The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has certified rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) Programs from Illinois and Tennessee in advance of an April 15, 2019, deadline.
FTA says 30 states must obtain certification of 31 SSO Programs by the April deadline or risk a bypass of future federal funding. With the certification of Illinois and Tennessee, the number of states to obtain certification is now 24.
“FTA is pleased that Illinois and Tennessee have developed safety oversight programs that meet federal certification requirements and will strengthen rail transit safety,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “With certification, transit agencies in Illinois and Tennessee can continue to receive federal funding.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Chicago Transit Authority heavy rail system. IDOT is also jointly responsible with the Missouri Department of Transportation for providing safety oversight of the Bi-State Development Agency St. Louis Metro light-rail system.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority Lookout Mountain inclined railway and the Memphis Area Transit Authority trolley system.
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.