One of the most promising provisions in MAP-21, the new transportation bill, is that--for the first time--transit passengers in America will travel on a system protected by robust federal safety oversight. This means that when you board a light rail, commuter rail, subway, or bus you will be able to ride with confidence.
At DOT, we have been fighting for this safety measure since 2009, when I first submitted to Congress a proposal to establish and enforce minimum federal safety standards for rail transit systems.
We've been working hard every day to ensure the safety of America's airways, roadways, and railways. But the missing piece of our safety efforts has been the authority to regulate safety on the nation’s public transportation systems.
MAP-21 puts the missing piece of that safety puzzle into place. And yesterday, Deputy Secretary John Porcari celebrated our new responsibility at a transit maintenance facility in Hyattsville, Maryland:
“Safety is our highest priority. This legislation takes a long overdue step that will provide Americans with the confidence that the buses, subways, streetcar, and light rail systems they ride every day are the safest in the world.”
View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.
As FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff said, “This is an important win for the safety of tens of millions of Americans who use transit each day. We're ushering in an era where--in every state and transit agency--safety will be a real priority.”
DOT hasn't been alone in seeking a federal role in ensuring the safety of America's transit systems. For more than three decades, the National Transportation Safety Board has also been calling for transit safety protections. And in 2009, the Obama Administration asked Congress to make it happen.
Rest assured, we are absolutely prepared for this new responsibility. FTA will work with the DOT Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety and with the transit community to put the new law into action. We'll create a State Safety Oversight program to ensure that rail transit systems are meeting stringent safety requirements. And we'll introduce bus safety measures as well.
As Deputy Secretary Porcari said yesterday, "Even as demand for public transportation rises across the United States, it remains one of the safest ways to travel. And we intend to keep it that way."
I couldn't agree more. America has the world's safest transportation network. With DOT's new transit safety efforts, it's only going to get that much safer.