FTA unveils final rule to boost state rail safety oversight, enforcement

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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), recently unveiled its final rule to strengthen the states' safety enforcement and oversight authority for rail transit systems.

The goal is to help prevent accidents that involve rail transportation.

“With the more rigorous and effective state safety oversight required by this final rule and federal law, transit systems across the nation will receive greater safety oversight with the aim of improving safety for passengers and transit system employees,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “Greater investigatory and enforcement power, combined with better training, will give state safety oversight watchdogs sharper teeth to help rail transit agencies keep their systems safe.”

The rule will be implemented by April 16 in states that have rail transit systems, and it enforces several important federal statutory requirements, including one that requires that a state submit its State Safety Oversight (SSO) program to the FTA for certification and that SSO agencies must be financially and legally independent from the rail transit agencies they oversee.

“FTA has delivered exactly what Congress authorized: a stronger, more robust state safety oversight program with increased enforcement tools,”  FTA Administrator Therese McMillan said. “States should act swiftly to come into compliance to provide a higher level of safety for their rail transit system riders and workers.”


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