Who will pay the installing and maintenance costs
A dispute over who should bear the cost of installing a congressionally mandated train collision avoidance system could result in the suspension of Amtrak service to Missouri’s two largest cities by the end of the year.
Amtrak operates over two smaller freight railroads in Kansas City and St. Louis to reach the respective cities’ Union Stations. Amtrak and Missouri and the two railroads are at odds over who will pay the $32 million cost of installing the system in Kansas City and the $700,000 cost in St. Louis, and future maintenance expenses.
The system was required on all passenger train routes by Congress in 2008 after a deadly commuter rail accident in Southern California. After Dec. 31 of this year, Amtrak cannot operate on tracks that do not have the system, called Positive Train Control, unless Congress adjusts the deadline. The control technology systems are designed to avoid train collisions, derailments and other mishaps, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
The disagreement has the potential to disrupt rail travel across the state. Amtrak operates two round-trips a day between the two cities on the state-supported Missouri River Runner route. The trains carried almost 200,000 passengers in 2013.
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