STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION
Senator GERALD CARDINALE
District 39 (Bergen and Passaic)
Urges federal government to assist with implementing positive train control technology on NJ railways.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.
A Joint Resolution urging the federal government to assist with expediting the installation of positive train control technology on New Jersey railways.
Whereas, The New Jersey Transit Corporation (“NJ Transit”) maintains the largest statewide public transit network in the nation, providing transportation for hundreds of thousands of people every day, linking New Jersey with New York and Pennsylvania, and delivering commuters to their jobs and their families; and
Whereas, On average, NJ Transit provides over 900,000 passenger trips per weekday, with over 300,000 of those trips being made up of rail passenger trips; and
Whereas, State and federal experts have recognized that strategic upgrades to the Northeast region railway networks, including the NJ Transit rail network, will further ensure the safety and efficiency of this system; at the forefront of these advancements is the comprehensive implementation of positive train control (“PTC”) technology; and
Whereas, PTC is a system of signals and sensors that, in real time, enables a train engineer to monitor the location and speed of a given train, evaluates track conditions, ensures trains travel safe distances apart, and automatically slows or stops a train that is moving too fast or failing to respond to signaling equipment; and
Whereas, This system has the capability to reduce train accidents by preventing train-to-train collisions, ensuring trains do not accidentally move into hazardous areas or places where personnel are working, and averting derailments on tracks; and
Whereas, The challenges of implementing and testing PTC, as well as training workers on this new technology, have been taken up by rail carriers but nevertheless present a substantial effort projected to cost billions of dollars nationwide; and
Whereas, NJ Transit has already taken steps towards this end, although continuing recovery from Superstorm Sandy has exacerbated the expense and challenges associated with implementing the most effective and economical PTC system possible; and
Whereas, Recent incidents, which include the September 30, 2016 train derailment at the Hoboken Terminal, highlight the importance of ensuring that our rail networks are safe and secure; and
Whereas, Since, 2011, the Federal Railroad Administration has annually requested that Congress appropriate between $50 million and $1.4 billion to assist with implementing PTC on the nation’s railway networks; yet, only a fraction of this amount has been provided, and for several years, no funding was allocated; and
Whereas, The federal government is uniquely positioned to provide funding, technical expertise, and other support in order to ensure the full and effective implementation of the PTC technology in this State, and to this end has previously allocated funds to rail carriers in other states; now, therefore
Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Governor and the Legislature of the State of New Jersey urge the federal government to assist with the implementation of positive train control technology on New Jersey railways through financial, technical, and other resources.
2. Copies of this joint resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate to the President of the United States, the Majority and Minority leaders of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Minority leader of the United States House of Representatives, every member of Congress elected from this State, the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, the New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation, and the Executive Director of the New Jersey Transit Corporation.
3. This joint resolution shall take effect immediately.
This joint resolution urges the federal government to take decisive and swift measures to assist with the implementation of positive train control technology on New Jersey railways, including the New Jersey Transit Corporation (“NJ Transit”) rail network.
Positive train control is a system that enables computerized networks to monitor and, under certain circumstances, take control over certain aspects of train movement, thereby preventing potential accidents. However, the process of developing this new technology and integrating it throughout the nation’s railway networks is a complex endeavor projected to cost billions of dollars.
Federal agencies have repeatedly requested Congress allocate funding that would aid both public commuter lines and private railways in ensuring that the most effective and economical PTC system is implemented throughout the nation. Yet, for the past five years, Congress has allocated only a fraction of what has been requested, and for several years has not allocated funding.
The federal government is uniquely positioned to provide additional funding, technical expertise, and other means of support and resources to aid transportation networks, such as NJ Transit, to fully implement PTC technology. This aid would result in a better national transportation network, avert maintenance and other expenses in the future, and save lives.