Maryland has obtained certification of its State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA); bringing the number of states to obtain the certification to 13.
The FTA must certify 30 SSO Programs ahead of the April 15, 2019 deadline. An additional 12 states have their SSO Program under review by the FTA, one has its SSO Programs submitted to FTA, which leaves only five state certifications not submitted. Should any of the 30 states required to obtain certification fail to do so, FTA would be prohibited from distributing any new federal funds to those states until certification is obtained.
“The FTA is pleased that Maryland has developed a safety oversight program that meets federal certification requirements and will strengthen rail transit safety in the state,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “FTA is doing all we can to help states certify their safety oversight programs so transit agencies can continue to receive federal funding for the safe movement of millions of people every day.”
FTA explains that to achieve 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.