House gives go-ahead for DC rail safety commission

By Kevin Freking, Associated Press | Posted - Jul. 17, 2017 at 5:28 p.m.



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WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved legislation giving the go-ahead for a new safety watchdog for the passenger rail system serving in and around Washington.

The vote was 399-5.

After a series of critical lapses, the Obama administration directed the Federal Transit Administration to oversee safety for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Insufficient investment in maintenance and delayed repairs led to a deterioration of the transit system. In January 2015, a Virginia woman died and more than 80 other people were taken to the hospital after they were trapped in a smoke-filled train.

The federal government's move to assume safety oversight was designed as a temporary measure.

To provide a longer-term solution, the Federal Transit Administration required that Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia establish an effective safety monitor.

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Kevin Freking

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