Federal Policy NewsFlash Public Transit

Senate Banking Committee Marks Up Bipartisan “Public Transportation Safety Act of 2010”

DOT 127-10
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Contact: Paul Griffo
Tel: 202-366-4064

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Commends Senate Banking Committee for Unanimous Vote Adopting Historic Transit Safety Legislation
Senate Banking Committee Marks Up Bipartisan ‘Public Transportation Safety Act of 2010”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today commended the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee for reporting out the Obama Administration’s transit safety bill, the first transit-specific safety bill ever sent to Congress by any administration, by a unanimous vote.  The bill now goes to the Senate floor.

Secretary LaHood applauded Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, Ranking Member Richard Shelby and Subcommittee Chairman Robert Menendez for taking the first major step in passing the Administration’s Public Transportation Safety Act of 2010, a bill that would end the current prohibition against the Federal Transit Administration from directly overseeing safety programs.

Secretary LaHood sent the Administration bill to Congress in December 2009.

“I want to thank the Banking Committee for working together to move this historic legislation forward,” said Secretary LaHood.  “Safety is the Department of Transportation’s number one priority and we look forward to working with the full Senate and House to get this bill passed and signed into law.”

“Today’s milestone is the first major step in untying the hands of the Federal Transit Administration and allowing us to implement national safety standards,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.  “While transit is a safe way to travel, we still see too many preventable accidents, including fatal accidents.  We need these tools to ensure that transit remains safe as our systems age and experienced employees retire in increasing numbers.”

The legislation, if passed, will authorize the Department of Transportation to establish federal safety standards for rail transit systems, reversing a prohibition that has been in effect since 1965.

In addition to this bill, Secretary LaHood announced the formation of the Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) on June 23 of this year. The 20 individuals who will initially serve on TRACS represent all geographic regions in the U.S. and include experts from state transit agencies of all sizes, state safety oversight organizations, labor unions, and industry associations.

The recommendations of TRACS will help FTA develop new policies and practices and, should FTA be given authority to promulgate new transit safety requirements, new regulations for enhancing rail transit safety.

By Lauren Michele

Lauren Michele – Founder/Owner of Policy in Motion – is a policy consultant/advisor and communications strategist, specializing in progressive and non-partisan politics. She helps candidates and clients build campaigns, coalitions, and communication strategies. Lauren has 15 years of experience working with federal, state, and local government agencies; non-profit organizations; foundations; universities; and political/issue campaigns, including a Presidential Campaign and a California State Bond. Ms. Michele has over a decade of experience working virtually both in team and individual environments, with Policy in Motion offices in California. Policy in Motion’s mission is to promote the environmental, economic, and social well being of communities —fostering a sustainable future for all people and the planet.

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