Release #15-19

NARP Supports Nomination of Sarah Feinberg as Federal Railroad Administration Head

For Immediate Release (#15-19)

Contact: Benet J. Wilson

443-838-7033

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Association of Railroad Passengers wrote to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to encourage Senators to confirm the appointment of Sarah Feinberg as the head of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

“Feinberg has been leading the agency as acting administrator since January, and her performance has earned the respect and thanks of America’s passengers,” wrote NARP President and CEO Jim Mathews. “Stepping into a challenging regulatory and safety oversight environment with minimal background in the rail industry, Feinberg applied her many years of experience as an administrator and a policy advisor to effectively address a series of challenges that have come to the national forefront during her time at the FRA.

“During her tenure, she has managed the FRA response to two deadly train crashes in 2015, first a Metro-North incident in New Jersey and then an Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia,” continued Mathews. “She was among the first on the scene to ensure an effective response—not only in the immediate aftermath, but in the days and weeks that followed.

“She also stepped into the middle of the contentious debate over Positive Train Control, and has been responsive to the concerns of stakeholders. NARP has been able to communicate our concern over the discontinuation of any passenger service, emphasizing that the national transportation network will become decidedly less safe if commuters are forced off trains and onto highways," said Mathews. "The way forward is to pass a short extension of the deadline on a case-by-case basis, with intermediate guidelines to ensure that railroads are accountable for going ahead with the installation of PTC in a responsible fashion. NARP has confidence that Acting Administrator Feinberg is the right person to oversee this process.”

Feinberg's past experience includes time spent serving as director of corporate and strategic communications at Facebook, special aAssistant to the president and senior advisor to the White House Chief of Staff, and Chief of Staff at the Department of Transportation. Her diverse experience—in conjunction with the countless years of railroad experience of the FRA’s professional staff—is an asset to America’s passengers.

The full letter can be found below.

About the National Association of Railroad Passengers

NARP is the only national organization speaking for the users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.

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September 17, 2015

Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson,

The National Association of Railroad Passengers encourages you to confirm Sarah Feinberg as the head of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Acting Administrator Feinberg has been leading the agency as Acting Administrator since January, and her performance has earned the respect and thanks of America’s passengers. Stepping into a challenging regulatory and safety oversight environment with minimal background in the rail industry, Feinberg applied her many years of experience as an administrator and a policy advisor to effectively address a series of challenges that have come to the national forefront during her time at the FRA.

During her tenure, she has managed the FRA response to two deadly train crashes in 2015, first a Metro-North incident in New Jersey and then an Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia. She was among the first on the scene to ensure an effective response—not only in the immediate aftermath, but in the days and weeks that followed.

She also stepped into the middle of the contentious debate over Positive Train Control, and has been responsive to the concerns of stakeholders. NARP has been able to communicate our concern over the discontinuation of any passenger service, emphasizing that the national transportation network will become decidedly less safe if commuters are forced off trains and onto highways. The way forward is to pass a short extension of the deadline on a case-by-case basis, with intermediate guidelines to ensure that railroads are accountable for going ahead with the installation of PTC in a responsible fashion. NARP has confidence that Acting Administrator Feinberg is the right person to oversee this process.

Her past experience includes time spent serving as Director of Corporate and Strategic communications at Facebook, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to White House Chief of Staff, and Chief of Staff at the Department of Transportation. Her diverse experience—in conjunction with the countless years of railroad experience of the FRA’s professional staff—is an asset to America’s passengers.

Thank you for your consideration in this important manner.

Jim Mathews, President & CEO

National Association of Railroad Passengers.

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