PTC Extension Update
I wanted to provide a quick update on the legislative progress toward passing a Positive Train Control (PTC) extension. Extensive BNSF and customer advocacy continues in an effort to have the U.S. Congress pass PTC extension legislation as soon as possible. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on legislative language that extends the PTC deadline to 2018 and provides for a limited two-year extension beyond that, if necessary, to ensure complete, effective and safe implementation. The House added this PTC extension language to H.R. 3819, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015, which is considered a "must pass" bill. The bill needs to be enacted by October 29 to avoid shutting off federal funding to states for highway and transit-related projects, and it extends those programs until November 20th, giving Congress more time to complete negotiations on a multi-year transportation bill.
The House of Representatives is poised to vote on H.R.3819 as early as Tuesday of this week (see the bill included on the House Majority Leader's weekly legislative schedule at http://www.majorityleader.gov/floor/#weekly) with an expectation it will pass with significant bipartisan support.
The bill would then move to the Senate where the prospects are less clear given the ability of any one Senator to lodge an objection and at least temporarily hold up consideration. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has publicly expressed strong reservations about inclusion of the PTC extension in H.R. 3819. She argues that the provision more appropriately belongs in the multi-year transportation bill.
Railroads and their customers have reiterated the need to extend the PTC deadline now, so that freight and passenger rail service is not affected by whether or not a longer term bill can be completed. A recent letter to congressional leaders signed by 134 business association groups emphasizes this very point.
BNSF will continue to provide updates as legislative progress is made.
Executive Vice President and
Chief Marketing Officer