The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has certified all 30 states with rail transit systems under the State Safety Oversight (SSO) programme.

The SSO programme required all states with a federally funded rail transit system to bolster safety supervision and to be certified for compliance by 15 April this year.

It encompassed all forms of rail fixed public transportation systems, including heavy-rail, light-rail, monorail and streetcar systems. In total, FTA certified 31 SSO programmes.

US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said: “Safety is the department’s top priority, and we are pleased that all states have met certification requirements and are providing more rigorous state safety oversight of federally funded rail transit systems.”

“Safety is the department’s top priority, and we are pleased that all states have met certification requirements.”

To receive FTA certification, all the states fulfilled several federal statutory requirements, including forming an SSO agency.

The SSO agency is financially and legally independent from the respective rail transit agency and will be responsible for the adoption and enforcement of relevant federal and state safety laws.

Furthermore, it has investigatory authority with necessary financial and human resources available. All SSO agency personnel were required to be properly trained to carry out safety oversight activities.

FTA acting administrator K Jane Williams said: “The hard work of state agencies and our shared commitment to improving the safety of our nation’s rail transit systems has been a driving force to establish stronger state safety oversight.”

Since 2013, FTA has also provided nearly $136.1m to assist eligible states to implement an SSO programme compliant with federal requirements.

FTA was legally prohibited to stop awarding federal transit funds to the respective transit agencies if the state failed to secure the certification before the deadline.