Last updated: 11:08 AM ET, Fri July 29 2016

DOT to Award $199 Million in Funding for Positive Train Control

Car Rental & Rail | Patrick Clarke | July 29, 2016

DOT to Award $199 Million in Funding for Positive Train Control

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has confirmed it will accept applications for $199 million in competitive grant funding for Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation.

The grants will be selected by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and then awarded and administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The funding was authorized by Congress in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and is available for the fiscal year 2017.

PTC technology is critical considering it's able to prevent potentially disastrous incidents such as certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments and incursions into work zones. PTC can also assist with trains being routed to the wrong tracks.

Within the past 14 months, there have been multiple train derailments resulting in deaths and significant injuries. 

"With more passengers depending on rail for transportation, Positive Train Control is needed more than ever," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement accompanying the DOT's announcement. "I encourage all commuter railroads to take full advantage of this opportunity to invest in the most important rail safety technology in more than a century."

READ MORE: Department of Transportation Announces $55 Million for Clean Bus Program

The deadline to apply to the FRA is set for 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 28, 2016. 

Eligible applicants include commuter railroads, operators and state and local governments, among other entities. 

"This funding will get us a bit closer to activating Positive Train Control on some of the most important railroads in the country that transport millions of passengers to their jobs each morning and to their families each night," said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg in a statement. 

"We urge railroads to submit strong applications that make these dollars go as far as possible, and we remain hopeful that Congress will act on the President’s request for more funding to make PTC a reality as quickly as possible."

While the DOT has $199 million at its disposal, President Barack Obama has sought $1.25 billion in his fiscal year 2017 budget request.

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