The Federal Transit Administration said April 6 it has certified Virginia and Colorado for developing required rail transit state safety oversight programs, bringing to eight out of 30 the number of states that have met the conditions to avoid a potential funding cutoff a year from now.
For Virginia, the FTA certified the program by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation for safety oversight of Hampton Roads Transit. For Colorado it certified the Public Utilities Commission's program for oversight of the Regional Transportation District.
"With SSO program certification, Virginia and Colorado have strengthened oversight of passenger and worker safety for rail transit systems in their states," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.
Federal law requires states with rail transit systems in operation or in the engineering or construction phase of development to obtain FTA certification of their safety oversight programs by April 15, 2019, the FTA noted.
For any that don't meet that deadline, the FTA said it is "prohibited by law from awarding any new federal transit funds to transit agencies within the state until certification is achieved."
The other six that have already met the deadline are Ohio, Minnesota, Utah, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Massachusetts. According to an updated status table, six others have submitted all required documents and their applications are under review by FTA officials to address comments or questions.
Most others have submitted all documents and are awaiting FTA review, the table indicated, while New York with the largest share of FTA formula funding has submitted some.
In addition, the FTA said that Virginia, together with Maryland and the District of Columbia, are expected to jointly submit an SSO program certification application for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Metrorail system, which will be overseen by the Metrorail Safety Commission.
The FTA added that currently two states – Oklahoma and Tennessee – still require legislative or executive action before they can advance further in the certification process.
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