Posts Tagged ‘NTSB’

Homendy Named to NTSB

April 13, 2018

Jennifer L. Homendy has been nominated by President Donald Trump as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

She would  serve the remainder of a five-year term expiring Dec. 31, 2019.

Homendy is now the Democratic Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials for the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position she has held since 2004.

In that role, she advises members of Congress on legislation involving railroads, the safety of oil and natural gas pipelines, and the transportation of hazardous materials.

Homendy is certified by the International Association of Fire Fighters on Core HazMat Operations and Missions-Specific PPE and Product Control.

Between 1999 and 2004 Homendy was a legislative representative for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Previously, she worked for the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Homendy is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University.

Ex-NTSB Head Says Accidents Will Continue to Occur Until PTC is Installed and Implemented

February 13, 2018

A former head of the National Transportation Safety Board believes that accidents such as the one that killed two Amtrak crew members in South Carolina on Feb. 4 will continue until positive train control is fully installed and implemented.

Deborah Hersman said in an interview with Trains magazine that two recent derailments involving Amtrak that resulted in fatalities could have been prevented had PTC been in place at the time of the accidents.

Hersman said those accidents are especially frustrating because PTC is designed to prevent head-on collisions and speed-related incidents.

Excessive speed figured in a December derailment of an Amtrak Cascades train in Washington State while a misaligned switch has been implicated in the head-on crash of the southbound Silver Star with a parked CSX auto rack train.

“History just keeps repeating itself and we’re not learning from past mistakes fast enough to save lives,” she said.

Hersman was appointed to the NTSB in 2004. She was named chair of the board in 2009. Since 2014, she had served as president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

In the interview with Trains, Hersman noted that the NTSB has been calling for the implementation of PTC since 1990.

She said the number of accidents that might have been avoided had PTC been in place has continue to grow.

Following a head-on collision between a Los Angeles commuter train and a Union Pacific train in 2008, Congress adopted legislation requiring Class I railroad mainlines that haul hazardous materials or routes with regularly scheduled passenger service to have PTC.

The deadline was to have been at the end of 2016, but was extended by Congress to the end of 2018.

By law railroads required to have PTC must show that they have installed it by the end of this year. Failing that, they must show they have made substantial progress to seek an extension to 2020, something Hersman said would be disingenuous.

“We keep kicking the can down the road,” she said. “The pressure is on in the next 10 months because having PTC close to being installed is not close enough.”

Trump Budget Slashes Amtrak Funding 45%

May 24, 2017

The Trump administration wants to slash Amtrak funding by 45 percent in fiscal year 2018.

The detailed budget proposed released this week proposed giving Amtrak $744 million.

In the current fiscal year, Amtrak received $1.4 billion. The cuts for next year include ending $289 for Amtrak’s long-distance train routes.

The budget document described long-distance trains as “a vestige of when train service was the only viable transcontinental transportation option. Today, communities are served by an expansive aviation, interstate highway, and intercity bus network.”

The document said Amtrak’s long-distance trains represent the greatest amount of Amtrak’s operating losses, serve relatively small populations, and have the worst on-time record.

The Trump administration would instead appropriate $1.5 billion for the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington.

[The Northeast Corridor] “faces many challenges, and the 2018 Budget proposal would allow Amtrak to right-size itself and more adequately focus on these pressing issues,” the budget document said.

Nonetheless, the Trump administration has proposed cutting funding for the development of New York’s Penn Station by 64 percent from $14 million to $5 million.

The Amtrak funding cuts make up the lion’s share of the 37 percent cut proposed by the Trump administration for the Federal Railroad Administration.

The agency’s parent organization, the U.S. Department of Transportation, would receive $16.2-billion in FY 2018, a decline of 12.7 percent over what it received in FY 2017.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s budget would drop by 37 percent from $1.7 billion to $1.05 billion while Federal Transit Administration will decline by 5 percent from its FY 2017 appropriation of $11.8 billion.

The FTA would receive $11.2 billion, which includes $9.7 billion for transit formula grants. The FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program for new starts would be cut by 43 percent from $2.16 billion to $1.2.

Funding would be continued only for programs that FTA is legally bound to support through full-funding grant agreements.

Funding for the Transportation Generating Economic Recovery grant program would be eliminated.

The budget document said projects that are attempting to receive TIGER funding could still earn grants through the Nationally Significant Freight and Highways Projects fund managed by DOT’s Build America Bureau.

The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation programs would remain in place, but receive no additional funding.

The National Transportation Safety Board would receive $106 million, which is no change from FY 2017.

The Surface Transportation Board would receive a $5 million boost to $37 million in order to implement regulatory changes under the STB reauthorization law of 2015.

The Trump administration budget proposal is likely to undergo numerous changes as Congress considers federal funding priorities for FY 2018.

Sumwalt Named as NTSB Vice Chairman

April 7, 2017

The Trump administration has named Robert L. Sumwalt as vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

President Donald Trump said he plans to nominate Sumwalt for another five-year term on the board.

Sunwalt will replace as vice chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr, whose duties in that position  ended this week.

Dinh-Varr had served as acting chairman since March 16 and remains a board member.

The NTSB has five members, all of whom are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to serve five-year terms.

The NTSB also said that it was 50 years ago this week that it conducted its first investigation, a probe of a plane crash at Lexington, Kentucky, on April 3, 1967.

The board has since issued more than 2,400 safety recommendations for railroads, more than 200 recommendations in intermodal transportation, and several thousand additional recommendations for other modes of transportation.

Beverly Scott Appointed to Seat on NTSB

August 3, 2015

President Barack Obama has named Beverly Scott to the National Transportation Board.

Scott previous served as the general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. She resigned that position in April 2015 following severe weather-related service disruptions.

She began her service at the agency in December 2012 and previously served as chief executive officer and general manager of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.