FRCA Joins 135 Other Organizations Urging Congress to Pursue PTC Deadline Extension as Part of Next Highway Sort-Term Extension

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
S-230, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Harry Reid
Minority Leader
S-221, U.S. Capitol 
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
H-204, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi,

The undersigned organizations representing American farmers, manufacturers, retailers, energy providers and other freight rail customers strongly urge Congress to act without further delay to pass an appropriate extension to complete the installation of positive train control (PTC) on the nation’s rail lines. This PTC issue must be resolved in the upcoming highway bill extension in order to avoid a disruption to the supply of vital commodities—we cannot afford for this issue to go unresolved into November.

It has been made abundantly clear that PTC will not be installed in time to meet the rapidly approaching regulatory deadline. As a result, passenger and freight railroads have told Congress and their customers that they will shut down large segments of the nation’s freight rail network. A disruption in freight rail service of this magnitude would jeopardize the nation’s access to food, energy and water supplies and negatively impact every sector of the U.S. economy.

A shutdown of rail service is very real, and rail customers are already starting to feel the impacts. We have received notifications that disruptions will begin next month to complete shipments that are in transit and that railroads will not accept new shipments. With a shutdown just around the corner, rail customers must start putting contingency plans into motion, including adjusting production schedules and workforce levels.

Without a solution from Congress in the next few weeks, the impacts on our members and the broader economy will grow every day. A recent economic impact analysis by the American Chemistry Council calculated that a one month shutdown will pull $30 billion dollars out of the economy and would increase the unemployment rate with a loss of 700,000 jobs.

Our members and the U.S. economy need a solution from Congress now to keep the trains running. Passing an extension should not be held hostage to resolve other issues. We strongly support the legislative compromise that was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the mark-up of the highway bill on Thursday, and we appreciate all of the efforts by Senate and House leaders to move forward with an extension.

We strongly urge that you work with your colleagues to include a provision to extend the PTC deadline in the highway bill extension before the end of this month. This legislation is the best and most expedient way to resolve this issue and to avert a nationwide shutdown of rail service.


The American Chemistry Council


cc:            The Honorable John Thune

                  The Honorable Bill Nelson

                  The Honorable Bill Shuster

                  The Honorable Peter DeFazio