Federal Transit Chief Promises New Safety Regulations

The two-year federal highway funding bill grants authority to the Federal Transit Administration to set nationwide standards –- something Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asked for in 2009.

U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said their agencies will move forward with national safety regulations for the transit industry, once the regulatory authority contained in the MAP-21 law (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) that President Obama signed July 6. The authority and many safety provisions in the law take effect Oct. 1.

FTA said the law requires it to establish a State Safety Oversight program for rail transit systems; it also includes new safety provisions for bus-only operators.

The new authority is what U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sought in 2009, when he submitted a legislative proposal to Congress asking for it.

"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."

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff"This is an important win for the safety of tens of millions of Americans who use transit each day and for the well-being of transit workers on the front lines as conductors and track inspectors," said Rogoff.

"I'm deeply gratified that for the first time, we are ushering in an era where in every state and transit agency, safety will be a real priority," he added.

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