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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has granted preliminary approval to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) application for a $967 million loan to install positive train control (PTC) for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) announced late last week.MTA submitted the loan application to the Federal Railroad Administration's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program (RRIF) program. Under RRIF, loan funding can be used to acquire, improve or rehabilitate intermodal or rail equipment or facilities, including track and track components, bridges, yards, buildings and shops; refinance outstanding debt incurred for such purposes; and develop or establish new intermodal or railroad facilities.As ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, Lowey has repeatedly highlighted the need for additional funding for PTC installation. PTC would help prevent the kind of deadly accident that occurred in December 2013 when a Metro-North train derailed near the Bronx and caused four fatalities, she said in a press release. The train's engineer fell asleep and failed to stop the train from speeding through a curve, resulting in the derailment."I'm pleased that MTA’s application to install positive train control technology has cleared this important hurdle," said Lowey.By law, railroads are required to implement PTC systems — which are designed to prevent collisions and derailments by ensuring that trains are not traveling at excessive speeds — by Dec. 31, 2015.