The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin have obtained federal certification of their rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) Programs, 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 Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin have developed safety oversight programs that meet federal certification requirements and will strengthen rail transit safety," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. "With certification, transit agencies in these states can continue to receive federal funding."
The Arkansas Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Rock Region METRO streetcar system.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority streetcar system.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Houston METRO light rail systems, the City of Dallas and City of El Paso streetcar systems, and the City of Galveston and McKinney Avenue Transit Authority trolley systems.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the City of Milwaukee and Kenosha Area Transit streetcar systems.
By April 15, 2019, 30 states must obtain certification of 31 SSO Programs. With this most recent announcement, 21 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. A certification status table by state is available online.
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.
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