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Metro Crash May Spur Change In Federal Law

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By David Schultz

Even before the red line crash last year, federal safety monitors had reprimanded Metro.

But Peter Rogoff, the Obama Administration's chief public transit officer, says Metro never violated any federal regulations because, for subway systems, there are no federal regulations.

"Currently the oversight is done by 27 separate state organizations that are, by and large, woefully underfunded, understaffed and lacking in expertise," Rogoff says.

In response to the crash, the Obama Administration proposed a bill in Congress that would change that. Rogoff says it would create federal standards for urban rail systems, closing a loop hole in transportation law.

"Those rail systems for which we can't issue safety regulations - they serve eight times as many passengers as the commuter systems and Amtrak for which we do have safety authority," he says. "So it really makes no sense."

Rogoff says he's optimistic the bill will pass Congress before the end of the year.

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