The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) has proposed a rule that would require all state and local transit agencies in the country that receive federal funding to have a comprehensive safety plan in place. The plan, which the FTA says is authorized under the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, would apply to bus and rail transportation agencies and is estimated to cost $100 million to implement.

The rule would not apply to agencies operating passenger ferries, which are regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard, or to commuter rail agencies, which operate under the direction of the Federal Railroad Administration. All other agencies would be required to comply within one year of a final rule.

According to an FTA release, the rule would provide a “framework” for FTA to monitor, oversee and enforce safety in the public transit industry. Agencies would be required to prepare and implement a public transportation agency safety plan, which would need to be verified each year. The plan would be required to identify safety risks, provide strategies to minimize public exposure to hazards and unsafe conditions, establish performance goals, provide for annual reviews and designate a safety officer for the agency. Each plan would have to be approved by a board of directors. In a statement, FTA Acting Administrator Therese Mc Millan, said:

With transit ridership at its highest levels in generations, and our nation’s transit agencies facing increased pressure to meet the demand for service, we must continue to ensure that safety remains the top priority.

The FTA estimates the plan would cost agencies approximately $86 million to create and implement, and $70 million annually to maintain compliance. The FTA is a unit of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Every day, millions of Americans take public transportation to get to work, school, medical appointments, and other important destinations,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This new program will help us ensure that transit continues to be a safe way to get around, and a safe place to work.”

Sources: Law360.com, U.S. Department of Transportation

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