th District of New York

Lowey: No Excuse for Metro-North to Miss PTC Deadline; Congresswoman Holds FRA’s, MTA’s Feet to Fire

July 25, 2018
Press Release

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, issued the below statement following reports that Metro-North will miss the year-end deadline to install Positive Train Control (PTC):

“MTA has had 10 years and ample resources to complete PTC installation. Further delays in fully implementing this lifesaving technology are a failure to ensure passenger safety. I am tired of hearing excuses. The MTA needs to give us answers.”

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Lowey wrote to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator Ronald Batory and MTA Chair Joseph Lhota raising her concerns that MTA and New Jersey Transit (NJT), which serves her constituents in Rockland, may miss the year-end deadline for PTC installation. Lowey called on the FRA to provide a plan to address railroads that have not made sufficient progress on installation, and requested that MTA provide its schedule for PTC implementation work from now until the end of the year along with its contingency plan in case the deadline is not met. Additionally, in May, Lowey released a letter to NJ Transit calling for a reversal of its announced cuts to the Pascack Valley Line schedule, which NJ Transit blamed on the need to meet the PTC deadline.

Lowey, a strong advocate for improved rail safety, secured $250 million for PTC in the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus spending bill. The federal government has provided more than $2 billion in grants and loans to passenger railroads to implement PTC since 2008, when the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which required implementation of PTC on all passenger railroads, was signed into law. She also wrote to then-acting National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt urging him to do everything in his power to push for the prompt implementation of PTC.  When rail entities ran the risk of missing the original December 31, 2015, deadline for implementation, Congress extended the PTC deadline by three years to December 31, 2018, providing ample time and resources to support installation of this life-saving technology.

Full text of Lowey’s letter to FRA is here.

Full text of Lowey’s letter to MTA is here.