Feds Want Control of Light-rail Safety
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 3:21 PM
Last June's deadly train crash in the Washington metro area was a wake-up call, said the nation's top transportation official.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified before Congress yesterday, calling on lawmakers to pass the Public Transportation Safety Program of 2009, which would replace assorted state-run safety organizations that now oversee the safety of subways and light-rail systems, according to The Washington Post.
"Everyone in this region woke up the day after that crash and said, ‘Who's responsible for safety?' And there was no one," LaHood told Congress.
The proposed bill would allow existing state agencies to enforce the new regulations, but they would be required to meet federal standards and obtain federal approval.
The proposal would also give federal officials the power to file lawsuits and seek criminal charges.
Click here to read more on the bill from the Federal Transit Administration.
On Monday, KUHF-FM aired an interview with METRO's President & CEO Frank J. Wilson, asking him how federal oversight could affect the Houston agency.
Wilson said safety has always been a top priority at METRO. He said his concern about federal oversight would be unfunded mandates, adding that he hopes transit agencies would have sufficient time to implement expensive safety solutions before agencies are penalized.
Click here to read a transcript of KUHF's report.