Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday said the rail industry will save up to $775 million over 20 years through revisions made to a costly crash-avoidance technology mandate.
Railroads won’t have to conduct risk analyses to be exempt from installing positive train control or other risk mitigation initiatives on roughly 10,000 miles of track that won’t carry passengers or poison inhalation hazard commodities after December 2015. The announcement comes after the Federal Railroad Administration, in a legal settlement with the Association of American Railroads, agreed last year to scale back the amount of track Class I railroads must deploy PTC on.
“These changes will provide significant regulatory relief, while ensuring that safety remains our highest priority,” LaHood said.
The review of the unfunded mandate, which is expected to cost the industry about $12 billion, is part of a government-wide review of unnecessary, out-of-date, overly burdensome or too costly regulation ordered by President Obama earlier this year. Railroads are expected to save about $335 million over the first five years, according to a news release from the Federal Railroad Administration.
The industry is required to implement the PTC by the end of 2015, but several Class I railroads said during first quarter earnings calls that they didn’t expect to meet the deadline. Language extending the deadline might be included in the final version of the surface transportation bill.
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