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Rail News: Safety

Trump signs off on WMATA safety oversight commission

The new safety commission will be staffed by at least six people.
Photo – WMATA/Larry Levine


President Donald Trump yesterday signed a resolution that gives final approval for a safety commission to oversee the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

The resolution is the final legislative requirement before a safety oversight organization can be created for agency, The Washington Post reported.

The new commission will be staffed by at least six people. WMATA's three jurisdictions — Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. — are required to appoint two commissioners and an alternate, according to the newspaper.

The Federal Transit Administration has been overseeing safety at WMATA since October 2015. The agency's rail system has been the site of high-profile accidents in recent years, including a fatal 2009 train collision and a 2015 smoke incident that left one passenger dead.

Earlier this month, Congress approved the resolution to create the safety commission, The Post reported.

"Establishing a Metro Safety Commission is an important step to ensure that WMATA has strong oversight and abides by the toughest safety standards," said U.S. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in a press release. "The commission's new safety enforcement tools will further bolster [WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer] Paul Wiedefeld and his team as they dig Metro out from under years of dysfunction."