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Assn of American Railroads praises White House new technologies mandate for rail as part of 2011 Executive Order

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Assn of American Railroads praises White House new technologies mandate for rail as part of 2011 Executive Order

May 27, 2011 - 08:25
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WASHINGTON, DC, May 26, 2011 (Press Release) -The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today issued the following statement from President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger in response to today's White House update on the President's January 2011 Executive Order on Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review.

"We are pleased to see the Administration continues to move forward with its review of federal regulations that stymie U.S. economic recovery and future growth. AAR has been working with the Federal Railroad Administration on its review of various rules, including implementation of positive train control (PTC) technologies as mandated by the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act.

In March 2010, AAR on behalf of its member railroads filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seeking to change certain aspects of the PTC regulations. On March 2, 2011 the parties asked the court to put the suit on hold while FRA agreed to undertake a review of its final rule. The D.C. Circuit granted the motion.

A major issue is the scope of the PTC mandate. For example, while Congress clearly stipulated that PTC be installed on main lines used to transport passengers and TIH as of Dec. 31, 2015, FRA required PTC to be installed on lines used to transport passengers and TIH in 2008. This seven year difference in implementation dates substantially affects the cost - according to AAR estimates by more than $500 million. AAR also estimates that at least 10,000 miles of track that saw TIH movements in 2008 would no longer be used for such movements by Dec. 31, 2015.

In addition AAR has petitioned the agency to change other aspects of the rule. We look forward to addressing these issues, and working with the Administration to ensure freight rail can continue to play its vital role in U.S. economic recovery."