Connecticut faces fines if PTC deadline is missed

The Federal Railroad Administration says it will fine Metro-North and Connecticut if the state and the commuter railroad misses a Dec. 31 deadline to install positive train control on its tracks.

During testimony Wednesday in Washington, D.C, Sarah Feinberg, acting FRA administrator, said the agency will enforce the deadline to install a high-tech safety system which many believe could have prevented recent fatal train accidents, such as the 2013 Bronx derailment which killed four passengers.

“Starting on January 1, 2016, FRA will impose penalties on railroads that have not fully implemented PTC,” Feinberg told a subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Fines will be based on FRA’s PTC penalty guidelines, which establish different penalties depending on the violation,” Feinberg said.

“A safe rail system requires the full implementation of Positive Train Control. And that’s why FRA will enforce the Dec. 31, 2015 deadline for implementation, just as Congress mandated,” she said.

Penalties include fines of $15,000 to $25,000 for failure to equip locomotives with PTC systems, which can be assessed on a per-violation or per-day basis.

The state of Connecticut owns the tracks Metro-North travels on and is responsible for funding PTC. The state has said it cannot fully implement the safety system until 2018.

Bill Cummings