Washington, DC - Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) released the following statement today on the introduction of the bipartisan Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015 (H.R. 3819), a bill that funds and extends the authorization for federal highway and transit programs through November 20th, and that extends the deadline for implementation of Positive Train Control technology:
“Last week, the Transportation Committee unanimously approved the bipartisan, multi-year Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015. We look forward to voting on that bill in the House soon and then going to conference with the Senate on their highway bill. I am confident that we can resolve the differences between the House and Senate measures and producing a final product that’s good for our Nation’s infrastructure. This extension will allow the highway bill process to continue moving forward without shutting down transportation programs and projects across the country.
“This legislation also includes a necessary, bipartisan extension of the deadline for implementation of Positive Train Control technology. This language was also unanimously approved by the Transportation Committee last week. We need to extend the Positive Train Control deadline as soon as possible to prevent significant disruptions of both passenger and freight rail service across the country. The sooner we extend this deadline, the more certainty we will give our agricultural, manufacturing, and chemical industries to ensure there will be no supply-chain disruptions.”
H.R. 3819 was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Shuster, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Without an extension of the Positive Train Control deadline, freight railroads have indicated they will suspend shipments of certain chemicals, such as chlorine used to purify drinking water and anhydrous ammonia used in fertilizer, well before the end of the year. In some cases, companies that produce these chemicals already have been forced to begin their production shutdown processes. In other cases, some freight railroads may suspend all shipments of commodities. Passenger rail service will also be impacted: commuter railroads will have to suspend operations, and Amtrak service outside of the corridor between Washington and New York will stop.
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