WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D - Westchester), announced Wednesday that the Federal Railroad Administration has given final approval of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) application for a $967 million loan to install positive train control (PTC) technology for Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Commuter Railroad.
This loan will allow MTA to install life-saving safety improvements on commuter rail lines.
“Final approval of this loan helps put us on track to ensuring we avoid the tragic accidents that have plagued our commuter rail system,” said Lowey.
“I’m pleased MTA finally has the resources it needs to utilize this life-saving technology, and I urge expeditious implementation to guarantee safety for riders. As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue working with federal, state, and local officials to ensure rail safety.”
The loan application was given final approval by the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program (RRIF) program.
Under this program, the loan funding can be used to acquire, improve, or rehabilitate intermodal or rail equipment or facilities, including track, components of track, bridges, yards, buildings and shops; refinance outstanding debt incurred for the purposes listed above; and develop or establish new intermodal or railroad facilities.
Direct loans can fund up to 100 percent of a railroad project with repayment periods of up to 35 years and interest rates equal to the cost of borrowing from the government. Eligible borrowers include railroads, state and local governments, government-sponsored authorities and corporations, joint ventures that include at least one railroad, and limited option freight shippers who intend to construct a new rail connection.
By law, railroads are expected to implement PTC systems, which prevent collisions and derailments by ensuring that trains are not travelling at excessive speeds, by Dec. 31.
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