U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx proposes safety improvements to rail transit systems

Anthony Foxx, the secretary of U.S. transportation, proposed a new rule on Friday to implement improved oversight responsibilities for the State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSOA).

The outlined improvements would replace outdated regulations with new ones, designed both to evaluate and enhance the efficiency of the agency’s safety program.
During his last stop on the GROW AMERICA Express bus tour, the secretary visited Washington Union Station to propose the idea: part of a four-day, five-state trip that purposed to highlight the importance of investing in the nation’s infrastructure.
The proposed rule would build upon the new statutory safety authority created by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). Signed into law in the summer of 2012, MAP-21 was the first long-term highway authorization enacted since 2005.

The rule would raise state funding and resources in order to increase safety oversight for rail systems, as well as to enact stricter enforcement of safety measures. It would also require SSOAs to be independent from the rail systems they oversee.

If the new rule is passed, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) could withhold federal funding to any State Safety Oversight programs that do not satisfy the new criteria for safety regulations.