Denham calls train safety grants “good first step” but more must be done

U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) said that the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) announcement on Thursday that it would award $25 million in positive train control (PTC) grants to six states was welcomed news.

Denham added, however, that there are more opportunities to further secure passenger rail transportation around the country.

“While these grants are a good first step, there remains a huge unmet need in California for rail safety improvements,” Denham said. “Rather than wasting money on a high-speed rail system that may never be completed, we should be focusing first on safety for existing lines.”

Included in the FRA’s announced grants are three awards for California – $2.4 million for Metrolink, $3 million for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) District and $2.88 million for Caltrain.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that the grants would be used to get “a bit closer” to implementing PTC, a technology that prevents accidents and saves lives.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to help railroads install this technology,” Foxx said. “We encourage Congress to fully fund the president’s request for significant funds to help more railroads activate PTC.”

Denham, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, worked to include two grant programs for PTC implementation in the Passenger Reform and Investment Act that was signed into law as part of a larger bill in 2015.

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