Security and Safety

Florida, New Jersey, New York meet rail safety oversight deadline

Posted on February 28, 2019

States with rail systems must receive FTA certification by April 15, 2019 or new federal transit funds cannot be awarded.
States with rail systems must receive FTA certification by April 15, 2019 or new federal transit funds cannot be awarded.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA)  announced Florida, New Jersey, and New York 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.

  • The Florida Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Miami-Dade Transit Metrorail and Metromover systems, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority TECO Line streetcar system, and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority Skyway system.

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.

  • The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is responsible for providing safety oversight of three New Jersey Transit properties: the Riverline hybrid-rail system, the Hudson-Bergen light rail system, and the Newark City light rail system. NJDOT is also responsible for the safety oversight of the Port Authority Transit Corporation Speedline heavy-rail system (jointly owned by New Jersey and Pennsylvania).
  • The New York Public Transportation Safety Board is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit heavy rail system and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Metro Rail light rail system.

By April 15, 2019, 30 states must obtain certification of 31 SSO Programs. With today’s announcement, 30 states have now achieved 30 SSO Program certifications.

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.

  • To achieve FTA certification, a SSO Program must meet several federal statutory requirements, including establishing a 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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