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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will make available $21.9 million to help strengthen transit safety oversight, agency officials announced yesterday.The FTA also announced a new, "flexible" policy known as Safety Management Systems, which the U.S. Department of Transportation adopted to help guide states and transit agencies manage safety risks, administration officials said in a press release.The two announcements reflect FTA efforts to begin implementing the new federal authority for transit safety, which was granted under the federal transportation law known as MAP-21. The law represents a fundamental shift in the way the FTA and states will work together to ensure safe public transportation, administration officials said."We take our responsibility to oversee transit safety as seriously as we do for railways, roadways, runaways, and we will continue to find innovative ways to make transit even safer for the public and our workforce," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.As part of the FTA's new regulatory safety authority, every state with a rail fixed guideway public transportation system not subject to regulation by the Federal Railroad Administration must establish a state safety oversight agency (SSOA) that is legally and financially independent of the transit-rail systems the agency will oversee, FTA officials said. States must ensure that their SSOAs have adequate authority and resources to oversee rail system safely.
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