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Oversight panel preps audit response

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Crews investigate the scene of a Metro accident near Rockville Station where two track workers died on Jan. 26 after being struck by a maintenance vehicle (By Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post).

The body that oversees Metro plans to respond Tuesday morning to a scathing federal audit that found widespread deficiencies in rail safety at Metro and in its oversight of the agency.

The Tri-state Oversight Committee is preparing to release its response to eleven findings made in the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) audit in March, according to TOC chairman Matt Bassett.

FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff testified about the audit in April on Capitol Hill, highlighting Metro's "completely marginalized safety department" in summarizing 21 recommendations made to Metro and the TOC.

The TOC has been criticized by federal lawmakers for its lack of regulatory authority. The lack of oversight at Metro and the problems that have dogged the agency, including the June 22 Red Line crash that killed nine and a string of worker deaths and accidents in the last year, prompted the White House to call for federal oversight of subway and light-rail systems nationwide.

Metro released its plan to improve safety on Friday.

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and District Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) agreed during a meeting last month to strengthen the TOC as part of the first phase of a two-step action plan to improve safety oversight. The leaders said the committee would be replaced in the long term with either direct federal oversight or a new Metro Safety Commission.

By Michael Bolden  |  May 3, 2010; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Metro , Safety , Transportation Politics  
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