Newhouse, Quigley Applaud House Passage of Bipartisan Surface Transportation Bill Extending PTC Deadline

October 27, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Reps. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations subcommittee, today applauded bipartisan passage of H.R. 3819, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015. The legislation funds and extends the authorization for federal highway and transit programs through November 20, 2015. H.R. 3819 also includes a provision to extend the upcoming deadline for implementing positive train control (PTC) safety technology until 2018, preventing a shutdown of the nation’s passenger and freight rail system. The Congressmen released the following joint statement:

“We commend Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio for their hard work on this bipartisan legislation to provide much-needed certainty for road and rail projects nationwide. Instead of waiting until the last minute, the inclusion of a deadline extension for the full implementation of positive train control (PTC) safety technology addresses the national economic threat of a rail shut down of our country’s freight and commuter network. This legislation requires a clear timeline for reasonable implementation of this vital safety technology while protecting the economy from the needless shock of a major rail disruption.”

In September, Reps. Newhouse and Quigley sent a bipartisan letter to House leadership signed by over 160 Members of Congress urging Congress to extend the upcoming deadline for implementing PTC, showing the overwhelming support for action.

When Congress mandated PTC implementation by 2015 in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, there was no off-the-shelf technology available to achieve these safety objectives for all railroads. Our nation’s railroads have had to develop it, and they’ve had to do that with little help from the federal government. 71 percent of commuter railroads will not achieve full PTC implementation before the statutory deadline of December 2015. Half of the country’s commuter railroads are being forced to defer other safety and capital improvements in order to afford the costs of PTC.