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Metro May Not Follow NTSB Recommendations

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By David Schultz

For six hours, Metro's General Manager Richard Sarles sat and listened while Safety Board members eviscerated nearly every aspect of his organization, from track workers to senior leadership. When asked if the NTSB's findings were fair, Sarles replied "I think they were well thought out."

The NTSB says last year's crash was caused by faulty track circuits, and it wants Metro to, among other things, remove many of them.

Sarles says that sounds reasonable enough.

"When you do a thorough investigation," he says, "you come up with good recommendations and we intend to listen to them."

But listening may be all Metro does with the recommendations, which range from replacing old rail cars to protecting whistle-blowers. They're not legally binding, and some of them may be prohibitively costly.

"We have to look at the cost of the recommendations," Sarles says. "You have to do some engineering analysis. You have to do some estimates. And that will determine how much money is needed."

Metro had set aside $30 million to implement these recommendations, but Sarles says the cost may be higher than that.

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