June 21, 2010

MUKULSKI AND CARDIN COMMEMORATE 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF FATAL METRO CRASH, REAFFIRM COMMITMENT TO METRO REFORM

Senators call for swift legislative action on establishing national safety standards for transit systems like Metro

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today were joined by Deputy Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari at a press conference to remember the victims of the deadly crash on Metro's Red Line and call for quick action on legislation to establish national safety standards for transit systems like the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro).

 

"There is no higher priority than the safety of the people who use Metro and the people who work to make the system run. On this day and every day, our hearts and prayers go out to the families of all those who lost their lives and the dozens who were injured in last year's crash. This tragedy serves as a constant reminder and inspiration for our work to fix the problems that led to this avoidable accident," Senator Cardin said. "While there has been some progress over the last year, more must be done to ensure that 'America's Subway' is the safest and most reliable transit system in the country. I firmly believe that the Federal Government has a clear and necessary responsibility in ensuring the safety and funding support for Metro, and I am working hard with colleagues to deliver tangible results that include real safety standards and accountability. We won't tolerate a system that does not place safety as its top priority."  

 

 "This is a solemn time for the families whose lives have been shattered by Metro. Our hearts go out to them. One year ago tomorrow, eight passengers and one worker died on Metro. This wasn't a terrorist attack. These were people commuting to their jobs or working on the job," Senator Mikulski said. "In the last 12 months, 13 people have died on Metro. After that June 22 crash, four more Metro employees were killed on the job. The way to honor and remember those we've lost is to be relentless in reforming Metro."

 

 

 

"On this anniversary of last year's deadly crash, we should renew our commitment to strengthening Metro's management practices, safety procedures, and funding levels," Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) said. "I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to increase both funding and oversight of Metro, so that our region's commuters have access to reliable public transportation for years to come."

 

"Last year's tragic accident on the Red Line highlighted the fact that, incredibly, we do not have a national transit plan or even national safety standards, but this anniversary serves as a reminder that Metro must maintain a steady focus on safety improvements,," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over transit issues. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Banking Committee to pass meaningful and effective transit safety oversight legislation in the coming weeks."

 

"Safety is the number one priority at the Department of Transportation," Deputy Transportation Secretary Porcari said. "Secretary LaHood and I have promised the traveling public that we will do everything in our power to ensure that public transportation is as safe and reliable as possible. We know that Congress shares our commitment, and we're hopeful they'll move as quickly as possible take the necessary steps to strengthen rail transit safety across the board."

 

"Public safety is the most sacred and important responsibility shared by those of us who serve in government," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "As we remember those whose lives that have been lost, I applaud the efforts of Senators Mikulski, Cardin, Webb and Warner and Deputy Transportation Secretary Porcari in their efforts to reform the Washington Metro, to ensure that there are standards of safety for our citizens and workers who travel on our transit systems."