The head of the National Transportation Safety Board says that Washington's Metrorail system is significantly safer now than it was last year when a train crash killed nine people and injured dozens of others.

In July, the NTSB's Deborah Hersman issued a scathing report criticizing an "anemic safety culture" at the nation's second largest subway system that contributed to the June 2009 crash near the system's red line.

But in testimony Thursday before a congressional oversight committee, Hersman said Metro has made clear progress on safety issues and begun to implement more than a dozen NTSB recommendations.

Metro's general manager, Richard Sarles, agreed that they system is safer but cautioned that "we have a long way to go."