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“It’s still really in the product development stage,” said Robert L. Healy Jr., vice president of government affairs for the American Public Transportation Association, a trade association for commuter rail operators. “There’s not only a dearth of technology but also expertise in terms of getting this installed.”

Rail industry officials have projected it would cost freight railroads nearly $6 billion to install the safety systems and that passenger railroads would spend another $2.4 billion. The federal government authorized up to $250 million over five years to help subsidize the costs, but so far has allocated $50 million specifically for the safety systems. Many commuter lines, meanwhile, are already struggling to keep up with existing maintenance needs.

Federal safety officials have voiced concerns about the proposed delay. Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, California Democrat, that the agency has investigated scores of accidents in recent decades that could have been prevented if positive train control systems had been installed.


Biden touts economic resiliency at stop

COLUMBUS — Vice President Joseph R. Biden says he’s convinced America is better positioned than other nations to continue to lead the world’s economy — whether or not his boss is still in charge.

Mr. Biden touted the resiliency of the U.S. economy Thursday during remarks to the Ohio Newspaper Association.

He said the economy will continue to provide Americans with decent jobs for years to come whether or not he and President Obama are in office. And he said he’s convinced people are regaining confidence about the country’s ability to lead economically.

Mr. Biden said he believed that in the year 2020 or 2030, the U.S. would be “the single most vibrant economy in the world,” adding it is in the world’s interest that it is.

From wire dispatches and staff reports