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FRA issues $250 million notice of funding opportunity for PTC projects

(Source: Federal Railroad Administration press release, May 15, 2018)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $250 million in Positive Train Control (PTC) Systems Grants.

“These funds are part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to strengthen our country’s rail safety by helping railroads to more rapidly deploy positive train control systems,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The purpose of the NOFO is to solicit applications for $250 million in PTC Systems Grants to fund the deployment of PTC system technology for intercity passenger rail transportation, freight rail transportation and/or commuter rail passenger transportation. Eligible projects include: back office systems; wayside, communications and onboard hardware equipment; software; equipment installation; spectrum; any component, testing and training for the implementation of PTC systems; and interoperability.

Applications for PTC systems deployment funding under this solicitation are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, 45 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. These grants form part of the funding available under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program.

In addition, the FRA today released the 2018 Quarter 1 (Q1) status update on railroads’ self-reported progress toward implementing PTC systems. These reports were initiated by FRA to maintain transparency throughout the PTC implementation process.

“The railroads are making progress towards meeting the congressionally mandated PTC requirement, but there is still work to be done,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “The FRA will continue to work with railroads and suppliers to assist in fully implementing PTC.”

Fourteen railroads report they have installed 100 percent of the hardware necessary for PTC system implementation, as of March 31, 2018. Railroads’ self-reported data indicates that during Q1 of 2018, six other railroads—i.e., Altamont Corridor Express, Central Florida Rail Corridor (Sunrail), Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail), Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC), Metro-North Commuter Railroad, and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-rail)—increased their percentage of hardware installation by more than 10 percent, compared to Quarter 4 of 2017.

The latest data, current as of March 31, 2018, shows PTC systems are in operation on approximately 60 percent of freight railroads’ route miles that are required to be governed by PTC systems—up from 56 percent last quarter and 16 percent on December 31, 2016. Passenger railroads have made less progress—with PTC systems in operation on only 25 percent of required route miles, up one percent from the previous quarter.

For more key implementation data for Q1, see the infographics here: https://www.fra.dot.gov/ptc . To view the public version of each railroad’s Quarterly PTC Progress Report (Form FRA F 6180.165, OMB Control No. 2130-0553) for Quarter 1 of 2018, please visit each railroad’s PTC docket on https://www.regulations.gov/ . Railroads’ PTC docket numbers are available at https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0628 .

PTC System Grants under the CRISI Program will be published in the Federal Register. To view the NOFO, visit https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L19510 .

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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