Michigan Obtains SSO Certification from FTA

Photo: Detroit People Mover

The Federal Transit Administration noted on Aug. 16 that the Michigan Department of Transportation officially received federal certification of its rail transit State Safety Oversight or SSO program for the Detroit People Mover automated guideway and the Q Line streetcar systems.

With this certification, 22 of 30 states and the 31 SSO programs covered by this rule are now in compliance, the agency said.

The FTA reiterated in a statement that Federal law requires states with rail transit systems to obtain FTA certification of their SSO Programs by April 15, 2019. By federal law, the deadline cannot be waived or extended.

And, if a state fails to meet that deadline, FTA stressed that “it is prohibited by law from obligating any new funds to transit agencies within that state until certification is achieved.”

Currently, the agency said there are two certification applications that have yet to be submitted – Florida and the multi-state program for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

As a reminder, to achieve certification, FTA said an SSO Program must meet several federal statutory requirements, including establishing an SSO agency that is financially and legally independent from the rail transit agencies it oversees.

In addition, a state must ensure that its SSO agency adopts and enforces relevant federal and state safety laws, has investigatory authority, and has appropriate financial and human resources who are “properly trained” for the number, size and complexity of the rail transit systems within the state’s jurisdiction.

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