West Virginia has joined a small, but growing, number of states to obtain Federal Transit Administration (FTA) certification of its State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program.
West Virginia’s certifications bring the total to 12 states that have obtained FTA certification of their SSO Programs ahead of the April 15, 2019 deadline. An additional 11 states have their SSO Program under review by the FTA, two have their SSO Programs submitted to FTA, which leaves only six 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.
“FTA is pleased that West Virginia 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. “With this certification, West Virginia’s transit agencies can continue to receive federal funding.”
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.