Lipinski, Quigley, Durbin, and Duckworth Announce $20 Million in Federal Funding for Metra for Safety Technology (May 24, 2017)

U.S. Representatives Dan Lipinski (IL-3) and Mike Quigley (IL-5) and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced today that Metra will receive $20,168,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation for implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) safety technology on its Milwaukee North and West lines.  PTC is a federally mandated computerized system that prevents certain types of train-to-train collisions, helps avoid derailments and other accidents caused by excessive speed, and increases safety for rail workers. 

“This much-needed grant for Metra is great news,” said Lipinski.  “Representing a district with a large number of rail lines, I have always made rail safety a top priority on the Railroad Subcommittee.  In 2008, I included language in a bill to create the Rail Safety Technology Grant program to help railroads install life-saving PTC more quickly.  Unfortunately, Congress never fully-funded this program and commuter railroads like Metra were not able to implement PTC.  Last Congress, I joined with Rep. Quigley on a bill to reauthorize the grant program so that Metra could get federal help to install this critical safety technology.”

“Implementation of Positive Train Control is a vital step in ensuring our rail systems are as safe and reliable as possible,” said Quigley.  “Metra plays such an important role in the Chicagoland region, and this much-needed funding will help guarantee that one of the busiest commuter rail systems in the nation continues to provide for residents.  It will also help drive additional economic activity and further solidify Chicago’s role as a leader in innovative transportation.”

“Metra has more track than any commuter rail system in the country and 150,000 daily passengers,” said Durbin.  “Positive Train Control is critical to the safety of these passengers.  This funding will greatly help Metra meet its goal and move forward with full PTC operability.”

“Improving Chicagoland’s commuter rail system is vital to supporting our region’s economic growth,” said Duckworth.  “This funding will go a long way towards making Illinois’s transportation systems safer and more reliable throughout the Chicagoland region.”

PTC safety technology integrates GPS, communications units, and a railroad’s centralized dispatching system. Together, these components track trains, convey operating instructions, and monitor the crew’s compliance.  PTC will automatically stop a train if the system detects that a violation is about to occur.