Near Miss Dick Blumenthal is at it again. If I were an insensitive person, I'd say that guy just doesn't know when to shut up; or step back from edge of the platform
But he's a senator, so not knowing when to shut up is more than a talent, it's a veritable job requirement.
A couple of months ago, Near Miss Dick was introducing legislation to push-back the PTC deadline date to 2018. Now Near Miss wants all those railroads not meeting the December 31, 2015 due date to suffer the full wrath of....the Congress? Not the Congress. That would require the Congress to be accountable, in some fashion to people of the United States, and explain how it has failed to pay attention to the progress or lack thereof in meeting its established mandates. No way. Never happen, as we used to say back in the day.
Nope, Near Miss Dick wants FRA to assess fines against the railroads not meeting the deadline date. Did I say all railroads? Let me correct that: not all railroads. According to the CT Mirror:
While Blumenthal is calling for tough punishment for those rail companies, he’s willing to make an exception for the state of Connecticut, which, like the nation’s railroads must implement PTC because it owns hundreds of miles of track in the state.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation said PTC would not be implemented on the tracks the state owns in Connecticut until 2018, at least two years after the deadline.
That's mighty nice of Near Miss Dick. Near Miss Dick thinks Connecticut has made a good faith effort in that the state has lined up about 78% of the total financing required for its installation of PTC.
If lining up financing is a "good faith effort" good and faithful enough to stay the wrath of Near Miss Dick, how about actually spending the money? Does that count? How about actually equipping locomotives and signals and switches? Shouldn't that count?
AAR reports its member railroads have spent a cool $5.2 billion of the estimated $9 billion budgeted for full deployment; that 60% of their members' locomotives are equipped for PTC operations; that 50% of the required wayside interface units have been installed; 33% of the necessary radio antennas have been installed.
Doesn't that, those, count as a good faith effort, as opposed to the promise to pay someone, sometime, some amount for the future installation of a systems three years after the due date?
How about the fact that in addition to filing the required PTCIPs, other railroads have filed annual updates with FRA, detailing progress, and the lack thereof, with their installations of the system? Shouldn't that count as part of a good faith, honest, no-spin effort?
Is that a question? Yes.
Do you want an answer? Yes.
Here it is: only if the Class 1s move their headquarters to Connecticut. Then it would count.
August 12, 2015
And then is heard no more...(I wish)