Wasn't all that long ago, was it, when the then acting, now made, chairman of the NTSB was conducting a press conference in Grand Central Terminal?
Remember that? Remember chairman Hart flanked by the Schumenthal, Near Miss Dick and Hold That Pose? Remember the Schumenthal denouncing FRA as a rogue agency? Lawless?
Remember how irretrievably derelict FRA was in its obligation to protect the safety of commuters, according to the chairman and the Schumenthal?
Something's changed, apparently. Maybe it's just a matter of personalities, maybe it's because Szabo's out and Feinberg's in, but on September 30, 2015, NTSB called for Congressional action that would place the Washington, DC Metrorail system under the direct jurisdiction of FRA. You can read all about it here.
You can read the same chairman stating FRA has rules, and hundreds of highly trained professional inspectors, the same rules and inspectors FRA had 11 months ago when it was the Taliban of federal agencies.
Can I get a witness?
NTSB has asked the Department of Transportation, the executive branch department to which FRA is subordinate to respond within thirty days with the actions the department intends to take regarding this urgent recommendation from NTSB.
Can I really get a witness?
To whom does NTSB report? The US Congress. An act of that Congress, designating Washington Metro as a commuter rail authority, is required in order for FRA to have regulatory responsibility. So to whom does NTSB address its urgent recommendations? From whom does it demand a response within thirty days outlining actions that will be taken? From the Congress?
From the Schumenthal to whom it so graciously extended its platform, its emblem of authority, its cape of righteousness when denouncing FRA?
Of course not. No appeal and no Schumenthal ripping off its shirt, flexing its pecs, pointing to the big "S" on its leotard, and springing into action.
Not that Near Miss Dick doesn't have a lot to say. Upset that a bipartisan group has introduced legislation to push-back the deadline for PTC, Near Miss had this to say:
Any Congressional action on PTC must ensure that railroads move swiftly and vigorously to install it without needless delay. It has been more than 45 years since the National Transportation Safety Board first urged railroads to implement positive train control – an unacceptable delay in implementation of this critical, life-saving technology that has allowed numerous, preventable tragedies. Instead, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s bill provides a blanket extension to 2018, a troubling move considering that some railroads are on track to meet the current deadline. Extensions should be granted only to railroads that have demonstrated diligent, good faith efforts to meet the mandate. Only by holding railroads’ feet to the fire will this critical, life-saving technology finally be implemented.
That's a brilliant suggestion, stunning in its simplicity. So who should make that determination? FRA? But the Schumenthal has told us repeatedly how lawless, derelict FRA has been in its oversight role. FRA can't be trusted to make those determinations can it? How about the senator(s) itself/themselves?
How about if Near Miss does the evaluation? How about if Near Miss, with or without his other half, goes to the Federal dockets where the railroads' PTCIPs andannual reports are archived and provide us with examples, one of each-- one railroad that has made a good-faith effort and is deserving, and one that is "undeserving." How about if Near Miss explains what constitutes the basis for his determination?
Can I get a witness?
Maybe the senator can review the RSD reports on PTC operation submitted by railroads who have made more than good faith efforts; efforts that are practically superhuman. Maybe he can tell us if he's willing to certify this system is safe?
Can I get a witness?
October 4, 2015
Son, believe none of what you hear
And half of what you see....
"Heard I Throught the Grapevine"