The House of Representatives on Oct. 27 approved bipartisan legislation that funds and extends the authorization for federal highway and transit programs through Nov. 20.
The bill prevents a shutdown of the U.S. rail transportation system by extending the deadline for implementation of Positive Train Control technology. It also gives lawmakers breathing room to work on a long-term highway bill reauthorization.
The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015 (H.R. 3819) was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Penn.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).
"H.R. 3819 also recognizes that failing to extend the Positive Train Control deadline now will have devastating economic impacts," Shuster said. "Not only will railroads stop shipping important chemicals critical to manufacturing, agriculture, clean drinking water, and other industrial activities, but passenger and commuter rail transportation will virtually screech to a halt. A PTC-related rail shutdown would pull $30 billion out of the economy in the first quarter and lead to 700,000 jobs lost in just one month. It's our responsibility to extend this deadline now, and avoid shutting down much of our rail system."