Federal railroad regulator vows to enforce Dec. 31 deadline for safety technology

Industrials Associated Press

The nation's top railroad regulator says she will enforce a Dec. 31 deadline for commuter and freight railroads to install safety technology that experts say could have prevented a deadly Amtrak derailment last month.

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Sarah Feinberg, acting chief of the Federal Railroad Administration, told a House subcommittee that she has no choice but to enforce the year-end deadline for railroads to install a technology known as positive train control.

Feinberg said she sympathizes with railroad officials who have said they are unlikely to meet the congressionally mandated deadline. But she says "we really do run into a problem on Jan. 1 where the law is the law. I can't extend the deadline."

The Senate Transportation Committee is considering a bill to grant railroads an extension for at least five years.