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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday released more information on its plan to assume safety oversight for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) rail operations. In a letter to WMATA's chair and interim manager, FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan spelled out five key elements for enhanced safety oversight for WMATA's Metrorail system. The FTA will assume overall safety leadership from the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which currently oversees WMATA's safety practices. However, the TOC will continue to exist, and the FTA will oversee and direct the work that it will retain and perform, McMillan wrote.The FTA also will ensure WMATA's implementation of corrective action plans to improve safety and verify that the work is completed, perform investigations when necessary, and direct the use of certain federal funds the D.C.-area transit agency received to correct safety deficiencies, according to McMillan's letter.McMillan emphasized the importance of establishing a new state safety oversight agency to eventually replace the TOC and noted that the FTA's leadership of WMATA's rail operations is only temporary."This is the strictest level of federal safety oversight ever placed on a rail transit agency," McMillan said in a news release.Meanwhile, the FTA released a safety directive outlining how it will exercise leadership over the TOC.
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