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On Metro Crash Anniversary, Mikulski Urges Bipartisanship On Transpo Bill

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In this file photo from June 23, 2009 officials continue to work around the scene of a rush-hour collision between two Metro Red line trains in Northeast D.C. 
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
In this file photo from June 23, 2009 officials continue to work around the scene of a rush-hour collision between two Metro Red line trains in Northeast D.C. 

Today is the third anniversary of the Metro crash on the Red line that killed nine people and injured many others, and area lawmakers are using the occasion to look at what Congress has done  and is still trying to do to increase safety in the wake of the tragedy.

The ghastly image of those wrecked trains is still fresh in many minds, especially those who lost loved ones three years ago today. After the accident, area lawmakers, including Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), pressured Metro to improve its safety culture. 

"So out of that we've gotten new leadership, we've gotten new management," Mikulski says. "And then working off of the metrics given to me by the National Transportation Safety Board and the audit conducted by the Obama Administration  I think we are making progress."

Mikulski included tougher safety standards for the nation's transit systems in the Senate version of the transportation bill. The bill remains tangled in partisan gridlock, and Mikulski wants the anniversary of the Metro accident should be a reminder for lawmakers to put politics aside. 

"I think this is a compelling need, because this is not only about our Metro here in the Capitol region. It is about Metros everywhere," Mikulski says. 

If House and Senate leaders can't reach a deal in the next week, the U.S. highway program will expire, and those tighter safety standards for Metro will go by the wayside with it.

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