The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) have preliminary approved the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) application for a $967 million loan to install positive train control (PTC) technology for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Commuter Railroad.
The loan application has been submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program (RRIF) program. Under this program, loan funding can be used to acquire, improve, or rehabilitate intermodal or rail equipment or facilities, including track, components of track, bridges, yards, buildings and shops; refinance outstanding debt incurred for the purposes listed above; and develop or establish new intermodal or railroad facilities.
Direct loans can fund up to 100% of a railroad project with repayment periods of up to 35 years and interest rates equal to the cost of borrowing from the government. Eligible borrowers include railroads, state and local governments, government-sponsored authorities and corporations, joint ventures that include at least one railroad, and limited option freight shippers who intend to construct a new rail connection.
By law, railroads are expected to implement PTC systems, which prevent collisions and derailments by ensuring that trains are not travelling at excessive speeds, by Dec. 31, 2015.