U.S. Department of Transportation to Conduct Safety Inspection of WMATA

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday it will conduct a safety management inspection of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

It's only the second comprehensive evaluation of a transit agency by the Federal Transit Administration.

“Safety is a shared responsibility and our goal is to ensure that WMATA is living up to the expectation of the FTA and, perhaps most importantly, the expectations of the public,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “We will be vigilant and thorough in our safety inspection of WMATA and instruct the agency on how to close any gaps that we find.”

Metro Board Chair Mort Downey released this statement in response:

“The Federal Transit Administration has an important role in transit safety under their expanded statutory authority, and we welcome their participation as all of us — Board, management, employees and other stakeholders -- work to make Metro an even safer system. A similar collaborative review with FTA in 2012 helped to document WMATA’s considerable progress in strengthening our safety capabilities, and suggested areas of continued effort that we have followed through on since that time."

The safety inspection will focus on three major areas:

  • bus safety assessment
  • rail safety inspection
  • safety training across all levels of WMATA per new U.S.D.O.T. regulations

The inspection will begin March 2, 2015 and is separate from the National Transit Safety Board's investigation of the fatal smoke-filled incident at L'Enfant Plaza Metro station last month.  

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