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AAR: Chlorine Institute's PTC cost-benefit claim is 'way off base'


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) disputes the Chlorine Institute Inc.’s recent claim that the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) analysis of positive train control (PTC) benefits was flawed. The institute has called on the FRA to reissue its PTC final rule with a corrected cost-benefit analysis.

"In weighing all the factors involved in PTC implementation, the FRA’s examination of the costs versus the benefits of PTC clearly shows that there are no present business benefits to the railroads,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a prepared statement. “In fact, the cost-benefit carries an inverse relationship of 20 to one. The FRA estimates the cost of installing PTC to be $10 to $13 billion over 20 years with about a $500 million safety benefit.”
More than 80 percent of PTC’s proposed business benefits depend on increasing train speed, but the technology will not increase capacity and train speed, and likely will reduce both, he said. During tests, a PTC-controlled train’s stopping distance far exceeds the distance under normal train operations — and increased stopping distances will mean lower average speed and reduced capacity, said Hamberger.

"The Chlorine Institute is attacking the FRA’s cost-benefit analysis of PTC as a smoke screen to hide the fact that their shipments will raise the cost of rail transportation for all customers,” he said. “Instead of bashing the FRA cost-benefit analysis, the Chlorine Institute should join the AAR in improving the safety and efficiency of rail transportation.”

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More News from 3/19/2010