Bill backs federal oversight of Metro
The District’s congressional delegate and two members of Congress from Maryland and Virginia are pushing a measure that would give legislative backing to the federal government’s oversight of Metro.
Reps. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) and Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), along with D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), plan to submit a measure that would implement a decision by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to take charge of safety oversight for Metro.
The legislation would authorize Foxx to continue to oversee Metro’s rail operations until the District, Maryland and Virginia develop a state safety-oversight agency that would be certified by the Department of Transportation.
This month, Foxx stepped in at the urging of the National Transportation Safety Board after a series of critical safety lapses, including an incident in January that engulfed a train in smoke and sickened dozens of passengers, one of whom died.
The measure — the Protect Riders of Metrorail Public Transportation Act of 2015, or the PROMPT Act — tracks the Moving Ahead for Progress (MAP-21) Act allowing the federal agency to assume safety oversight of rail operations. The bill also permits Foxx to use existing funds set aside for rail safety.
“My colleagues from the three jurisdictions that use Metrorail and I were able to work together on a bipartisan basis to introduce this bill, which reinforces U.S. DOT’s authority to perform direct safety oversight of WMATA,” Norton said in a statement.
The measure will be offered as an amendment to the House Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act.