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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has certified transit-rail state safety oversight (SSO) programs in Massachusetts and Hawaii, the agency announced yesterday. FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams made the announcement at the American Public Transportation Association's legislative conference in Washington, D.C.States with transit-rail systems in operation are required by federal law to obtain FTA certification for their SSO programs by April 15, 2019. States with transit-rail systems that are under construction or in the engineering phase also must obtain FTA certification by that date.To achieve FTA certification, an SSO program must meet several statutory requirements, including establishing an SSO agency that is financially and legally independent from the transit-rail agencies it oversees.In Massachusetts, the state's Department of Public Utilities is responsible for safety oversight of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. In Hawaii, the state's Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which is building a 20-mile passenger-rail in Oahu."FTA has been helping states develop safety oversight programs that meet federal certification requirements so transit agencies can continue to receive federal funding for the safe movement of millions of people every day," Williams said in a press release.Thirty states must obtain FTA certification of their SSO programs by April 2019. Four states have met the deadline: Ohio, Minnesota, Utah and the District of Columbia. States that fail to meet the deadline risk the loss of federal funds. Under the law, the FTA cannot award new federal transit funds to those agencies until certification is obtained.