(source: Progressive Railroading 07/10/17)
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) to review the oversight of federal positive train control (PTC) funding and recipients’ use of the proceeds.
The OIG has initiated a multi-part audit to address committee members’ concerns about the Federal Railroad Administration‘s (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration‘s (FTA) PTC funding oversight. The audit’s initial phase will focus on identifying railroads that received USDOT funding or financing to support their PTC projects, and describing those projects, OIG officials said in a statement issued July 5.
The second phase will assess the FRA’s and FTA’s oversight of PTC funding allocations, and determine whether recipients have “completely and efficiently” used grant awards, they said.
To date, the FRA and FTA have provided more than $915 million in grants to help support railroads’ PTC implementation. However, according to FRA data through first-quarter 2017, only 27 percent of freight-rail route miles and 23 percent of passenger-rail route miles had fully operational PTC systems in place, OIG officials said.
Freight and commuter railroads impacted by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 must install their PTC systems by Dec. 31, 2018, or by two years after that date if they receive an allowable extension due to limited, justifiable circumstances.