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07/21/2024 07:47 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: April 17, 2024 09:29 AM
From: Senator Timothy P. Kearney
To: All Senate members
Subject: Codifying the State Safety Oversight Program for Fixed Guideway Transit
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to ensure safe fixed rail public transit maintenance and operation by codifying PennDOT’s current State Safety Oversight Program for Rail Fixed Guideway Public Transportation Systems.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires states to oversee safety operations, procedures, and policies at local public transit agencies operating vehicles on fixed guideways. PennDOT’s State Safety Oversight Division fulfills this vital role to ensure that Pennsylvania’s trolleys, subways, incline cars, and light railcars are operating safely and that our transit agencies are maintaining them well.

Recent changes through President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act require transit agencies and states to enhance their fixed guideway transit safety inspection practices and procedures—and provided additional formula funding to agencies to comply with the additional oversight requirement. In order to receive this federal funding, Pennsylvania must statutorily authorize PennDOT to conduct risk-based inspection monitoring and prioritization activities. Additionally, all PA transit agencies – including those only operating buses – may be at risk of losing FTA funding if Pennsylvania does not achieve compliance.

This legislation will revise the existing authorization of PennDOT’s safety oversight of transit in Title 74 with updated language to reflect the FTA-required risk-based inspection practices. This codification of PennDOT’s current practices will ensure PennDOT and Pennsylvania’s transit agencies will be eligible for FTA funding opportunities.

Fixed guideway transit routes covered by this safety oversight program include SEPTA’s trolleys, subway lines, and the M (the Norristown High Speed Line), as well as Pittsburgh Regional Transit’s light rail system lines, the Monongahela Incline, and the Cambria County Transit Authority’s Johnstown Inclined Plane.

I invite all colleagues to join me in helping to keep Pennsylvania’s people and our economy rolling safely and efficiently.

Introduced as SB1246