The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the agency is seeking public comment on the most significant regulatory step taken under FTA’s new transit safety authority.
The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Safety and Transit Asset Management will be published in the Federal Register next week. A safety and transit asset management rulemaking is required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), and covers several topics that signal FTA’s commitment to ensuring that efforts to keep transit systems in good working order goes hand-in-hand with efforts to keep them safe.
“This administration fought hard for the ability to provide the same level of safety oversight for people riding and working on transit that we do for other forms of transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to ensure a safe, efficient, and reliable future for public transportation in this country – so millions of working families have access to the jobs, education, and health care they need to succeed.”
Safety advocates, industry leaders and the general public are all invited to comment on several MAP-21 requirements that are part of FTA’s new safety and transit asset management authority, including:
• Developing and implementing meaningful national, state-level, and transit agency safety plans; and
• Implementing a national transit asset management program to help transit agencies establish a systematic means for managing their assets and establishing performance measures for making improvements to the condition of their facilities, equipment, rolling stock, and infrastructure.
Comments gathered from this ANPRM will help inform future notices of proposed rulemakings on these topics. Comments must be received within 90 days of the date the notice is published.
“Transit ridership is reaching record levels and will continue to grow. Our goal is not to impose overly burdensome new regulations, but to help the transit industry better address growing demand for service while better maintaining their equipment so they may operate safely and cost-effectively,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “We need to hear from all stakeholders, including the riding public, to make sure we get it right as we implement FTA’s new transit safety authority.”
The new safety regulatory authority in MAP-21, which took effect on Oct. 1, 2012, is the culmination of a concerted effort by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FTA that began in December 2009, when the Department formally transmitted to Congress a legislative proposal to establish and enforce minimum federal safety standards for rail transit systems. Many of the safety provisions included in MAP-21, such as integrating safety, transit asset management, and state of good repair, are priorities carried forward from the administration’s original proposal.
FTA is making progress to implement other aspects of MAP-21 safety requirements. For example, FTA is working with state safety oversight agencies to ensure they have the staff and resources so their rail transit systems meet essential safety requirements in the law. In May 2013, FTA announced the availability of $21.9 million this fiscal year to help all the affected states handle this responsibility.
Taken together, these efforts are essential for ensuring that FTA, states, and the transit industry work together to ensure the safety of public transportation across the nation.