July 5, 2010
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Senate Banking Committee Approves Transit Safety Bill
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs reported out the administration’s Public Transportation Safety Act of 2010 by unanimous vote in a markup June 29. The bill goes next to the Senate floor.
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recognized the support of committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development. The secretary delivered the bill—the first transit-specific safety bill ever sent to Congress by any administration—in December 2009.
The legislation would end the prohibition against the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) from directly overseeing safety programs, which has been in effect since 1965.
Referring to the bill as “historic,” LaHood said: “Safety is the Department of Transportation’s number one priority, and we look forward to working with the full Senate and House to get this bill passed and signed into law.”
FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff added: “Today’s milestone is the first major step in untying the hands of the Federal Transit Administration and allowing us to implement national safety standards. We need these tools to ensure that transit remains safe as our systems age and experienced employees retire in increasing numbers.”
APTA President William Millar also acknowledged the Senate Banking Committee for its work on the bill. “Safety is the number one priority for the public transportation industry,” he said, “and we welcome the effort to make one of the safest modes of transportation—rail transit—even safer. We are encouraged that the Senate Banking Committee worked closely with the public transit industry as it developed the bill. We look forward to continuing this dialogue as the legislation advances in the Senate.”