Press Releases

Feinstein Statement on Rail Safety, Accident Liability

Renews call for strict PTC deadline, raising liability cap

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today renewed her call for full implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) as soon as possible and announced she is cosponsoring a bill to raise the liability cap on passenger rail accidents.

Senator Feinstein released the following statement:

Positive Train Control

“The deployment of PTC has been a priority of mine for many years, and it’s an issue that must be at the forefront of any discussion of rail safety. If we have a technology that can save lives, there is simply no reason not to use it.

“The 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth, Calif., which killed 25 and injured 135, could have been prevented had PTC been installed. That tragedy made it clear to me that we absolutely must install PTC on all passenger railroads across the country as soon as possible.”

For more information on the Positive Train Control Safety Act, introduced by Senator Feinstein last month, click here. Senator Feinstein also commented on the need for PTC implementation last week.

Rail accident liability cap

“One painful lesson from the Metrolink tragedy is that the current liability cap is too low. Total damages from the crash were over $320 million, but the cap meant victims and families didn’t receive the damages they deserved. The judge tasked with allocating those funds called his responsibility ‘judicial triage’ and a ‘Sophie’s Choice.’

“That’s why I am cosponsoring Senator Bill Nelson’s legislation to raise the liability cap to $500 million. This is a commonsense proposal that would help many victims and their families. I first supported this policy in a bill I introduced with Senator Boxer in 2010, and I wish it could have passed then. The Amtrak accident has already caused enough suffering—it would only be compounded by insufficient compensation.”

For more information on this bill, click here.