U.S. DOT celebrates new FTA authority
U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff today joined Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and top safety and transit officials to celebrate a legislative victory that will ensure that transit passengers in the United States who board a railway or transit bus will travel on a system governed by federal safety oversight for the first time.
The new safety regulatory authority in MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century), the new two-year transportation authorization signed into law by President Obama on July 6, is the culmination of a concerted effort by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that began in December 2009, when Secretary LaHood formally transmitted to Congress a legislative proposal to establish and enforce minimum federal safety standards for rail transit systems.
“Safety is our highest priority, and I am enormously pleased that we now have the authority to impose strong safety regulations that are long overdue,” Porcari said. “Even as demand for public transportation rises across the United States, it remains one of the safest ways to travel and this administration intends to keep it that way.”
Under current law, FTA, which finances nearly half of the capital expenditures for transit systems nationwide, is not authorized to issue basic safety standards to protect rail transit passengers and rail workers.
MAP-21 requires, among other things, that FTA define and establish a State Safety Oversight program to ensure that rail transit systems are meeting stringent safety requirements. The law also includes new safety provisions for bus-only operators. FTA will implement the new law in consultation with the transit community and the DOT Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety, which has been working since September of 2010 to help guide this effort.