|Photo by Freeimages.com/Jeremy Sanders|
Shortly following an Amtrak derailment that killed eight aboard a Washington-to-New York train, a new rail safety system has hit a potential delay in the Senate.
The New York Times reports that a Senate transportation bill set for debate this week includes a three-year delay for a deadline to install P.T.C., a rail safety system that automatically monitors train speed and slows trains down if they approach a curve too fast. Experts say such a system could have prevented the Amtrak crash.
The current deadline was set in 2008 and gave Amtrak and other railroad companies seven years to install the new automated safety system. The proposed extension, which would lengthen the deadline until 2018, has met with criticism from lawmakers and government officials who argue the system would improve safety.
“Obviously, the railroad lobbyists have gotten to Congress,” Mark V. Rosenker, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told the New York Times. “We just had a horrible accident. People died and people ended up becoming paralyzed when that technology was available to the railroad. I am very disappointed.”
Amtrak spokesperson Craig S. Schultz said to the New York Times that the railroad "remains committed" to installing and activating P.T.C. in the Northeast Corridor by the current deadline.
According to the New York Times analysis, both parties in Congress are under pressure to pass the transportation bill, which would prevent the Highway Trust Fund from running out of money for road projects nationwide this summer.