The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced Michigan has obtained federal certification of its rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program, in advance of an important safety deadline.
Federal law requires states with rail transit systems to obtain FTA certification of their SSO Programs by April 15, 2019. By federal law, the deadline cannot be waived or extended.
“FTA is pleased that Michigan has developed a safety oversight program that meets federal certification requirements and will strengthen rail transit safety,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “With certification, transit agencies in Michigan can continue to receive federal funding.”
The Michigan Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Detroit People Mover automated guideway and the Q Line streetcar systems.
By April 15, 2019, 30 states must obtain certification of 31 SSO Programs. With the most recent announcement, 22 states have now achieved SSO Program certification.
If a state fails to meet the deadline, FTA is prohibited by law from awarding any new federal transit funds to transit agencies within the state until certification is achieved. Currently, there are two certification applications not yet submitted to FTA — Florida and the multi-state program for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
To achieve FTA certification, an SSO Program must meet several federal statutory requirements, including establishing an SSO agency that is financially and legally independent from the rail transit agencies it oversees. In addition, a state must ensure that its SSO agency adopts and enforces relevant federal and state safety laws; has investigatory authority; and has appropriate financial and human resources for the number, size, and complexity of the rail transit systems within the state’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, SSO agency personnel responsible for performing safety oversight activities must be appropriately trained.