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Federal Transportation Officials Name Locals To Advisory Panel

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By Meymo Lyons

Federal transportation officials are announcing the members of an advisory committee that will help develop national safety standards for rail transit.

DOT chose 20 transit experts for the advisory committee, including well-known locals: chief safety officer for Metro; James Dougherty, Jackie Jeter, president of Metro's union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, and Bernadette Bridges, executive director of the Office of Safety and Risk Management for the Maryland Transit Administration.

In response to the red line crash, Congress is considering a measure that would remove authority over public transportation from the states and give it to the federal government. Peter Rogoff, head of the Federal Transit Administration, says the bill will force transit systems to shape up.

"The focus of our legislation is to get every system, including the Washington Metro, to have the kind of technology and resources in place to know what their greatest safety vulnerabilities are and make those vulnerabilities their highest budget priority," he says.

The problems are clearly not just Metro's. A study by the FTA last year found that one-third of the facilities, stations and vehicles used in the nation's seven largest rail transit systems are less than adequate.

The action coincides with the anniversary of Metro's deadliest crash.

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