February 20, 2015
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Foxx Ends Bus Tour in D.C.; Proposes Rule Safety Framework for Rail Transit

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx completed his four-day, five state bus tour at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station on Feb. 20, where he reiterated his appeal to Congress urging action on a long-term transportation bill and announced a proposed rule to increase the oversight responsibilities of State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSOAs).
The proposed rule—issued by FTA and reflecting new statutory safety authority established by MAP-21—would give states more resources to increase oversight over rail transit systems, require adoption and enforcement of federal and state safety laws and require SSOAs to be financially and legally independent of the rail transit systems they oversee.
“We must improve, modernize and transform rail transit safety oversight to provide the increased level of safety expected by the millions of passengers who use rail transit every day,” Foxx said. “Rail transit is a safe travel option, but we have an obligation and opportunity to make it even safer.”
In addition, FTA would have greater authority to review and approve each State Safety Oversight program, including triennial audits, review of annual status reports and certification of SSOAs. If states do not meet statutory criteria, FTA may withhold federal funds until an SSO program is certified. Public comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
“FTA appreciates the continued cooperation and engagement of our state and rail transit industry partners as we take this major step forward toward a new safety regulatory framework,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “We drafted the proposed rule to ensure it allows for the flexibility and scalability needed to provide effective safety benefits for passengers and employees of transit agencies of all sizes and operating environments.”
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