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North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Washington have obtained federal certification for their rail safety oversight programs, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced yesterday.Federal law requires states with transit-rail systems to obtain FTA certification of their state safety oversight (SSO) programs by April 15, 2019. The programs must identify an SSO agency that's financially and legally independent from the transit agencies it oversees. In North Carolina, the state's Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Charlotte Area Transit System's light-rail and streetcar systems.The Puerto Rico Emergency and Disaster Management Bureau will oversee safety at the Tren Urbano heavy-rail system, while the Washington State Department of Transportation will oversee Sound Transit's light-rail systems and the city of Seattle's streetcar and monorail systems.If a state fails to meet the certification deadline, FTA cannot award new federal funds to transit agencies in the state.Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are required to obtain the federal certification. So far, 15 states, the District and Puerto Rico have achieved certification.
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