Together, Positive Train Control and the GROW AMERICA Act will improve safety and create jobs
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting the Siemens Rail Automation plant in Louisville, Kentucky, and seeing first-hand how investments in rail infrastructure are creating jobs and improving safety.
At the plant in Louisville, there are 26 new, good-paying jobs in engineering, manufacturing, and assembling train control systems and Positive Train Control (PTC) components. Nationwide, Siemens has added nearly 100 new jobs –including highly sought after engineers, analysts, and other skilled manufacturing employees.
Troy Martin, Plant Manager, FRA Administrator Szabo, and Kevin Riddett, CEO Siemens Freight & Products, Rail Automation. Photos courtesy Siemens.
PTC is the backbone of the next generation of rail safety, and these employees--as well as others like them--are at the forefront of developing this sophisticated technology that can avert accidents and save lives by slowing or stopping a train.
PTC has never been deployed on the scale that we are planning here in the United States, and it’s our responsibility to make sure it is done in a timely and reliable way. The GROW AMERICA Act, the four-year $302 billion surface transportation bill that Secretary Foxx sent to Congress, includes $2.3 billion for commuter rail lines to deploy PTC systems. Additionally, the Act puts rail on a par with other surface modes of transportation by providing rail with predictable, reliable funding to improve safety and to invest in a high performance rail network.
FRA Administrator Joe Szabo speaking at Siemens.
FRA's top priority is safety, and the last two years have been the safest on record. In the past decade:
- Total train accidents have declined by nearly 47 percent;
- Total derailments have declined by 46 percent; and
- Total highway-rail grade crossing accidents have declined by 35 percent.
But we owe it to the public to always do better, and PTC is one way to ensure continuous safety improvement and provide an even safer environment for rail employees, passengers, and the public.