TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey’s congressional delegation is calling on the federal government to fulfill NJ TRANSIT’s request for $10 million to help install an automatic train speed control system.
Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez and 12 members of Congress made the request to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx after last month’s train crash in Hoboken.
“It is time to start now,” Menendez said. “You shouldn’t lose one more life, you shouldn’t wait one more moment.”
Foxx says the government isn’t prepared to commit to the money, but that the department believes strongly in positive train control.
“We’re taking a request like that very seriously,” he said.
The transit agency said in a filing to federal regulators in June that it hasn’t made any additional progress on installing the system while approaching a December 2018 deadline.
The NJ TRANSIT train’s data recorder showed it going twice the speed limit just before it crashed. One woman was killed and more than 100 other people were hurt.
It wasn’t yet clear exactly what positive train control could have done to prevent the crash.
An Associated Press analysis of data from January 2011 through July 2016 found that trains run by NJ TRANSIT have been involved in 157 accidents since the start of 2011, three times as many as the Long Island Rail Road.
Most of the accidents were minor with no injuries, but transportation committee chairman, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, is calling for hearings and will ask to subpoena officials if needed.
“How are they accounting for all of these violations? All of the problems they’ve had with safe operations?” he told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “This is not something that they’ve shared with any branch of government.”
He said the apparent safety slide is likely the result of funding cuts in recent years. No comment from NJ TRANSIT while the fatal Hoboken crash investigation continues.
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