Feds ask for power to oversee rail transit safety

AP News
Posted: Dec 08, 2009 3:06 AM

The Obama administration wants Congress to give the federal government power to oversee the safety of subways, light rail and other urban train systems.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is slated to testify Tuesday before a House panel on a plan to give the Federal Transit Administration authority to set standards for and inspect 50 rail transit systems in 27 states.

Currently there are no nationwide minimum standards for rail transit safety, only voluntary standards produced by industry groups. Transit systems carry more passengers daily than airlines or railroads, which both get federal safety oversight.

Nine people were killed and 70 injured in a subway accident in Washington in June.