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

IndustrialsAssociated 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.

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.

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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.