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AAR says Chlorine Institute off base in benefits of PTC

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The Chlorine Institute has called on the Federal Railroad Administration to reexamine its rule on the cost and benefits of implementing positive train control systems. The Chlorine Institute claims that the FRA analysis of the benefits of PTC was flawed and that positive train control systems result in business benefits to the railroads. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"The truth is that
in weighing all the factors involved in PTC implementation, FRA’s examination
of the costs versus the benefits of PTC clearly shows that there are no present
business benefits to the railroads. In fact, the cost-benefit carries an
inverse relationship of 20 to one. The FRA estimates the costs of installing
PTC to be $10 to $13 billion over 20 years with about a $500 million safety
benefit," said Association of American Railroads president and CEO Edward
R. Hamberger.

More than 80 percent of
PTC’s alleged business benefits depend on increasing train speed. PTC will not
increase capacity and train speed; instead, it will likely reduce both. Current
PTC technology cannot equal the handling and braking precision of a skilled
engineer. In a testing, the stopping distance under PTC far exceeds the
distance under normal operations with a skilled engineer. Increased stopping
distances will mean reduced average speed and reduced capacity.

"The Chlorine
Institute is attacking the FRA’s cost-benefit analysis of PTC as a smoke screen
to hide the fact that their shipments will raise the cost of rail
transportation for all customers. The high cost of the PTC mandate is a direct
result of the toxic nature of chlorine shipments," noted Hamberger.
"Instead of bashing the FRA cost benefit analysis, the Chlorine Institute
should join AAR in improving the safety and efficiency of rail transportation,
as well as reducing the exposure of the American public to toxic-by-inhalation
(TIH) hazardous materials, through product substitution and other means of
reducing the transportation of TIH."

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