Metro to see Federal Oversight for safety measures
In Washington, D.C., Congress has mandated greater federal oversight of public transit systems, reacting in large part to the 2009 Metro Red Line crash that killed nine people. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that a malfunction of the automatic train control system was the direct cause of the Red Line crash. The system failed to detect the presence of a train and directed another to advance toward it at full speed. However, NTSB also said chronic failures of track circuitry, a negligent safety attitude at Metro, and weak oversight made the crash inevitable. The new federal transportation plan is expected to receive final approval this week and requires transit authorities to develop safety plans, evaluate safety risks, set repair criteria, and put employees through a federally certified safety training program.
President Barack Obama’s administration had sought the legislation, which was championed by Maryland Democrats, Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin. General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Richard Sarles said, “We welcome oversight, and that includes federal oversight. We’re pleased to see that the conference report includes authority for the Secretary to provide oversight of transit safety, as well as certification training for those responsible for oversight.”