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Monday, December 7, 2009

Federal Regulation of Subways and Trains?

Brushing aside tradition, the Obama administration is pushing for federal authority to regulate the nation's subway and light commuter rail systems following last summer's subway crash in Washington, D.C., that left nine people dead.

Next week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will formally ask Congress to give his department authority to regulate and oversee those rail systems, a move that some Republicans on Capitol Hill worry is another alarming example of an ever-expanding federal government.

"In this case, it sounds good, safety and enforcement over transit systems, but it may not be that effective," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., told Fox News. "It could be costly but not that effective."

Nearly 10 million people across the country rely on subways and commuter rail systems each day. Experts insist it's safer to ride a subway in a major metropolitan area than to drive to work. But as systems age and budgets tighten, there are concerns that local subway systems are becoming more prone to accidents.

Historically, the federal government has left oversight of the subway systems to the states, unlike other forms of transportation.

But after the subway collision in Washington, LaHood decided it was time for the federal government to get more involved.

Read the full report here.

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