June 22, 2010


WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT), Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced they will mark up their bipartisan legislation to establish national safety standards for transit systems across the country in the coming weeks.  The announcement comes on the first anniversary of Metro’s Red Line collision that killed eight passengers, one Metro employee, and injured more than 50 other passengers.
“This bill will help to make public transportation safer for the millions of Americans who commute to work each day,” said Chairman Dodd.  “Our bipartisan legislation will, for the first time, put in place a set of strong, comprehensive national safety standards and improve oversight to help ensure public transit remains one of the safest ways to travel.”
“While public transportation is already one of the safest modes of transportation, there are a number of steps that we can take to make it even safer.  Providing the Federal Transit Administration the authority necessary to conduct safety oversight is essential to that effort and I am pleased that our proposal will address this glaring deficiency,” said Senator Shelby.  “Our bipartisan legislation also recognizes that a transit asset management system will aid us in understanding and assessing the condition of public transportation systems.  I believe that these provisions will work together to achieve our goal of improving the safety of public transportation systems nationwide.” 
Senator Menendez said: “Public transportation has historically been one of the safest ways to commute, and if we are to ensure that it remains so, we need to bring its safety regulation in line with every other major form of transportation. Despite carrying millions of riders each day, it still relies on a patchwork of often ineffective and unenforced safety regulations. That was evident in the lax safety oversight leading up to last year’s deadly Metro accident in Washington. Strong national safety standards and enforcement are not only critical to the well-being of those who currently use public transportation, but as we encourage the increased use of mass transit to help families save money and energy, it is also important to rebuilding our economy. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to accomplish this.”