The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that Utah is the third state to obtain federal certification of its rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program. In total, there are 30 states with rail transit systems that must obtain certification of their SSO Programs by the April 15, 2019 deadline. If a state fails to meet the deadline, the FTA is prohibited by law from awarding any new federal transit funds to public transportation agencies within the state until certification is achieved.
“With the certification of its SSO Program, Utah is among the national leaders in strengthening safety for rail transit passengers and workers,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “FTA is doing all we can to help each of the remaining states meet the deadline because we want all states to continue to receive the federal transit funding that is so critical to the safe movement of millions of people every day.”
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.
The FTA has posted online a status table that shows each state’s progress toward certification, as well as a video highlighting the federal SSO Program certification requirements and recognizing Utah as the third state to obtain certification.