NTSB rec­om­mends re­clas­si­fy­ing Metro

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - — Paul Dug­gan and Lori Aratani

“How bad must it be when Metro be­ing taken over by a fed­eral agency sounds like a good idea?”

VA In­de­pen­dent 65 (reader com­ment)

Metro’s safety prob­lems are so se­vere and per­sis­tent that fed­eral of­fi­cials should take a much stronger role in mon­i­tor­ing the sub­way sys­tem: re­clas­si­fy­ing it as a com­muter rail­road so the transit agency can be sub­ject to tougher reg­u­la­tions and penal­ties, the Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board said.

In an “ur­gent” rec­om­men­da­tion to Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary An­thony Foxx, the safety board’s chair­man, Christo­pher A. Hart, cited years of “re­peated and on­go­ing de­fi­cien­cies” in Metro and said the cur­rent over­sight process, in­volv­ing the Fed­eral Transit Ad­min­is­tra­tion, is in­ad­e­quate and bound to keep fail­ing.

Hart urged Foxx to ask Congress for the au­thor­ity to re­clas­sify Metro as a com­muter rail­road, which would re­move the rail sys­tem from the FTA’s safety over­sight and place it un­der the “ro­bust in­spec­tion, over­sight, reg­u­la­tory, and en­force­ment au­thor­ity” of the larger, more pow­er­ful Fed­eral Rail­road Ad­min­is­tra­tion. The re­clas­si­fi­ca­tion would ap­ply only to the rail sys­tem, not the agency as a whole.

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