Published November 15, 2009
In the wake of last summer's deadly Metro crash in Washington, D.C., the Obama administration reportedly plans to propose that subway and light-rail systems across the country fall under federal oversight.
The pitch comes as the administration moves to increase regulation over the financial, auto, health care and industrial sectors.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that the administration will present its plan to Congress, which would have to approve it, in the coming weeks for the U.S. Department of Transportation to regulate those systems. The regulation would cover every system from New York City to Washington, D.C. to Boston and beyond.
The shift is an attempt to reverse a long-standing prohibition against federal regulation on subways -- the prohibition dates back to a time when only a handful of cities had subway systems.
But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the Post that federal officials felt hamstrung in the wake of the Metro crash in June.
"After the train crash, we were all sitting around here scratching our heads, saying, 'Hey, we've got to do something about this'," LaHood said. "And we discovered that there's not much we could do, because the law wouldn't allow us to do it."