State approves big chunk of funding for train safety system for Metrolink

We posted yesterday that the state was on the verge of approving $46 million in funding for positive train control, a computer-based system designed to keep trains providing. It’s a system that Metrolink has sought since the tragic crash in Chatsworth in Sept. 2008 that killed 25.

More funding is still needed to implement PTC in Southern California. But the state’s action today brings the shortfall to $10 million — money that Metro believes it can get from the federal government. The above video shows how one PTC system works.

Here is the press release.

CTC Action on Positive Train Control Funding Statement by Metro CEO Art Leahy

Quotes from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and MTA Board Chair Ara Najarian

Today’s action by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approving funding for Positive Train Control (PTC) is a major victory for our region. PTC is a major safety enhancement for passenger rail service throughout the region.

Funding for PTC will enable the region to install an advance computer-satellite tracking system that will monitor trains as they travel across the region preventing accidents.

In approving the funding for PTC, the CTC has paved the way for the state to begin allocating money for PTC with the state, eventually, set to provide $46.5 million.

This is truly a win-win for everyone and a great victory for the region.

Metro worked long and hard with a number of different agencies as part of the Southern California Consensus Group to ensure that funding was made available for PTC as part of our discussions regarding the Los Angeles/Inland Corridor Colton Crossing project.

I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Ara Najarian, Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as well as CTC Chair James Earp, Vice Chair Larry Zarian and Commissioner Dario Frommer, whose leadership and hard work made this funding possible, moving both projects forward. The CTC action today ensures that safety is priority one for our rail passengers.

“This is the news that thousands of Metrolink customers have been waiting to hear,” said Najarian who also serves as a Metrolink director. “Positive Train Control technology will help prevent serious accidents like the Chatsworth tragedy. At the same time, Metrolink’s investment in a fleet of new rail cars designed to protect passengers in crashes, further ensures the safety of our riders. And that has to be our top priority.”

“The entire region came together in an effort to ensure that Metrolink becomes the gold standard for safety and passenger rail travel throughout the county with state-of-the-art technology,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Today’s action by the CTC to fund Positive Train Control is a giant step forward.”