Press Releases

Warner Responds to Federal Transit Administration Review of Metro Safety

Calls for management changes at transit agency

Jun 17 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement after the Federal Transit Administration released its review of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Metrorail and Metrobus safety programs:

“The FTA’s review reveals that Metro has systematically failed to follow through on its own safety protocols and procedures. I’m especially troubled by consistent understaffing in Metro’s control center, and by inadequate training and the lapsed safety certifications for the system’s workers.

“Today’s report makes clear that there has been a serious failure of leadership at Metro, and that improving safety is going to require strong management to turn the system around. I am calling on the Metro Board to work together with a sense of urgency to bring on a turnaround specialist who is committed to safety, accountability and transparency as General Manager, to institute real change across the system.

“The 800,000 people who ride Metro every day deserve to know that they are on a system that’s safe and reliable. In Congress, I pledge to keep working with my colleagues from the entire region to ensure that Metro continues to get the federal support it needs to safely transport Virginia, Maryland and D.C. commuters – including a significant portion of our federal workforce. In return for that support, Metro should expect continued robust congressional oversight of its safety and operations.”

On Jan. 22, following a congressional briefing by WMATA executives and NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) officials investigating the fatal smoke incident onboard a Metro train at L’Enfant station, Sen. Warner wrote to COG and WMATA, asking the regional oversight boards to work together to design a more robust and transparent process for ensuring the interoperability of radio networks used by the region’s emergency responders. In response to Warner’s request, COG and WMATA pledged to implement a system for testing of Metro and regional emergency radio systems in order to address the breakdown in communications that was identified following the fatal incident on Jan. 12.

Earlier this month, following a critical NTSB report, Sen. Warner and the National Capital Region congressional delegation called on WMATA to take immediate action to fix a serious safety issue resulting from improperly installed power connector assemblies throughout the Metrorail system.