The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has granted safety certifications to the states of Illinois and Tennessee under the rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) programme.

The certifications were granted ahead of the programme’s 15 April 2019 deadline, which will not be waived or extended by the FTA.

Complying with the certification, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will provide safety oversight of the Chicago Transit Authority heavy rail system.

In collaboration with the Missouri Department of Transportation, IDOT will also look after the safety oversight of the Bi-State Development Agency St Louis Metro light rail system.

In addition, the Tennessee Department of Transportation will be responsible for the safety oversight of the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority Lookout Mountain inclined railway and Memphis Area Transit Authority trolley system.

“With certification, transit agencies in Illinois and Tennessee can continue to receive federal funding.”

The FTA’s acting administrator K Jane Williams said: “FTA is pleased that Illinois and Tennessee have developed safety oversight programmes that meet federal certification requirements and will strengthen rail transit safety.

“With certification, transit agencies in Illinois and Tennessee can continue to receive federal funding.”

As per the US federal law, 30 states with rail transit systems must obtain FTA certification for their SSO programmes, which intend to supervise safety at rail transit systems.

The FTA certification is granted only after an SSO programme proves its capability to comply with various federal statutory requirements, such as establishing an SSO agency that is financially and legally independent of the rail transit agencies it supervises.

It also mandates that a state ensures that its SSO agency adopts and enforces relevant federal and state safety laws, and has proper financial and human resources for the rail transit systems within its jurisdiction.

The SSO agency should also employ trained personnel to perform safety oversight activities.

So far, a total of 24 US states have obtained the SSO programme certification from FTA.