The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania 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 Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania have developed safety oversight programs that meet federal certification requirements and will strengthen rail transit safety in their states,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “With this certification, these three states’ transit agencies can continue to receive federal funding.”
The Arizona Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Valley Metro light rail system and the City of Tucson streetcar.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority heavy rail system and the City of Atlanta streetcar.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is responsible for the providing safety oversight of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority heavy rail, light rail, and trolley lines; the Port Authority of Allegheny County light rail system; and the Cambria County Transit Authority incline.
Thirty states must obtain FTA certification of their SSO Programs by April 15, 2019. With this most recent announcement, 11 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.