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Press Conference on the New Transit Law, Hyattsville, MD
Deborah A. P. Hersman
Press Conference on the New Transit Law, Hyattsville, MD

Thank you, Senator Mikulski, for inviting me to join you today and for your leadership. And, thank you, Senator Cardin, Congressman Van Hollen and Congresswoman Edwards for your support of this law and your work to enhance safety for transit travelers across the nation.

No one commuting to work, or visiting the Nation's capital, or riding Metro should ever have to think twice about safety before stepping from the platform into a Metro car.

The new law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, gives the Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration the crucial authority they need to develop safety standards at the Federal level. And I can see that DOT Deputy Secretary Porcari and FTA Administrator Rogoff are geared up and ready to go.

This new law is a good start, but the finish line is still ahead. Our investigations of Metro accidents, and other transit accidents have led to key recommendations about the need for safety regulations governing operations, track, equipment, and signal and train control systems. We have also called for non-punitive safety reporting programs, crashworthiness standards and improved evacuation and rescue features on rail transit cars. In addition, we've recommended requiring data recorders on transit trains and instituting hours-of-service limits to ensure transit operators are rested.

In closing, even the journey... of a thousand transit miles ... begins with a single step. Giving DOT the authority to establish national safety standards is an important step indeed.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which works for only one thing — greater safety — commends this legislation and the leadership represented here today.