This week, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin of Maryland along with Senators Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine of Virginia introduced legislation for new safety regulations for the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The legislation addresses evacuation plans, radio networks, ventilation systems, and train controls.
The proposed legislation was introduced as an amendment to the Senate Transportation Bill. The new regulations would also shift the responsibility of appointing Metro board members from the Federal General Services Administration to the Transportation Department. The Senators intend to make stronger federal oversight a requirement for the dispersal of $150 million in federal funds Metro receives each year.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had earlier met to discuss the financial and safety concerns plaguing WMATA. A scathing report issued in June by the Federal Transit Authority revealed deep-seated flaws in Metro’s safety management and local leaders are racing to fix the issues.
In January 2015, one person was killed and more than 80 others hospitalized after a Yellow Line Metro train filled with smoke when an electrical event left it disabled on the tracks. The January incident marked the first Metro fatality since 2009 when a Red Line train collided with a stationary train at the Fort Totten station killing eight passengers and the train operator.
The Cochran Firm, D.C. was a member of the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee in litigation filed against WMATA as a result of the Fort Totten crash. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys routinely provide legal representation to victims hurt in accidents involving public transportation and commercial vehicles.