Virginia governor signs WMATA safety commission bill

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A WMATA Blue Line train pauses at Alexandria, Va., in October 2009.
Jeff Dunning
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed into law a bill authorizing a multi-state safety commission for the Washingon Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

The Federal Transit Administrations requires that WMATA set up the safety commission to meet the legal requirement for a “State Safety Oversight” program established by Congress in 2012. WMATA is unique as it crosses the political boundaries of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, so all three jurisdictions must pass identical authorizing legislation.

The states missed a deadline in February for establishing the commission, so the FTA withheld operating funds from the transit authority.

Virginia joins the District of Columbia in having legislation on the books, leaving Maryland to act. Maryland's bill passed a House committee hearing on March 23, a day before Virginia’s became law. It must now go to the full House for approval. Maryland officials expect to have the state’s bill signed into law before the end of the legislative session on May 29.

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