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New Jersey Transit's board yesterday approved an agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to lease radio spectrum for positive train control (PTC).NJ Transit will lease the 218MHz radio frequency spectrum from the MTA for a period of 50 years for up to $725,000. The authorization will allow for the acquisition of the needed spectrum for the northern and eastern portions of NJ Transit's system, agency officials said in a press release."This is another milestone in our commitment to upgrading our current safety systems to positive train control by the federal deadline at the end of 2018," said NJ Transit Executive Director Steve Santoro. "We are aggressively tackling the challenges posed as PTC is being designed, developed and deployed simultaneously. Acquiring the needed radio spectrum was one of the larger hurdles which we have now crossed."The agency is under pressure to advance PTC as quickly as possible, especially following news that the safety technology was not in place when a commuter train crashed into the Hoboken Terminal last month, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others. The train was traveling at twice the posted speed in the terminal when the crash occurred, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.Currently, the agency is securing the hardware and software components of the PTC system, including thousands of transponders and 124 radio towers along 326 route miles, along with radios and antenna equipment for 440 locomotives, electric multiple units and cab cars.In April, NJ Transit's board authorized the purchase of radio spectrum from PTC-220 LLC for the southern, central and western portions of its system.Meanwhile, the agency's board yesterday adopted a $2.11 billion operating budget and $1.68 billion capital program for fiscal-year 2017. Nearly half of operating budget's revenue will come from fares, agency officials said. The remaining amount comes from a combination of state and federal reimbursements and state resources.The capital program will provide funds for continued state-of-good-repair investments in transit stations and infrastructure, as well as ongoing fleet modernization.
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