PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Members of Congress and transportation executives met Thursday morning to discuss safety standards following several deadly train crashes -- including the one in Washington back in December.
The inaugural run of Amtrak Cascades Train 501 derailed in December -- killing 3 people and wounding dozens more after the engineer took a curve too fast.
The hearing, requested by Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, focused on Positive Train Control (PTC), which is a system designed to stop trains automatically before crashes occur. Rail companies have to get it installed by the end of the year.
On Thursday, senators and transportation executives met to get an update on the implementation of PTC.
"We need to make sure that the traveling public is safe and both situational awareness and technologies are at the best available," Sen. Cantwell said.
Members of the committee expressed that they felt these upgrades have been a long time coming. Back in 2008, they set a requirement for PTC by the end of 2015, but it was then moved back to the end of 2018.
Transportation companies said the implementation process is complex and costly, so they're unsure if PTC can be installed by the Dec. 31 deadline.
President and CEO of Amtrak Richard Anderson said, "There may be significant cancellations of sort of necessary transportation. I know you may not want to hear that, but it is the reality."
However, with multiple train crashes still happening across the country, some senators have grown tired of waiting.
"More and more these arguments are becoming tiresome, especially in light of the fact that the railroads have had 10 years to get this done," Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said.