FTA Adds State Safety Oversight Rule To Regulatory Arsenal

Law360 interviews Marc Scribner about new oversight authority from the Federal Transit Administration:

"This has been a trend in regulatory oversight going back 20 years but this is a significant thing and it's definitely the right move when you’re looking at thing playing out in the Washington area where you’ve had major oversight problems and there hasn’t always been this clear divide of responsibility," Marc Scribner, a research fellow at Washington, D.C., think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Law360.

[. . .]

"It certainly adds some tools to the toolbox," Scribner said of the FTA's expanded enforcement authority. "Given what we’re seeing with WMATA, and you're also seeing problems elsewhere, the more aggressive enforcement urged by the NTSB, as well as the administration, it's been a recognized problem for awhile now."

[. . .]

"We're only now getting to the point to sort of really do something to have better oversight and really provide the incentives to ensure the state, the grantees are behaving as they're supposed to," Scribner said.

"That's a good carrot-and-stick approach considering we have a tremendous problem with deferred maintenance in mass transit when we’re up to $85 billion in national maintenance backlog and no one knows how we're going to resolve that," Scribner said.

[. . .]

"Maryland, Virginia and D.C. have all tried to cheap out every single step of the way, through every expansion, every project," Scribner said. "This is a local problem … there's no reason federal taxpayers should have to kick in any more [money] in terms of operation and maintenance."