Senate OKs Transportation Bill, Federal Transit Safety Oversight

The Senate voted 74-19 to approve a two-year transportation package that would allocate nearly $2 billion in funds for highway and transit projects in Virginia over the next two years.

Sen. Mark Warner’s office announced Friday that the package also includes federal safety standards for transit systems nationwide.

Warner said in the release that the bill will address gaps in transit safety standards, oversight and enforcement highlighted by the June 2009 Metro train collision.

According to the Washington Examiner, the Federal Transit Administration would be responsible for setting minimum standards for rail cars and establishing national safety training programs.

Subways are the country’s only transportation systems that currently do not have to meet federal safety standards, Kytja Weir reported.

Richard Sarles, general manager for Metro, told Weir Metro welcomes federal oversight and has no problem with a federal agency identifying potential problem areas.

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