Rail Transit: Observations on FTA's State Safety Oversight Program and Potential Change in Its Oversight Role

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Rail transit generally has been one of the safest forms of public transportation. However, several recent notable accidents are cause for concern. For example, a July 2009 crash on the Washington Metro Red Line resulted in nine deaths. The federal government does not directly regulate the safety of rail transit. Through its State Safety Oversight program, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires states to designate an oversight agency to directly oversee the safety of rail transit systems. In 2006, GAO issued a report that made recommendations to improve ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. December 10, 2009.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Rail transit generally has been one of the safest forms of public transportation. However, several recent notable accidents are cause for concern. For example, a July 2009 crash on the Washington Metro Red Line resulted in nine deaths. The federal government does not directly regulate the safety of rail transit. Through its State Safety Oversight program, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires states to designate an oversight agency to directly oversee the safety of rail transit systems. In 2006, GAO issued a report that made recommendations to improve the program. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning to propose legislation that, if passed, would result in a greater role for FTA in regulating and overseeing the safety of these systems. This statement (1) summarizes the findings of GAO's 2006 report and (2) provides GAO's preliminary observations on key elements DOT has told us it will include in its legislative proposal for revamping rail transit safety oversight. It is based primarily on GAO's 2006 report, an analysis of key elements of DOT's planned proposal through review of documents and interviews with DOT officials, and GAO's previous work on regulatory programs that oversee safety within other modes of transportation. GAO's 2006 report was based on a survey of the 27 state oversight agencies and transit agencies covered by FTA's program. GAO provided a draft of this testimony to DOT officials and incorporated their comments as appropriate."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • December 10, 2009

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Rail Transit: Observations on FTA's State Safety Oversight Program and Potential Change in Its Oversight Role, text, December 10, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294092/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.