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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

FTA hosts two-day meeting on transit safety, provides $4 million station renovation grant


The second meeting of the Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS), which was held Wednesday and Thursday, focused on finding the best models for state safety oversight partnerships and effective safety planning by local transit agencies, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

TRACS was created by the USDOT after a series of transit accidents in Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Boston raised concerns about the safety of rail passengers and employees.

The committee aims to guide the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in its safety rulemaking if and when Congress approves the Public Transportation Safety Program Act, which would authorize the USDOT to establish federal safety standards for transit systems.

“For the well being of those riders and workers, Congress needs to rescind an antiquated 1960s-era law that forbids the federal government from issuing even the most basic safety regulations,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, who opened the meeting. “TRACS is a critically important tool that will ensure that the FTA does this job smartly and efficiently once Congress acts.”

Also this week, the FTA announced a $4 million federal grant for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority for the renovation of the Wayne Junction Intermodal Facility in Philadelphia. The grant will help fund a $32 million project that includes power, signal and track upgrades, and new elevators.