Train safety devices get federal money

Such is the ways of Washington D.C.: the defense spending bill that President Obama signed yesterday also includes money for transportation programs, including $50 million for the development of rail safety systems called positive train control to help prevent trains from colliding. Experts say such systems may have prevented the Metrolink-freight train crash in Chatsworth in Sept. 2008. (In a different type of accident, a Metrolink train hit a car in Sun Valley this morning, sending its occupants to the hospital, reports KABC).

Here’s the item from Metro CEO’s daily email to staff:

President Obama Signs Omnibus Appropriations Bill That Includes Transportation Funding For Fiscal Year 2010

The White House has announced that President Obama has signed H.R. 3326, the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2010” into law. The bill provides FY 2010 appropriations for Department of Defense (DOD) military programs including funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, and extends various expiring authorities and other non-defense FY 2010 appropriations, including funding for transportation programs and projects.  The bill includes funds for highway and transit formula programs and projects and specific funding for the Eastside Light Rail Line and Wilshire Bus-Only project. The bill also includes funds $50 million for the number one priority outlined in our 2009 Legislative Program – Positive Train Control.  Metro’s advocacy team was instrumental in securing this appropriation.  In addition, the legislation signed includes $75 million for Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grants to help transit agencies make capital investments that will reduce the energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions of their operations, replacing buses with electric hybrids and powering facilities with wind and solar power and $2.5 billion for High Speed/Intercity Passenger Rail Grants to provide grants to states or Amtrak for high speed/intercity passenger rail.  The bill also includes $600 million for National Infrastructure Investments for grants to support significant transportation projects in a wide variety of modes, including highways and bridges, public transportation, passenger and freight railroads, and port infrastructure.