The U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that Illinois and Tennessee have obtained federal certification of their rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) Programmes in advance of an important safety deadline.
Having the certification, the transit agencies can receive funds to implement their projects. If a state fails to meet the deadline, FTA is prohibited by law from awarding any new federal transit funds to transit agencies within the state until certification is achieved. Currently, there are two certification applications not yet submitted to FTA – Florida and the multi-state programme for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
Federal law requires states with rail transit systems to obtain FTA certification of their SSO Programmes by April 15, 2019. By federal law, the deadline cannot be waived or extended.
“FTA is pleased that Illinois and Tennessee have developed safety oversight programs that meet federal certification requirements and will strengthen rail transit safety. With certification, transit agencies in Illinois and Tennessee can continue to receive federal funding,” FTA Acting Administrator Jane Williams said.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Chicago Transit Authority heavy rail system. IDOT is also jointly responsible with the Missouri Department of Transportation for providing safety oversight of the Bi-State Development Agency St. Louis Metro light rail system.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is responsible for providing safety oversight of the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority Lookout Mountain inclined railway and the Memphis Area Transit Authority trolley system.
By April 15, 2019, 30 states must obtain certification of 31 SSO Programmes. With this announcement, 24 states have now achieved SSO Programme certification.