Federal agencies Rail

FTA issues proposed rule on rail transit safety

train tracks

Photo: iStock/Thinkstock

UPDATE: This article was updated Feb. 27 after the rule was published in the Federal Register.

Washington – The Federal Transit Administration has issued a proposed rule aimed at improving safety for workers and passengers on rail transit systems.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced the proposed rule Feb. 20 during a speech at Union Station in the nation’s capital. The proposed rule would expand the role of state safety oversight agencies in analyzing rail transit systems’ safety programs. The programs would have to adhere to federal and state safety laws, and SSOAs would be required to be independent financially and legally from the rail transit systems under their authority.

FTA said it could withhold federal funding until SSOAs earn proper certification.

“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,” FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan said in a press release. “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.”

Public comments will be accepted until April 28.