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FTA unveils final rule for comprehensive safety programs


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday issued a final rule that establishes the agency's procedures for administering a comprehensive program designed to improve transit system safety.

An umbrella for all other FTA safety rulemakings and guidance documents, the rule applies a "safety management systems" approach to the program.

"With [yesterday's] action, FTA continues its steady progress in establishing the regulatory framework needed to implement and strengthen our new and existing safety transit oversight and enforcement authorities," said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers in a press release.

The rule establishes FTA procedures for issuing directives and advisories; promotes future safety regulations; and lays out FTA practices to inspect, investigate, audit, examine and test transit agency facilities, equipment, rolling stock and operations.

In addition, the rule spells out the FTA's potential enforcement actions against noncompliant transit agencies. Those actions could include requiring more frequent oversight and reporting actions; mandating the use of federal funds to correct safety deficiencies; and imposing restrictions or prohibitions on agency operations if the FTA determines there are unsafe practices or conditions.

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