Federal Transit Administration Certifies Virginia’s State Safety Oversight Program for The Tide Light Rail System

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Date: April 5, 2018

Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
Contact: Kelsey Webb
Email: Kelsey.Webb@drpt.virginia.gov
Phone: (804) 840-0575


Federal Transit Administration Certifies Virginia’s State Safety Oversight Program for 
The Tide Light Rail System

~Commonwealth One of Only Eight States to Achieve Full Certification Fully One Year Ahead of Deadline~

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is pleased to announce that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has certified the Commonwealth’s State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program for The Tide, the light rail system in Norfolk operated by Hampton Roads Transit.  Under federal law, states must perform safety oversight of rail public transit systems operating within their respective jurisdictions. DRPT administers state safety oversight of The Tide.

“This is an important milestone ensuring that The Tide light rail system in Virginia continues to provide safe and reliable transportation,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “We are encouraged by this significant progress establishing Virginia as a leader in transportation safety and oversight.”

Following new rules issued in 2016, all states must meet federal SSO certification requirements by April 15, 2019 or risk significant penalties, including the loss of federal funding for public transportation. Virginia joins Colorado in achieving program certification today. Programs in Ohio, Minnesota, Utah, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Massachusetts have also been certified.

“Virginia has been working towards this milestone and is thankful for the FTA’s guidance throughout this process. The collaboration between federal and state agencies has helped to establish an SSO agency that supports a safe and successful light rail system,” said DRPT Director Jennifer L. Mitchell.

Separately, Virginia alongside the District of Columbia and Maryland, continue to collaborate to support the creation of the Metrorail Safety Commission  (MSC).  Once certified, the MSC will be the designated State Safety Oversight Agency for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) metrorail system.

About the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
DRPT’s mission is to improve the mobility of people and goods while expanding transportation choices in the Commonwealth through rail, public transportation, and commuter services. DRPT is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of its services on the basis of race, color, or national origin as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.