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Paul Victor Testifies before U.S. House Subcommittee
Positive Train Control (PTC), an unfunded federal mandate, places an increased financial burdon on short line railroads
March 17, 2011
Washington, D.C. - New York & Atlantic Railway president Paul Victor testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. Mr. Victor’s testimony was in regards to the unfunded, federal government requirement for railroads, including short line railroads, to use Positive Train Control (PTC).
While not questioning the appropriateness of PTC systems on some railroads, such as those operated over tracks used by passenger trains (which includes the New York & Atlantic), Mr. Victor made several points regarding unfunded mandates, including the likelihood that such a large capital expense would most likely divert company funds away from equally important projects, including rail infrastructure. This capital expense diversion could actually make railroads less safe. Mr. Victor explains “Implementing the PTC mandate will take millions of dollars away from short line track rehabilitation that does more to improve railroad safety than any other expenditure we can make.”
Mr. Victor also noted that, because of the nature of short line railroad operations, generally all locomotives within a short line railroad need to be able to cover all of the short line railroad’s territory, making the PTC mandate even more burdensome to the short line railroad industry. He cited that, within Anacostia Rail Holdings five companies, 27 of 36 locomotives would need to be outfitted for PTC. Aside from the initial expense, there is an unknown on-going expense, and an increased “price of admission” for customers considering shipping via rail in PTC territory.
In closing, Mr. Victor testified “presumably the government believes this mandate is in the public interest and if that is the case, I would hope that the government would provide public monies to help pay for the cost.”
Paul Victor testified on behalf of Anacostia Rail Holdings, as well as the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) which represents the nation’s 550 Class II and Class III railroads.