'No Substitute for Physical Inspection of Rail Lines'
"The transit safety legislation, which was transmitted to congressional leaders yesterday, would allow states to keep their current transit oversight structure as long as federal regulators find that it meets a minimum safety threshold. States would receive federal aid to defray the costs of hiring and training safety inspectors, as well as achieving financial independence from the transit agencies they monitor."
"The FTA was prohibited from setting national transit safety under a 1965 law that was modified in 1991, when Congress created an oversight system that allowed flexible state standards for light rail and subways. Some state groups, such as those in New York and Massachusetts, have maintained independent and active oversight, but other transit safety entities -- Washington D.C.'s, most notably -- have been exposed as toothless."