Metra will receive at $20-million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) for the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on its Milwaukee North and West lines.
U.S. Representatives Dan Lipinski (D-IL-3) and Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced the $20,168,000 grant.
“This much-needed grant for Metra is great news,” said Rep. 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.”
Metra is responsible for installing PTC on all trains and along the five lines it controls – Metra Electric, Milwaukee North, Milwaukee West, Rock Island and SouthWest Service. Metra estimates the federally-mandated technology will cost between $350 million to $400 million to implement. In January 2016, Metra filed an alternative schedule for implementing PTC by 2020, although the commuter agency had previously committed to implementation in 2019.
“Implementation of Positive Train Control is a vital step in ensuring our rail systems are as safe and reliable as possible,” said Rep. 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 Sen. 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.”